Sanjeev Kotnala: Chhakkka Punja 3 and how it breaks Bollywood suffocating hold on Nepal

05 Dec,2018

By Sanjeev Kotnala

 

The Nepali film ‘Chhakkka Punja 3shows how a movie makes a dominant statement.  I am in Kathmandu, attending  ‘A Forum for Reflections and Action – Education for Public Good in South Asia’  organised by the Centre for Educational Policies and Practices’ Nepal and supported by Aid-et-Action.

 

To be truthful, I was apprehensive when the schedule read, viewing of ‘Nepali feature film ‘Chhakkka Punja 3’. I was not sure of the experience. I wondered how good it would be.

 

It deals with political power and its control over education. It shows the situation of the public school and how private schools are fast becoming an alternative. If the narrative at the conclave I attend is to be believed, it is a stark accurate reflection of ground realities.

Set in a rural area, it in a satirical way lays bare the situation. No doubt resonates with the audience.

 

In India with a population of 1.2 billion-plus, we celebrate 100 crore and a film lasting more than two weeks.

 

Tonight, the team of ‘Chhakkka Punja 3’ is celebrating their 51 days of successful screening and an earning of 18 crores. That is from a three-crore population with 74 recognised dialects. ‘Chhakka Punja 3’ is breaking the Nepal box-office record set of ‘Chhakkka Punja’, the first in the series.

 

May be Indian producers and scriptwriters should watch all the three versions of Chhakka Punja to see what makes a sequel work.

 

After watching the movie, my respect for Nepali cinema has grown. I was fortunate to interact with the cast and key member of the team – Jetu Punjabi. Deepa Shree Niraula and Deepak Raj Giri have produced the film. Here is the clip of the hit song ‘Pahela Number Ma’ from ‘Chhakka Punja 3’.

 

 

The whole experience of ‘Chhakkka Punja 3’ was PAISA VASUL.

The hero could be called Nepali Govinda as his mannerisms, costume and facial expressions remind one of Govinda. The supporting cast worked magic with their comic timing. And the heroine, though not impressive, has a significant role. She is better than some of the female-lead sleepwalking and dancing in Bollywood movies.

 

I sincerely hope Indian producers make such movies. A commercial films based on ground reality and with a message. As the hero of the film puts, ‘Some good deed is done, and the money is also in’.  I am sure  ‘Chhakka Punja 3’ dubbed in Hindi would find a large audience.

 

Hollywood films have a negligible presence, as the language is alien to most Nepalis. However, the Nepali film industry suffers from the larger than life Bollywood next door. Most of the big Hindi films are also released in Nepal. The audience can easily follow the language and enjoy the experience.  The low-budgeted Nepali films have to fight them. And we know what the result of this mismatch is. In such a situation, credit must go to the ‘Chhakka Punja’ team to be able to take the relevant subject, and almost the same star cast create box-office success.

 

If you do get a chance, watch the film. At least you can catch the flavour by watching ‘Chhakka Punja ’ on youtube.

 

 

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