Exploring Ticket to Hollywood: A humorous take on youth migration and cultural influence

ticket to hollywood
Photo: Prasun Sangroula

The play Ticket to Hollywood, directed by Sagar Khati Kami, is currently staged at Mandala Theatre, Kathmandu.

The title alone may pique your interest, inviting speculation about its significance. However, as the production unfolds for 80 minutes, your curiosity is rewarded with insights that illuminate the meaning behind the title. 

Awe-striking beginning

ticket to hollywood
Photo: Prasun Sangroula

As the play begins, it takes us to a film set where the characters are waiting for the entry of the main hero, Monty, played by Sudip Khatiwada. Jojo, the assistant of Monty, played by Milan Karki, asks the entire audience to make noise for Monty when he enters the set.

Because doing so would make him happy. Finally, Monty enters, and everyone shouts and claps for him.  Monty is talking over the phone with a loud voice. His conversation on the phone allows us to know that Monty is someone who is boastful about himself and is overconfident about his acting skills. Over the phone he says things he likes: he does not need to go through screentest and auditions. 

Ticket to Hollywood is a slapstick comedy play that humorously depicts the bitter reality of our contemporary society, especially the one faced by the young generation. Among its many commendable aspects, one stands out: its adept handling of the sensitive issue of youth migration, transforming it into a source of humour while shedding light on its complexities.

While other forms of arts have mostly presented the issue of migration sadly, Ticket to Hollywood, on this occasion, remains different. It can be a good option for a fresh dose of fun. The humorous lines and funny expressions at the right time by all the characters have made the play entirely laughable and entertaining.   

Picking the right symbols

ticket to hollywood
Photo: Prasun Sangroula

Hollywood in the title symbolises the foreign land, where every day thousands of Nepali youths go, with an aspiration to earn better opportunities. There is a scene in the play where a protest is taking place, against a situation that the young ones are compelled to leave the country without wearing khada, a scarf that is usually given to a person during their farewell. The scarcity of khadas highlights the impending crisis of young human resources leaving the country, signalling a future challenge for Nepal. 

With that, the play also revolves around Nepali citizens being influenced by Western culture. The preference for momo and sandwich over the kodo (millet) and fapar (buckwheat) ko roti,  guitar over madal, among the characters of the play, indicates how people have been highly influenced by Western culture, forgetting their local culture.   

Monty’s decision to change his name from Moti Lal reflects the growing desperation among people to assimilate into Western culture. However, the play at the end, interestingly, makes the spectators think about the significance of one’s own culture and the disadvantages of imitating another’s culture. But how? To delve into the deeper aspect with a hint of humour you should watch the play.   

Entertaining, yet not entirely flawless

ticket to hollywood
Photo: Prasun Sangroula

The music of the play, played by Anup Timalsina and Diggaj Khatri is another element that needs special mention. The title song is especially well composed and arranged, accompanied by guitar, drums and harmonica. The song has a catchy melody, once you listen to it you can not stop yourself from singing along. 

Ticket to Hollywood, for the spectator, is not a regular play, where they are only supposed to watch the actors’ performance. They are also made to do various things by the actors, and only after that, the play gets a complete shape. 

Actor Milan Karki steals the show, as he alone has played multiple roles in a play ranging from a manager to shopkeeper to dentist, a female character and more. He, through his acting skills, has justified all the characters. 

Despite the play being good in many ways, it does not remain without flaws. The play feels loud and noisy, especially in a scene where Monty is in a dental clinic for the treatment of teeth he lost during the shooting. The actors’ expressions and dialogue in this scene seem exaggerated and overdone. 

Hopefully, the makers will do something about it.

Overall, Ticket to Hollywood is worth watching. It is highly recommended to watch for someone tired of watching tragic movies and plays. The play will make their day. 

Ticket to Hollywood will run through May 5 every day except Monday at 4 pm at Mandala Theatre. Additionally, there will be a night show on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 pm.

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Prasun Sangroula is an Onlinekhabar correspondent, mainly covering arts, society and sports.

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