Damaru ko Dandibiyo movie review: Remembering the forgotten sport


Nepali movies these days have a similar storyline that revolves around money. If it isn’t about money, it is about mimicking films made in India or abroad. Most of the producers fear of losing money–no one wants to think outside the box and break the trend.

However, once in a while a movie comes along to challenge this. Damaru Ko Dandibiyo, which was released across Nepal on Friday, is one movie that brings in a gust of fresh air into the cinema industry.

Damaru ko Dandibiyo revolves around the forgotten sport of dandibiyo. Damaru (Khagendra Lamichhane) returns to his village with an aim to revive dandibiyo. But his father, once a reputed dandibiyo player, opposes him and tells him to concentrate on his career.

Damaru is left with no option but to defeat his father in a dandibiyo match to pursue his dream. But that doesn’t go to plan as his father defeats him and in the match and he leaves the village thinking it’s better to quit.

Damaru ko Dandibiyo is directed by Chhetan Gurung–this is his debut movie. Both the writer (Lamichhane) and the director have done a stellar job in showing the audience what ‘the lost sport’ is about. The strong script keeps the audience engaged and the tone in which the movie is shot compliments the script.

The first half of the film teaches the audience about dandibiyo and its rules. The second half was equally good and engaging as all those present in the hall wanted to know if Damaru would revive the sport or not.

All the actors have given stellar performances. Lamichhane, in the lead role, comes out with his best. His natural acting throughout the film makes him stand out from the rest of the cast.

Along with Lamichhane, Anup Baral who plays the role of Damaru’s father is equally good. His seriousness in the first half of the film is worth admiring as well as his role as coach in the second half.

Menuka Pradhan gives a powerful performance as Mala. She was particularly good in the emotional scenes where the rest of the cast were a bit weak. But the lack of chemistry between her and Lamichhane was visible. Supporting actor Buddhi Tamang is his natural self and has given another decent performance along with Ashant Sharma and Laxmi Bardewa who have done justice to their respective roles.

The background scores and the music in the film are good and they do not feel out of place. The cinematography is simple as the cinematographer has captured all scenes well, especially the dandibiyo matches that take place in the second half.

To sum it up, the movie is a worth a watch. It’s quite disheartening that more movies like these aren’t being made. The movie informs the audience about the country’s de facto national sport. Maybe this movie will encourage youngsters to take up the sport.

Genre: Sports/Drama

Director: Chhetan Gurung

Cast: Khagendra Lamichhane, Menuka Pradhan, Anup Baral, Buddhi Tamang

Screening in cinemas near you.

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Pant is a journalist currently working for Onlinekhabar. He writes on movies and music, travel and mountains, and culture among others.

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