Herne Katha: Here’s all you need to know about Nepal’s popular documentary series

L-R Kamal Kumar, Bidhya Chapagain and Jeevan Rijal Photo: Facebook/Herne Katha
L-R Kamal Kumar, Bidhya Chapagain and Jeevan Rijal. Photo: Facebook/Herne Katha

Since its inception, Herne Katha has been one of the most popular web documentary series on YouTube in Nepal. The series has narrated stories from various parts of the country, which are so powerful that most of them have the potential to make you cry, laugh and be emotional. 

Herne Katha is popular for the rawness it holds in its script, camerawork and characters. They also look and sound natural and realistic. It has also been a platform for understanding the culture and traditions of the different parts of the country that are rarely shown in mainstream media. It has got many viewers who would not miss its single episode.  

This interesting YouTube show has various interesting facts that you may not be aware of. This week, Onlinekhabar has brought six interesting facts about Herne Katha that you must know about. 

1. The show of former BBC journalists 

Founders of Herne Katha 
L-R: Kamal Kumar and Bidhya Chapagain
Founders of Herne Katha, L-R: Kamal Kumar and Bidhya Chapagain. Photo: Screengrab from YouTube

The founders of this popular web documentary series, Bidhya Chapagain and Kamal Kumar, are long-time friends, and both are former BBC journalists. Chapagain and Kumar both were the producers for a debate programme Sajha Sawal. Following her work as a producer, Chapagain became the presenter of the show, a role that propelled her to celebrity status. Through Sajha Sawal, both of them got a chance to travel to various parts of the country and interact with people from various backgrounds. Their stories intrigued them. This made them realise that there are a lot of stories of common people that need to be told. 

Both of them were doing well in their profession but were tiresome with the mainstream journalism and media that only reported about politicians, celebrities and urban-centric issues. They wanted to do something different from what the existing media were doing. They had the urge to tell the stories of common Nepali people. So one day, they went for tea, talked to each other, decided to quit BBC and afterwards started their own programme as Herne Katha in 2018. 

2. The way of discovering stories

Photo: Herne Katha/Facebook
Photo: Herne Katha/Facebook

Herne Katha so far has crossed over 100 episodes. Exploring a new story of a new character in each episode is not just an interesting thing but also a matter of curiosity. So how does the team find a character for the shows? 

Well, they travel to various places searching for the characters and once they find the characters, they entirely spend their time with the characters unless they develop a full-fledged story from them.  

Similarly, they also get recommendations from their viewers for the characters through texts, calls and in-person meetings. The team also posts on social media, asking for cover-worthy characters in any locations they are travelling to.  

3. Official song

Herne Katha has also got its official song entitled Herne Katha Geet: Nalekhiyeka Kahaniharu, which is sung and composed by Ujjwal Sagar and written by Roshan Adhikari. The song exactly depicts what the series does. The composer and the singer of the song, Ujjwal Sagar, has also been featured in an episode

The music video features clips from various episodes of the series. 

4. Some interesting blogs  

Photo: Screengrab from Herne Katha's official website
Photo: Screengrab from Herne Katha’s official website

Herne Katha on its official website has a blog section, which includes interesting short stories about different characters and places. The blogs are written by outsiders as well as the team members of the web documentary show. During the Covid lockdown, Herne Katha introduced Lockdown Diary, in which people used to write blogs related to their lockdown experience. 

5. Audible Herne Katha 

listening to music on phone
Representational image. Photo: Pexels/ Karolina Grabowska

If you just want to listen to Herne Katha avoiding the visuals, there is an option for you. The audio version of the series can be found on Spotify. Herne Katha has named the audio format Sunne (Audible) Herne Katha. However, the audio series is not quite updated. 

6. Awardful series 

Obviously, Herne Katha’s work has been recognised in various ways. One of its recent works Baghko Bangara (The Tiger’s Jaw) received the KIMFF audience award at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival, one of the biggest international film festivals in Nepal. Similarly, in the same festival in 2018, another video work Marisakeko Manchhe (The Man Who Died Once) received the award for the best non-fiction. 

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