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Nepal’s documentary filmmakers have neither audience nor income, yet they pursue their passion – OnlineKhabar English News



In 2019, a filmmaker approached a reputed TV channel in the country. Having spent two years documenting events on the border of Nepal and India post the economic blockade, he was sure some channel would buy his documentary as it showed the hardships people in the border area had to face. The TV channel agreed, but on one condition: the filmmaker had to buy airtime. But, that was something he was not willing to do.

“It was so disappointing. I faced the same thing with all the TV channels,” says the filmmaker who asked to remain anonymous.  “A few were willing to show it, but they were not going to pay me. That is when I realised how bad the ‘documentary scene’ in Nepal is. Sometimes I watch my colleagues and wonder if there is a scene at all.”

Disappointed by the scene, he says, he only makes films for international donors or some well-paying Nepali NGOs, mostly for commercial purpose because he says makers like him are neither respected nor appreciated.

This is a general problem that all documentary filmmakers face in Nepal, which is why many stop doing it after producing one or two. Primary reasons for this: a lack of funding and little to no recognition for their work.

Passion, not perks

Those that remain in the scene do so because of their passion for storytelling or as a hobby. Many even do it because they are paid by aid organisations to document their work. But, everyone who makes documentaries does not make it for the Nepali audience; they make it so they can send it abroad.

“It’s not that we desire to send movies abroad,” says Rajan Kathet, a documentary filmmaker. “We do that because we can’t depend on just screening it in Nepal. As filmmakers, we want people to see our films. But here, only a few are interested.”

As neither the government nor the private television channels support their effort, a lot of filmmakers have had to depend on foreign film festivals to get both financial gain and the audience. Apart from that, they also rely on aid organisations that hire these filmmakers to document the work done by them. 

“Sometimes, the offer is too good to say no,” says Kathet, maintaining, the filmmakers, however, do not work for money only, “But, the films that people make are quite objective.”

An example he says is Kesang Tseten’s Hospital, in which he tells the story of how dedicated doctors strive valiantly to save lives in remote areas of Nepal. 

Photo: Unsplash

Overcoming dependence

“It’s okay to make films for NGOs, it’s not dishonest or bad in any way,” Kathet clarifies, “But it is difficult to progress to make good films because they are dictated by NGOs, which want it for information or public relations purposes.”

That said, Tseten does believe that one should try to persuade an organisation to support a film that tackles an issue that they consider is important. He says that it is not easy, but some might be persuaded as the documentary can show a bigger picture of what the organisation is trying to do.

“But, you have to be in a position to negotiate with NGOs or other aid organisations because it is not easy,” says Tseten.

With not many organisation agreeing, but many do what they are told and make small reportage which they send as documentaries to various festivals.

The past few years has seen a rise in films in Nepal. Film festivals like KIMFF, NIFF and FSA have been getting a good number of films from Nepali filmmakers. The reason for this is the rise in film schools in the country and access to technology.

Apart from these, young people, today want to have a voice, and as print media is slowly fading away, a lot of them have taken to audiovisuals to tell a story.

But, while films and filmmakers are on the rise, documentaries and documentary makers are not, says Ramyata Limbu, the festival director at KIMFF. As fiction appeals to them, many refrain from making documentaries.

“The documentary submissions that we get at KIMFF are mostly from journalists or from people from the development sector,” says Limbu. “After writing stories, many want to tell it with the help of audiovisuals. Bhoj Raj (Bhat)’s Sunakali is an example.”

Promoting professionalism

But, Limbu does emphasise that a lot of work needs to be done for the scene to become big in Nepal. She says that while colleges have courses, the interest in documentary-making could need a bit more.

That is why, at KIMFF, they mentor people and offer fellowships to two to three people every year. When submissions are not that great, they even help the makers polish the documentary by helping them in the post-production process.

“We know how tough it is for filmmakers, which is why we try to help them out with partial funding and mentoring,” says Limbu.

The reason Tseten says there is a funding problem in Nepal is a lack of agencies or institutions that fund films. But, he says that this is the case even in wealthy countries, where documentary as an industry does not exist.

“Documentaries have limited audiences and many aren’t exactly made for entertainment purposes,” says Tseten. “The audience is limited even in wealthier countries so it’s no surprise in Nepal.”

There have been some cases of documentaries being given space in film halls here in Nepal, but it is still a rarity as the halls say that no one will come to watch it.

Prachanda Man Shrestha, a director and distributor, says cinemas are not meant to be showing documentaries as there is hardly any profit from them. With a niche audience, Shrestha says that makers need to find the right market to sell their product.

“A hall like QFX or Big Cinemas will not agree to run a documentary because that space isn’t for that,” he says. “For a documentary maker, 200 people is a lot of people, but for a hall that is just one show. I feel these documentary filmmakers need to find the right market to show it.”

He says that a good market for the documentary makers might be digital platforms, subscription-based OTT and PPV IPTVs. 

That is what Limbu and KIMFF are working towards doing. She says they have been in talks with Dish Home and other cable operators to put up documentaries like they have put up movies.

“Small efforts need to be made which will help develop the scene because a lot of training will be needed along with exposure. But, it will take time and everyone needs to be patient,” says Limbu.

But, she is hopeful. This year’s KIMFF saw a few good documentaries and hopes more young people will continue to make films.

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Dambar Chemjong’s efforts to revive TU’s glory – OnlineKhabar English News



Dambar Chemjong is sitting outside his office in the Central Department of Anthropology at Tribhuvan University, the oldest and biggest university in the country, briefing a prospective student about the benefits of studying anthropology. His eyes light up as he talks as that one can clearly see how passionate he is when it comes to it. He shows the prospective student the research conducted by the department. To make things easier for the student, he even calls to ask when admissions for the department would open. To him, this is just a part of his job.

“I want to change things. Make a difference,” says Chemjong, the head of the Central Department of Anthropology at the university. “They say the university is dead and not like it was. But, I beg to differ and want to prove to people that it is alive and doing well.”

Chemjong took office in August 2018 and since then has changed the face of the department. He has added relevance to the course, created a fun learning environment, established an automated library and even constructed a garden to add some aesthetic to an otherwise dull TU compound. 

But now, he wants to do more. Through small efforts like these, he wants his students to produce journals and research on topics not discussed before. He wants to create a learning environment at TU itself and hopes other departments can do the same so that the TU can once again become the students’ first choice if they choose to stay in Nepal.

The garden was constructed with funds from a USAID-funded project. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

Big issues with big institution

“Small things like these go a long way. You need a feel-good factor,” he says. “But, this is just a beginning as a lot more needs to be done for the university to do that.”

The major problem, Chemjong says is the TU’s centralised structure that does not help the departments or the constituent campuses that are spread across Nepal from Taplejung in the east to Darchula in the west. He says that currently, the TU is too big. Currently, the university along with its constituent campuses in all seven provinces has over 600,000 students.

“If you look at top universities in Europe and the US, there are hardly 10,000 students. Only state universities in the US have more than 10,000,” he says.

His solution for this is to scrape all the constituent campuses and set up different universities in each province with not more than 5,000 students in one.

“What is the use of having over half-a-million students when you can’t even conduct exams and release results on time,” he questions.

Chemjong wants this library to become a learning centre for anthropology students. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

Another problem he says is having to ask the central campus at Kirtipur for even minor decisions. From adding a bench to staff for cleaning, everything has to go through the central campus at Kirtipur.

“If you want to make any decisions at a campus in Darchula, you’ll have to ask permission from Kirtipur. This, to me, makes no sense. If we can decentralise it, I’m sure in the next decade, we can see a lot of improvement.”

But, for that to happen, the leg-pulling culture at the university needs to stop, he says. He calls on teachers and officials at the university to understand what the place stands for and be true to its principles.

“As professors and teachers, we need to understand that we have to evolve because today’s age is different. Students are different. If they won’t find value, they’ll go abroad.”

While he says that students going abroad is more to do with it being more accessible, he is aware that not all departments in the university offer attractive education.

“I don’t want to speak about others, but there are some courses which are quite archaic. That needs to change for the TU to become a sought-after destination for students.”

Journals published by the TU Central Department of Anthropology. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

For continuous growth

He gives the example of his own department. When he started out in 2018, there were only nine students. Today, there are nearly 30 as the department is planning on adding PhD courses having recently added MPhil.

“Constantly evolving is important in today’s age. We’ve also been talking about credit transfers and being a part of the Erasmus exchange programmes. These are what make courses attractive for students along with the different research and job opportunities that we have been helping them out with.”

This, he says, will help the individual capacity of both the students and teachers as with better teachers, the place will have better students who will drive each other towards perfection. But, its not as easy and he knows that.

“Good teachers are not appreciated in Nepal. I feel that a good teacher who has the ability to pull students needs to be paid more. It’s simple. But, teachers getting paid more in Nepal is not the norm, which is why many do research work individually with other organisations.”

A classroom at the TU Central Department of Anthropology. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

He says he does not blame them but instead the system that makes it sound bad that teachers work for these organisations. He says, this, instead, should be promoted like it is in the west as it will improve the teachers and be good for the organisation. 

“But, here, they want them to sit in a room and not be open to exploring, which is dumb.”

This is why he says people at the TU need to be vocal as it can create a change through dialogue and conflict. 

“They say I talk a lot. But, I do so because not many here do. I want to make sure that this department does well till I’m here. I don’t like leg-pulling. I want to work with all I have and give all that I have for this department and help both students and teachers reach their goals.”

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Hero Motocorp launches Hero Xtreme 160R and Hero Hunk 150R in Nepal – OnlineKhabar English News



Kathmandu, March 15

Building on its commitment to providing youthful, premium and technologically-advanced products in the Nepali market, Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, on Monday launched two new premium motorcycles in the country – Hero Xtreme 160R and Hero Hunk 150R.

Adding a striking and powerful new chapter to the popular premium brand Xtreme, the Xtreme 160R further strengthens Hero MotoCorp’s presence in the premium motorcycle segment, says the company.

The motorcycle offers an unparalleled mix of performance, sportiness, and features while boasting a muscular stance with an optimum mix of comfort and control.

The Xtreme 160R is accompanied by an all-new Hunk 150R, designed to deliver an unmatched ride experience along with new-age styling.

Both the new motorcycles cater to the aspirations of the youth in Nepal and offer a dynamic combination of performance, styling, and differentiated appeal, the company claims.

The Xtreme 160R and Hunk 150 R will be available at Hero MotoCorp showrooms across the country.

The Xtreme 160R, which comes with a double-disc and a single-channel ABS is priced at Rs339,000 while the Hunk 150R which has the same feature is priced at Rs279,500.

Commenting on the launches, Sanjay Bhan, Head – Global Business, Hero MotoCorp, said, “ The Xtreme 160R has performed well in several global markets and we expect it to do well in Nepal too. We are confident that both the motorcycles will enable us to meet the aspirations of customers here.”


Class leading acceleration

Setting the bar for sportiness and real-world performance, the new Xtreme 160R comes with a 160cc air-cooled BS-VI Compliant engine that is powered by XSens technology and advanced Programmed-Fuel-Injection. The Engine delivers an impressive power output of 15 BHP @ 8500 RPM. Joining the fast lane with a class-leading acceleration – 0-60 km/h in 4.7 seconds, the motorcycle has one of the best power-to-weight ratios in its class, thanks to the low kerb-weight of 138.5 kg.

Exceptional handling

The new Xtreme 160R enjoys a commanding riding position with ergonomics engineered for the streets. The lightweight rigid diamond frame setup offers exceptional handling on the streets while making it a corner happy machine at the same time.

The 37mm telescopic front forks and a 7-step adjustable Rear Mono-shock Suspension setup is tuned for urban agility, providing precise handling and a smooth ride. Brakes with 276mm front petal disc and 220mm rear petal disc ensure that the rider is always in full control and confident of the stopping power. The 165 mm ground clearance ensures the ride is hurdle free.

First-in-segment features

The new Xtreme 160R is paired with a first-in-segmental LED package, from a sculpted full LED headlamp with LED DRLs in front, to LED indicators with hazard switch and down to the rear H signature LED tail lamp. The inverted fully digital LCD display together with the first-in-segment side-stand engine cut ff ensures the motorcycle is both technologically advanced and safe.

The head-turner is available in three vibrant colour combinations of pearl silver white, vibrant blue, and sports red.


Superior ride and handling

Equipped with a 149cc air-cooled engine, the core of Hunk 150R delivers an impressive 14.2 BHP of power and 12.6 Nm of torque.

Aimed at providing real-world performance, the all-new Hunk 150R features a lightweight yet rigid diamond tubular frame offering precise handling and stability in corners and straight roads. Paired with 130/70MM radial rear tyre, the Hunk 150R ensures a superior road grip is provided in all types of road and riding conditions.

The riding triangle has been tuned to provide the perfect balance of agility, stability, and comfort. The motorcycle also boasts of a first in category 7 step adjustable mono-shock suspension for best in class handling ensuring a sporty ride. The broad 37mm beefy front forks also ensure a stable and plush ride.

Best-in-class features

The motorcycle boasts many safety features and is equipped with the first in category optional single-channel ABS ensuring safe braking. Sporting a new alloy wheel design, the 276mm front, and 220mm rear disc brakes come as a standard feature for efficient and immediate power stopping in all riding conditions. 

Designed to provide ease of access, the motorcycle features a sporty digi-analogue instrument cluster with a side stand indicator, trip metre, and a service reminder. The self-start button comes as standard and the engine kill switch is for added convenience. 

Dynamic design and style 

The Hunk 150R flaunts a muscular fuel tank with aggressive shrouds that make a statement while riding. Adding to the striking appeal is a chiselled rear cowl, sporty headlight with wolf-eyed LED position lamps, LED taillight with LED light guides making it easier to get recognised even in dark. The sport-dynamic graphics actuate the design lines offering an unmistakable style.

Colours with expression

The Hunk 150R is available in three colours – NH1 black, sports red, and techno blue.  

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7 young Nepali women entrepreneurs who are breaking patriarchal stereotypes – OnlineKhabar English News



Breaking the stereotypes of the patriarchal society, many Nepali women have made their way to entrepreneurship and established themselves as successful entrepreneurs. 

Here, we bring forward some of the young Nepali  women entrepreneurs who have hit the national and international market with their unique business ideas:

1. Nikita Acharya

Photo: From the Facebook profile of Nikita Acharya

Nikita Acharya is the CEO and co-founder of the e-commerce platform Urban Girl/ UG Cakes/ UG Bazaar. Acharya was just 19 when she first started her business. Acharya, along with her business partner, started Urban Girl in 2012 that sells female jewellery and accessories. Gradually, they introduced UG Cakes that sell customised cakes. And, as of now, they sell many commodities through UG Bazaar.

2. Anushka Shrestha

Photo: From the Facebook profile of Anushka Shrestha

Miss Nepal 2019 Anushka Shrestha came up with a local dessert brand ‘Makkuse’ in 2020 that would reflect her roots. Makkuse, a word from Nepal Bhasa, roughly translates to something scrumptious in English, and this company makes and sells traditional Nepali sweets like gundpak and pustakari. Makkuse aims at promoting authentic Nepali flavours and taste to the world culinary palette.

3. Priya Sigdel

Photo: From the Facebook profile of Priya Sigdel

Priya Sigdel is the co-founder and president of  HattiHatti Nepal, a non-profit organisation that recycles clothes or fabrics into beautiful garments and accessories. Started with an aim of empowering women from marginalised groups, HattiHatti educates those women through their classes in subjects like English, maths, business economy along with practical advanced tailoring training. Meanwhile, HattiHatti also inspires and teaches women to be creative entrepreneurs and independent persons.

4. Prakriti Mainali

Prakriti Mainali started Shakti Milan Nepali in 2014, with a vision to economically empower the women of marginalised and underprivileged groups, meanwhile caring for environmental sustainability. Shakti Milan makes varieties of bags from the sacks (that are often considered as waste in Nepali households). Shakti Milan employs around 20 disadvantaged and marginalised women and also pays them fairly. There is also a child care centre in Shakti Milan making the enterprise more women-friendly.

5. Rewati Gurung

Rewati Gurung

Rewati Gurung is the founder of Kokroma, which produces and sells Nepali-design baby clothes. She initiated Kokroma in 2018 after being inspired by the idea of a Finnish baby box (a maternity care package that includes a cradle, clothes uniquely designed for new mothers and their babies after World War II) during her summer school days in Finland. Gurung has been keeping the idea of women empowerment at the centre since the beginning. Kokroma has also become the market for the prisoners including women who are involved in weaving cotton.

6. Sajal Pradhan

Sajal Pradhan

Sajal Pradhan is the CEO and co-founder of a social enterprise Best Paani that provides rainwater harvesting system, water filtration systems, wastewater recycling, and groundwater recharge services to Nepali households. This startup, founded in 2015, uses sustainable local technology and organic filtration materials to install these environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable water systems. Best Paani also specialises in the research and development of these systems.

7. Nisha Taujale KC

Photo: From the Facebook profile of Nisha Taujale

Nisha Taujale KC is the co-founder of the online grocery store Kathmandu Organics, which sells local, organic, pesticide-free, and homemade products, mainly grocery items of Nepal by collaborating with farmers, cooperatives and entrepreneurs from 40 districts. She founded this startup in 2017.

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