NARAYAN ADHIKARI, CHITWAN, July 22: Chitwan, blessed as it is with natural beauty encompassing the environs of the Mahabharat hills, the Chure hills as well as the Tarai plains, is emerging as a popular film shooting destination of late.
With the Narayani river flowing through and the Chitwan National Park, the wildlife sanctuary, to boast about, Chitwan has many attractions as a convenient shooting place for the prospective film producers.
Not only natural splendour, Chitwan hosts developed urban spaces to squatter settlements and the residential area highlighting the indigenous nationalities’ culture and ethos.
Moreover, it can be reached after a short travel from the capital and the accommodation is relatively less costly here which make it the film director’s choice. Add to this, the helpful attitude of the Chitwan folks for they readily offer any help the director or the film crew asks for, including supporting minor roles.
Bimal Poudel, former president of the Film Directors Association of Nepal, says that Chitwan is the choice for many film producers for its geographical location, proximity to the capital, cheaper cost and availability of suitable scenes and artistes.
“The support you get from the locals while shooting films here is also one of the factors that makes Chitwan a convenient place for shooting,” said Poudel, who has completed the entire shooting for his latest film ‘Pokharaki Kali’ in Chitwan.
Poudel, who is also the former member of the Film Development Board, shared that he had also proposed to developing Chitwan as Nepal’s film city.
Last fiscal year alone 13 various films were shot in Chitwan, including Nirvaya, Rudra, Radhe, Pinjada Back Again, Babu-Kanchha, Boyfriend, Prashuram, Loot-2, Ma Yasto Geet Gaunchhu, Butterfly, Super Gorkhey, Lamphu, and Sikka.
It is estimated that around 200 films are produced annually in the country. Of these films, 120 show in movie theatres. According to Poudel, shooting for most of the films is done in Chitwan.
Director of the film ‘Babu-Kanchha’, Shovit Basnet, who filmed his entire film in Chitwan recently, said outside Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara are important places for shooting films. He added that out of the 29 movies directed by him so far, six are entirely filmed in Chitwan.
Twenty-five per cent of the shooting for the film ‘Nirvaya’, which is now showing, was done in Chitwan. Director of the film ‘Nirvaya’, Madhu Sudan Bhattarai said Chitwan is suitable place for shooting movies from every aspect including the rare fauna and flora, and art and culture.
Even the film artistes are enthusiastic when it comes to shooting films in Chitwan. Film star Nikhil Upreti, who worked in four films in Chitwan over the period of last one year alone, is all praises for Chitwan folks for their cooperative attitude.
“The rivers and lakes, forests, wild animals and the art and culture in Chitwan is simply mesmerizing,” he said.
Similarly, actress Neeta Dhungana says for her Chitwan is like her own place and staying here was like you are at your own house. “I like Sauraha. It is a very beautiful place,” she said.
Chitwan’s own veteran artist Riddhi Charan Shrestha, who started his acting career in 2016 BS, says that Chitwan has every potentiality of being developed into a prime place for shooting films.
“Apart from the scenery of the hilly region and Tarai plains, Chitwan has many rivers and streams; it is home to rich wildlife as well as a cultural diversity. It has on offer different natural and cultural aspects necessary for film,” said Shrestha, who has so far acted in almost 71 films.
The Rapti and Narayani river bank, Devghat, the Narayani river bridge, Sauraha’s Hattisar area and Chitwan National Park, Meghauli, Jagatpur, Patihani, the Bishajari Lake, the Raino Lake, the Tharu and Darai settlements, Medical College and Cancer Hospital are some of the popular shooting spots in Chitwan.