KATHMANDU, Feb 9: The first few minutes into the film and a fellow audience seated beside me decided he wanted to leave.
“It’s not worth my time,” I overheard him telling his companion. But his friend decided to stay put. “We paid for this and I’m staying till the end.” After some time I noticed the first guy had resorted to playing games in his cell phone with ear plugs on.
Kathmandu is the latest Nepali film to hit the marquee and there couldn’t have been a better time for the film’s release.
Nischal Basnet’s ‘Loot’ has been doing very well and has contributed impressively into drawing the younger generation toward Nepali Cinema. Sadly Kathmandu fails to live up to the audiences’ expectations.
Aryan (Akash Adhikari) is introduced as an honors student from the United Film Academy. As the film proceeds he announces he wants to make a film on Kathmandu and share true stories.
The idea holds a promise but as the film unwinds Aryan gets entangled in his family problems, love life, social activism and preaching.
As a character in the film, Aryan comes across as confused as the unconvincing director Akash Adhikari he plays.
Aryan plays a savior to his family, his brother Ajay (Arjun Shrestha) alongside sister-in-law Samyukta (Samyukta Rana) and their daughter Simrik (Prapti Ghimire).
While his brother leads a promiscuous life abroad and when back in the city, his sister-in-law, who is a former beauty queen and a top notch fashion designer, has absolutely no time for her daughter.
The family crisis takes a toll on Simrik’s mental health compelling her to resort to drugs. Now the drugs she does are courtesy her friend Astha (Mamata Pradhan), who is also involved in a sexual relation with Simrik’s father.
She does that for money although daughter to Maya (Gauri Malla), who is capable of handing out double the amount Astha asks for.
It is almost impossible to point out one major drawback in the film. Too many sub plots, narrations in between, bad visual effects and tacky dialogues delivered in an unconvincing manner all contribute toward making the film laughable if not downright dud.
Who can imagine a mother advising her teen daughter to help herself with abortions and that too amidst her friends? For a fine actress that Gauri Malla is, the role that she essays in the film comes as sheer disappointment.
The cinematography was highly boasted to be done with a hi-tech red 4K camera. Sadly the camera has been out to minimum utilizations. Dirgha Gurung for Nepal and Shailendra D Karki for America were appointed for the job.
The shots are flat and do nothing special for the movie but for a film that has everything going wrong average cinematography stands out a winner.
Again, the director is to be blamed here for even the songs shot in America look more of car advertorials.
As for the music of the film the singers chosen were famous names like Sunidi Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh, Kailash Kher, Aakriti Kankard, Adhitya Narayan and Sanjivini but sadly they fail to create magic.
Sukhwinder Singh does a bit more than just voicing the title track as he stands beside Aryan, looking extremely confused listening to him talk in Nepali.
Now it was obvious for the singer to wear a startled expression because of the language barrier but the over dramatic and exaggerated expressions of the actors can’t be forgiven.
A must mention is that, Samyukta Rana has a certain charm to herself. The lady shows potential and if given a better script and directed well she can definitely act.
Ria Murphy, the American actor has very little to do and the longest she is on screen is when she dances calling herself ‘a crazy girl’.
It seems everything went wrong for the movie, and it ought to happen if you deal with drugs, pornography, poverty, adulthood, ambition, family and the America Green Card.
It truly seems anything can happen in this city, films like these are awarded with Special Film Award from the Nepal Film Development Board!