‘Teen Ghumti’ movie review: A sincere adaptation of Koirala’s novel

teen ghumtiKarma Production

I would not be saying anything new when I say literature and cinema are two different disciplines, and that each demands a completely different understanding of the respective form.

Based on BP Koirala’s novel of the same name, director Bikash Dhakal’s Teen Ghumti, which opened in theaters last week, is bound to draw many comparisons with that of the litterateur politician.

Cinema has always been considered a ‘lesser’ medium compared to literature. Perhaps, it is because books and essays are mainly written for a discerning audience. They first guide the imagination of the reader with the beauty and economy of prose and then open them self up to interpretation–unlike films.

A film is mainly visual, and it has a more definite form which makes it more accessible.

As is the case with Teen Ghumti, and many other films, movies however constantly feed (many times, assault) visual information to the audience, without ever guiding their mindfulness.

What we are told in a certain scene of a film through dialogues and acting may not always register with the viewers, not because they are not fully realised, but because it is characteristic of the medium. More often than not, our minds register that films are an artifact after all.

Director Dhakal’s Teen Ghumti is mainly limited by concerns like these. For Koirala’s distinguished prose, the film adaptation comes off as generic, mainly because of its lack of understanding of the cinematic language.

Director Dhakal relies on a certain degree of formalism, with his heavy-handed use of generic over-the-shoulder, and clumsy tracking shots, without exploring possibilities of adding richness to the narrative.

In the movie, the years preceding Indramaya’s (Garima Pant) eventual realisation of her destiny, is as tumultuous as the life she has lived. In a city, where the clutches of an overbearing Panchyat system is turning some of its denizens rebellious, a Newar woman’s decision to get hitched with a Brahmin man outside of her household would not be the only radical decision she would be forced to take.

The movie is superbly-casted and boasts a screenplay that is sincere to the novel. All these are realised with adequate art direction…

To the film’s credit, even with the unyielding staging of the scenes and unimaginative camera works, Teen Ghumti is a far superior movie when compared to other recent releases, and not only because of the novel it is based on.

The movie is also superbly-casted and boasts of a screenplay that is sincere to the novel.

All these are realised with adequate art direction, although clumsy animation in many shots could put off some viewers.

It may be hard for films to achieve the same level of personal involvement from audience as books tend to, but it is not completely impossible.

A simple zoom can open up the vast mindscape of a character in films. Elements like music and lighting can then subconsciously guide the audience towards interpretations.

In Teem Ghumti however, the camera never fully explores Indramaya as the source material allows. Many opportunities are missed.

Even more scenes are cut short, and some are clumsily expanded through mawkish song sequences with unsettling lyrics that completely deviates from the richness of the movie’s dialogues.

Having said that, Teen Ghumti succeeds in telling the story of Koirala’s complex character. But whether it justifies the novel as a whole is a different question (an unfair one), and one that should only matter to those who have read the book.


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