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Nepali Cinema - the Past and the Present  
Filmmaking started in Nepal around 1962. The state made three propaganda films between 1964 and 1971 and later formed Royal Nepal Film Corporation (RNFC) in 1974. RNFC made some films, developed some infrastructures and manpower. Even though some of the films made by RNFC became hits, it could not do much to develop the sector.

One film Maitighar was made as early as around 1966. But no other followed it. It took about 16 years for the private sector to come up with another film -- Juni. Unfortunately this proved a failure. Filmmaking was still a risky business and the government regulated it quite strictly.

In the 1970s, the government introduced a tax rebate policy. According to it, 50 percent (which was later increased to 65 percent) of entertainment tax would be rebated to the producers. This proved to be a major booster. Investment in film became a little more secure. Also, after 1980s, some relatively more creative films were made and they became successful too. Thus, filmmaking started to appear a little more viable profession and the number of productions increased a bit.

In 1990, the country witnessed an important political change. The people's movement brought the autocratic monarchy to its knees and democracy was restored. The society started to become open and vibrant. This had an important consequence for the fledgling film industry: it began to grow rapidly, or even to 'bloat', if one might call it so. There was an unprecedented growth in number of productions. Within a period of three years, some 140 films were made. Distribution started to develop. Market share in the existing market increased and the market itself expanded. Cinema halls increased to more than 300. Nepali filmmakers became optimistic of displacing Hindi films--which dominated and continue to dominate Nepali market.

But, towards the end of 1990s, Nepali films began to fare badly. Gradually, the film industry began to experience a very hard time, though productions did not cease altogether.

The major reasons for this were that the quantity of films outdid the capacity of the market and also most of the films lacked quality. Also, quite importantly, the violent war, started by the Maoists rebels in 1998, began to crumple the economy and deteriorate the security situation. Most of the cinema halls outside the urban centers had to be closed. The situation worsened after the king took over in 2005.

During the 90s, some filmmakers, mostly with non-fiction base, started championing for a new kind of cinema. They denounced the crude imitation of Bollywood esthetics and demanded indigenous esthetics and a more realistic approach. They made some films, which have received some critical acclaim at home and some international recognition.

The people's movement - 2 in April 2006, ousted the autocratic monarch for the second and, in all probability, for the last time. Democracy has been restored and the rebels have agreed to join the government and resolve the conflict peacefully.

This new political development has stirred Nepali film industry. There is a new hope and optimism. Also lately, there has been a common realization in the industry that the quality of the films needs to be bettered and that Nepali Cinema requires international exposure.

 
also see: Recognition for Nepali CInema
Film Festivals
News
 

LINKS

Nepal Film Development Board
OSCAR
Nepal Tourism Board

 

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