From the glorification of friendship to the romanticisation of suffering (and everything in between), director Milan Chams’ second feature Bir Bikram has all the trappings of popular cinema. What it sorely lacks, however, is the sensitivity required to properly execute them for the movie’s favour.
The result, thus, is unsettling with jarring transitions between the scenes, which are themselves a hodge-podge of contrivances, making the viewing experience a chore.
To be fair, Bir Bikram is an improvement when compared to director Chams’s debut feature Hasiya in which the characters were so far-fetched, and the actors so inexperienced that the only acting they could draw was amateurishly lifted from similar genre fares.
Bir Bikram benefits from its grounded setting (Hasiya, on the other hand, had a glowering female officer running in slow motion in latex and sports bra) and a pool of experienced actors. But ultimately, an unpolished screenplay, lightweight story and a very lax editing job weighs down on the movie.
Arpan Thapa’s Aaite Kaji, however, is striking. Under Thapa’s tutelage, the character transcends the caricature that it is supposed to be…
In the movie, childhood friends Bir (Dayahang Rai) and Birkam’s (Anoop Bikram Shahi) friendship is broken when Bikram decides to leave for the city. When leaving, Bikram appoints Bir as caretaker to Joon (Diya Pun), his childhood sweetheart with the promise to return for her someday. Eventually, Joon falls for Bir and he may have to choose between love and friendship.
May be it is because the premise of the story gives little room for conflict, superfluous subplots and scenes are added in the movie.
This may make the village of Shivalaya, an inaccurate pastiche of villages from Nepali movies, very much eventful but it is tiresome for viewers to catch up with the movie’s many curious characters.
Arpan Thapa’s Aaite Kaji, however, is striking. Any lesser actor would have played Kaji as a regular baddie with a twisted sense of humour, but under Thapa’s tutelage, the character transcends the caricature that it is supposed to be, and stands out as a kitsch that it actually is.
Arpan Thapa in the movie. Chams Entertainment
That a character like Aaite Kaji was needed in Bir Bikram, especially after seeing how the rest of the movie does not share the character’s self awareness, interestingly makes the movie even more inconsistent.
At the end, Bir Bikram is just that.
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