“Bato Muni Ko Phool”, was more than a film, it was a revolution, says Ghatani
Gangtok, July 5, 2012:
Born in Smonga in Jhapa, Nepal in the year 1980, he always pictured himself to be a star. Though he belonged from a poor background, his family always supported him for his million dollar dream. He says, “Patience matters a lot in the field along with passion, dedication and struggle” which goes true as even the finest steel has to go through hottest fire. The way he has maintained his lifestyle proves the maxim correct, ‘the more higher you go, the more down to Earth you become’. Meet the multi-talented person, a notable stage host, an actor, director, singer and a successful producer and most importantly a good human being. His debut film as a producer, “Bato Muni Ko Phool” not only won several prestigious awards but brought accolades from and outside Nepal. In fact a revolution in the field of Nepali cinema which will be written down in the pages of the film history. Meet the newly married, handsome, dashing and popularly known as the ‘Stage Hero’ in Nepal, Rajesh Ghatani. Rajeshiji shared his sweet moments of his life during a brief interaction with Sikkim Mail.
Q. Heard that you are here for a location hunt for your upcoming film?
A. Quite true. After the success of my debut film “Bato Muni Ko Phool”, I am on to another romantic film “Biteka Pal”, for which shooting will be done in Sikkim too. I am here for few days and will return back to Nepal soon.
Q. Can you inform us about your early life, ups and down, fascinating moments etc?
A. Well I am from a small place called Smonga in Jhapa. I did my schooling from Kankai Secondary school in Jhapa. From my childhood I was pulled towards the stage and screen. During my school days when there used to be shooting, I used to bunk my classes and see the shooting. Whenever there used to be some festive occasions in my village I always involved myself which used to inspire and encourage me a lot. Gradually, I started with hosting small programmes in my village and there was no looking back. Later I used to host public programmes and simultaneously my relation with Katmandu was strengthening. Till date I have hosted in more than 700 programmes.
One of my saddest days is when I lost my dad. The other similar painful day was the massacre of the whole royal family of Nepal.
The remarkable day was when I got inspiring and positive response from the premiere show of Bato Muni Ko Phool plus 5 months ago when I married my sweet wife.
Q. How and when did you get started as a filmmaker (producer) in the Nepali film industry?
A. Well. After hosting many shows, people in Nepal used to call me as ‘Stage Hero’. As I said my relation with Katmandu was building up. My life took a twist when I met Yash Kumar (singer) in Katmandu. As to sustain, we started with a restaurant named Rhythm Palace in Katmandu, but later we had to shut it down as it was difficult for us to run both restaurant and our profession at the same time. Later again Yash and I opened up a jewelry shop at Maite Devi. So that way I produced “Bato Muni Ko Phool” from the Rhythm Films Private Limited which brought a different name, fame to us.
Q. How and why is the 1 crs 28 lacs budget film “Bato Muni Ko Phool” different to other films in Nepal which won several awards and recognisation?
A. I must say it’s not just a film its life, it’s like a new born baby to its parents. I must say that the film brought revolution in the Nepali film industry. It proved to be satisfactory to the audience in whatever means. From the music, star cast, picturisation to the story it was a total change in comparison to other films which the people of the Nepal actually wanted. Apart from this there was a sincere hard work from the team which proved to be cherry in top of the cake.
Q. Can you brief us the awards received by the film in Nepal?
A. The film bagged 5 Metro Civic.Com awards, 5 CG Digital awards and 7 NEFTA awards. The film was also the best film of the year 2012.
Q. Any other projects lined up in your calander?
A. Yes there are many. I am producing another Nepali film, “Biteka Pal” with the same director of my debut film Saroj Nalboo. It’s a romantic film and I hope that the film will cross the limits which my first film has kept. The film will also provide platform for the talents of Sikkim, Darjeeling, Kalimpong apart from Nepal.
Q. How do you rate success in films, is it the return of the expenses or the satisfaction of your film by the audience?
A. That’s a very good question and tough to answer; for me the satisfaction of the audience counts more than that of the return. The return of the film depends on the luck, timing and many other factors but the satisfaction which the audience after watching the film gets has a more important place in my heart; it encourages me to keep going. Bato Muni Ko Phool too was not a commercial success because of the piracy but even the pirated CDs that people watched they said it is worth Rs 10.
Q. Heard that your return in the film could have been immense but piracy all decayed it?
A. Yes very true. The film was in the second week in Nepal having done the business of 1 crs 15 lacs. My next target was Sikkim, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Dooars, Dehradun and many more places but the film reached the place before we could. I still have a case at Dharan Court concerning the same.
Q. How you see Sikkim in comparison to Nepal when film comes to question? What are the areas to be taken into consideration?
A. I think Sikkim can and shall be a major part in Nepali film industry in future. Acharya, a film made by the Sikkimese Director Prashant Rasaily is my favorite film till date. When we (Yash Kumar, Saroj Nalboo, Babu Bogatey) were called in the premiere show, our row many time during the film stood up and clapped for the picturisation, camera angles, acting and minute details. I can strongly say the film has a deep impact to the audience in Nepal thought it was not commercially successful. Whatever Prashant has given in the film is what cannot be expected from the directors from Nepal.
Apart from Prashant there are talents like Director Samten Bhutia in Sikkim, singers and many other who can really take Sikkim to a distinct level.
On the other hand the Government of Sikkim is so helping to the emerging talents unlike Nepal. I am personally a great fan of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and also used to sing songs “Hajar Junni Samma” written by him. He himself is a Kalakaar, thus he understands the soul of the Kalakaar and has been supporting the young aspiring talents. If he was not the Chief Minister, he could have been a great star which I strongly believe. For the better future of the films in the State, a distinct cinema hall for good Nepali films has to be established in all the major town of the State. If this can be met, Sikkim will move ahead than Nepal in no time.
Q. What are your steps and thoughts for providing platform to the capable newcomers?
A. I must say being a struggler at times; I understand their pain and suffering. I have been helping those people with whatever I can. For instance I provided Prakriti Giri a break in the Nepali film industry as a playback singer when she was just 13-years-old, before participating in the Chote Ustad musical programme. I will carry this further and help the aspiring talents with what I can and have. We also have a production house in Nepal and will help the needy for sure.
Q. How you find Sikkim?
A. Sikkim has been my second home. One can really find the true definition of a star through their (Sikkimese) hospitality and love. The people are well disciplined and dressed up upholding peace and communal harmony to a distinct level. Sikkim provides truly an example when peace and security comes into question. Besides this I also wanted to express my sincere gratitude Geeta Ruchal Didi and Suresh Lama for the hospitality they have provided.
Q. Your valuable suggestions to the aspiring upcoming filmmakers of Sikkim?
A. Well…. there are no boundaries to a talent. You try hard and don’t stress much on the outcome…if you are true and the feeling is patent from your heart, you will reach your dream. Sikkim is itself a beautiful place to live in. The peace, tranquility and communal harmony supports the talents. If a person possesses 100% creativity but lacks morality, it counts nothing, but if a person is 100% well behaved and 70% creative, the latter counts much than the former. Another important thing which has to be taken into consideration is to be in good company. Good company provides positivity. The next is pray to God and ask him to help you, guide you and take you the way where you should be.