Nepal may soon become one big film set


Still from Story of Zen Master

The way Nepal is going, this idyllic Himalayan kingdom may soon become one big film set. Bernardo Bertolucci’s film is the biggest project ever: 300,000 sq ft would have been shot here according to a senior government official.

And now, the Ministry of Communications is being besieged by western and far eastern film makers, explains its Minister of State Vijay Kumar Gacchadar. Hollywood wants to make The Gorkhilas, an adventure story about the Gorkhas.

NHK, the Japanese television network, has made a series on the newly-opened border areas of Nepal like Jomson. But those who keep returning are the Hong Kong film makers. Since 1986, there have been a dozen films shot largely in this country, explains Praveen Baidya who has been a production assistant on many of these films, including Little Buddha.

The latest is the still-to-be-released Story of Zen Master. Interestingly, this film, made in Chinese, is also about Buddha and his disciples.

One of the reasons why film makers are increasingly heading to Nepal is the lack of bureaucratic hassles. The Government of Nepal plans to give considerable duty concessions if more than 80 per cent of the film is shot there.

Other reasons could be the marvellous architecture in places like Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan. Moreover, the border areas have the rugged terrain suitable to current brand of Easterns.

But the discoverer of this paradise for celluloid was an Indian: Dev Anand with his Hare Rama Hare Krishna in the early 70s.


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