Bhupendra Budhathoki: Story behind a police officer whose songs are viral

songwriter Bhupendra Budhathoki achievements (3)
Nepal Police Inspector Bhupendra Budhathoki is currently stationed in Mugu of Karnali.

Four years ago, when Bhupendra Budhathoki signed up for the Nepal Police, he had thought that would be his whole life. He did not even have big dreams.

Yet, he used to express himself by writing ghazals, poems and songs. So, he had that passion for music in his heart, but his dreams had not yet been shaped.

But in the first few years of his life as a police officer, he simultaneously started his musical journey. He filled his life full of professional duties with sincerity and filled his heart with the sweet melody of music. It is also said that when life picks up speed, it creates a melody; and Budhathoki’s journey as a police officer changed the rhythm of his life.

In the last five years, police inspector Bhupendra Budhathoki has made himself known not only as a police officer but also as a budding songwriter and composer. His life is a message that dreams do not die despite how busy your life is, in fact; they can add meaning to it when one follows them with passion.

Balancing profession and passion

After migrating from Salyan, Bhupendra Budhathoki grew up in Tulsipur, Dang. From his school days, he was very interested in reciting ghazals, poems and songs as well as writing some originals and humming them.

After completing his school, he dreamt of being a soldier in the army. For three years, he worked for it. But, unfortunately, he did not succeed. Meanwhile, Nepal Police had opened its recruitment window and, in 2016, he went to sign up himself. 

songwriter Bhupendra Budhathoki achievements (3)
Bhupendra Budhathoki’s songs are mostly about love.

Then, his police life started with his first posting as an assistant sub-inspector in Banke and then at the Police School in Dang. But Bhupendra Budhathoki had not stopped writing poems and ghazals. He used to write a few stanzas whenever he had free time during his training or duty hours.

In 2017, while he was in Nepalgunj for his three months of police training, he got a chance to look closely at police life. There, he prepared a song about his police life. When he narrated it to his friends, they encouraged him to record and release the song commercially.

In singer Rajesh Payal Rai’s voice, Bhupendra Budhathoki recorded Hami Nepal Prahari by gathering financial resources from his police friends.

The new emotions

It was his first song. “Since this song is connected with the entire police organisation, I was more afraid than excited,” he says, “I did not sleep for a few days wondering if I had written anything wrong.” 

Thankfully, that was not the case, and he received a lot of good responses from his higher officials. His song started playing in every police programme and even the audience liked his song online. With so much encouragement, he got more enthusiastic to write more songs.

Excited, in the next six months, Bhupendra Budhathoki released his second song Phool Bhanu Jindagilai in singer Purnima Lama’s voice, who was at the beginning of her career and uploaded it from his YouTube channel.

songwriter Bhupendra Budhathoki achievements (3)
Bhupendra Budhathoki is in the first decade of his songwriting career, yet he has already reached several milestones.

In the first three months, the song barely got 100,000 views. But what happened after that surprised even him as the song went viral. “The views shoot up by 60,000 in one day,” he says, remembering the moment excitedly. “The views that started to grow did not stop for a year. And, with time, the song got 1 million views, then 5 million and then 11 million views.”

“I did not think that I would get so much love from the audience, it was like a sweet dream,” he shares.

That song was about betrayal and dishonesty from people. “Betrayal by their close ones is a common story for every person. Perhaps that is why the audience could relate and liked the song.”

After that, Bhupendra Budhathoki released modern songs one after another: Aba Khushi, Dandapari Mero Maya, Pardeshiko Dashain, Dhokamathi Dhoka and Mutu Tutda. He now has a collection of eight songs. Last year, Dhoka Paam Dhoka voiced by Pramod Kharel even trended as number two on YouTube, with 5 million views.

But he does not consider that a song is successful just because it has many views. He says, “It is important how much the song has touched the audience, and how much they liked it.”

The musical journey

songwriter Bhupendra Budhathoki achievements (3)
Bhupendra Budhathoki says he wants to forward both police and songwriting careers parallelly.

Budhathoki has come a long way in his musical journey, which started four years ago. He has made his separate place in the crowd of songs and music even though he is quiet and does not talk much. Maybe his professional nature is the reason behind this.

A police officer’s life is not easy. One has to bind himself within the police discipline. The job is also demanding, having to work day and night in crime and investigation. They always have to be prepared for anything. 

Yet, even amidst the busy police life, Bhupendra Budhathoki has continued to create music. And, his style of creating songs and music is very unique. “I do not sit and meditate to write.”

Sometimes he writes what touches him; sometimes a wave of emotions comes over and he sits down to write or he writes whatever pops up in his brain. Sometimes while strolling, he just jots down on his mobile whatever comes up in his head. Then later, he composes a song by combining those words and adding music.

On the one hand, he performs his police duties responsibly, while the rest of the time he devotes himself to singing and music, without hampering either of his duties. That is why neither aspect of his life has become an obstacle for him and instead contributed to it.

His niche

Songwriter Bhupendra Budhathoki with the YouTube silver play button
Songwriter Bhupendra Budhathoki with the YouTube silver play button

Bhupendra Budhathoki has written most of the songs about love, sadness, and betrayal. But, now, he wants to write songs on life, society and country.

During his employment with the police, he has been able to observe the poverty and sufferings of rural life more closely. According to him, the life of the police is a window into society and it has helped him understand the real picture of Nepali society. This is also the reason why his life as a police officer has helped to make his musical journey even better. 

Bhupendra Budhathoki wants to add energy to the youth who are struggling with the fear and anxiety of poverty, unemployment and failure, through songs. “Nowadays, I see only despair in the youth everywhere. I want to inspire them.”

Now there is a trend of going viral everywhere. But he is far from it. He says, “The life of the viral songs does not last long. Its views are fake and they cannot touch the hearts and minds of the audience.” That is why he is not in the mood to release songs in a hurry. He adds, “It is better to be late but at least I can give meaningful songs.”

Bhupendra Budhathoki now uploads songs from his own YouTube channel, which has reached 100,000 subscribers. Only last month, he received a YouTube silver play button as probably the first and only cop to earn in it.

This story was translated from the original Nepali version and edited for clarity and length. All photos are used courtesy of Bhupendra Budhathoki.

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Budhathoki is a journalist, based in Dang.

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