It’s about time Nepali films got their history right

Nepali cinema Nepali films

Films have the power to entertain, educate, and inspire. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I hold that the influence of the cinema on youth is the most powerful in the world.” I agree with Gandhi who is a well-known leader known for his efforts to make India independent.

Meanwhile, the causes are plain to see. Every human feeling is amplified in the films. That I believe can play a negative role in the thought process of people. A futuristic prognosis concerning the current situation in Nepal stated, “The cinema is the greatest force for the perversion of truth the world has ever known.”

Hence, it is crucial to use this medium responsibly and thoughtfully, which is something I don’t think anyone should ever forget. However, the portrayal of Nepali history in Nepali films does not have a positive impact on the audience.

Ignorant filmmakers

The word history is inherently divisive and difficult to define. The vast majority of the nation admires and respects Nepali history. In the international community, the term Gorkhali still commands a great deal of respect. However, when it comes to films in Nepal, it is evident that they have often portrayed history in a less satisfactory manner, leading to discomfort among the general public while watching such depictions.

As part of my college degree, history was one of the credit subjects I had taken, therefore I decided to see one of the historical Nepali films with some of my friends. We discovered that the film was really new to us while we were watching it. We were surprised that we were the students studying history as our major subject and were unaware of this.

We witnessed numerous dramatic and improbable changes while watching this film. What we were seeing surpassed our wildest imagination. It amused me to see Nepali films portray such foolishness as a representation of our glorious and magnificent past.

The casting was terrible; they were objectifying women at every step of the way; every scene was romanticised and sexualised; while none of these characters exist in any of the historical texts. Anyhow, there was no expectation that viewers would take anything away from such films.

The film boldly depicted everything without indicating any cautionary censorship, even though its main theme revolved around royal planning and scheming, as mentioned in the description.

Not justifiable by ignoring facts

Nepali Cinema

As a history student, I can evaluate the material I am viewing since I am familiar with the relevant facts. But what about youngsters who are mostly ignorant of these facts? It made me feel terrible when I found out that history is still not a required subject in Nepal. Even in elementary school, I read history in the final two or three lessons of my social studies textbook.

In school, I only learned about the unification of Nepal under King Prithvi Narayan Shah. It is sad that history is not currently considered an obligatory subject. Instead, individual schools have the freedom to decide whether or not to include history as a credit subject within their curriculum.

The ideal sources of historical education for Nepali students would be books or films, however, in my view, very few students are interested in reading any historical writings. The goal of a film based on historical context should be to educate and inspire young people, who will be the nation’s leaders in the future.

Yet most in the Nepali film industry do is place blame on other people for their failures. The reality is that there are still many aspects of Nepali film that are lacking, one of which is good, authentic material. The lack of expertise by both the writer and the filmmakers is blatantly unexpected while producing historical films.

It is the responsibility of filmmakers to offer true and meaningful plots since there are always obligations and regulations, and misrepresenting or manipulating information may have unfavourable effects. In the realm of film, everything you portray or attempt to make genuine becomes a reality for viewers who are not aware of the actual happenings.

The authorities in question should take into account the cinema’s possible negative effects, such as the distortion of the facts, the effect on at-risk audiences, and the ethical obligation of filmmakers.

And lastly, I think everyone should remember that while the film has the ability to amuse, educate, and inspire, these remarks serve as reminders that it is essential to utilise this medium sensibly and intelligently.

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Adhikari is a law student at Kathmandu School of Law.

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