The first thing that you need to be clear about this week’s Kollywood release Katha Kathmandu is that it is not about sex, not at all. The producers have not intended to sell sex in the movie, though it might be the case in the trailer. It is also not an artistic effort against increasing incidents of violence against women as was claimed by its lead Priyanka Karki.
The movie, rather, is a documentary-style presentation of three models of psychological behaviour that people often associate with love and relationships. From a Freudian perspective, the three stories represent the id, the ego and the superego. If the makers of the movie were able to establish a proper connection among the three stories, it would have been an exemplary feature film with a potential to buck the trend. The movie misses the chance as the link among the stories is as loose as a cobweb.
The first segment of the movie is the story that tells a tale of a dysfunctional relationship, not love. Nora, played by Karki, is in a ‘relationship’ with Saurav, played by Pramod Agrahari, because it allows them to use each other for own psychological and financial benefits. Both are representatives of people who turn corrupt in the name of love. The audience ends up hating both of them at the end. Nevertheless, the female character gets some sympathy after she narrates how she was dragged into the evil world by her ‘boyfriend’.
The second segment deals with the world in which both the heroes and villains are present. This world is close to reality. This is a traditional love story in which two people meet, fall in love without any plan and end up being a happily married couple. But unlike traditional love stories, the woman, Kavyaa, played by Sandhya Karki, who is more active and smart than her male counterpart, Rakesh, played by Sanjog Koirala, leads the process here.
The third is the ideal world, the world filled with good people with benevolent intentions. The relationship between Aayush, played by Ayushman Desraj Joshi, and Shikha, played by Prekshya Adhikari, is an example of platonic love. Whereas all human beings are divine in this segment, they are betrayed by the force of fate—for the hero dies in his youth, and it leaves the heroine and others deserted.
These three segments are standalone stories and each has a potential of developing into a full movie on its own. The only connection they have is that the people of one story know the characters from the other—Rakesh lives with Saurav during his college days and Aayush is a close friend of Kavyaa’s brother.
Perhaps the debutante director and scriptwriter also understood that the linkages here are feeble. Therefore, she begins and ends the movie with a third-person narrative to forcefully unify the stories.
Most of the scenes shown in the movie’s trailer are from the first segment, apparently because these scenes spark controversy and generate public attention. However, the censor board has effectively removed one ‘objectionable’ scene; hence the movie is more ‘civilised’ than the trailer. All three segments make equal contributions to the film at the end.
The best thing about the movie is that its stories are close to reality. Most of the scenes of the movie are likely to happen in Kathmanduites’ daily life. However, there are a few exceptions. Nora’s fall and her father’s death is not easy to digest.
The movie does not follow the established trend of the Nepali cine industry. Whereas most of the contemporary movies insert fights, songs and dances just for the sake of them, these components have their own purpose in this film—they exist only because the story demands them. The team deserves an applause for its sincere attempts to change the Nepali cinema landscape.
Most of the actors have done commendable jobs. Karki is successful in showing herself as a stressed and confused woman whereas the evilness of his role is well reflected on Agrahari’s face. KC proves a good selection to show the life of a daring urban girl.
Technically, the movie is average. Camerawork looks good—there is a balance between close and wide shots. Night scenes of the first segment look natural thanks to appropriate coloring effects.
In addition to weak and forceful connection, there are a few other flaws in the movie. The characterisation of Rakesh as a coward and shy boy implicitly and psychologically bullies people like him as he has been shown too coward and shy among urban boys and girls. Likewise, Kavyaa’s gang includes a girl with a ‘manlike’ voice and showing her bullied in the movie may leave adverse impacts on the audience when the intended message is not clearly articulated.
Owing to the movie’s pre-release controversy, the movie has a potential of attracting considerable footfall to the theatres. However, the movie in itself is average. There is nothing to be excited about.
Katha Kathmandu is an experiment. Experiments either fail or succeed, or do nothing.
Runtime: 125 minutes
Director: Sangita Shrestha
Cast: Priyanka Karki, Pramod Agrahari, Sandhya KC, Sanjog Koirala, Ayushman Desraj Joshi, Prekshya Adhikari
Published on September 30th, Sunday, 2018 10:24 AM
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