Kathmandu: The beginning of the Nepali New Year witnessed the release of two widely anticipated movies–’KGF Chapter 2’ and ‘A Mero Hajur 4. KGF Chapter 2’ had been on the to-watch-list of many eagerly waiting fans for a long while ‘A Mero Hajur 4’, starring Nepali heartthrob Anmol KC and emerging actress Suhana Thapa, had been in media headlines every day prior to its release.
The anticipation was both due to the nerve of a Nepali movie to stand up neck and neck with an Indian movie already perceived to be a blockbuster and a morbid curiosity on how badly ‘A Mero Hajur 4’ would be completely wiped out by its colossal competitor.
As soon as the news broke that ‘A Mero Hajur 4’ wasn’t backing down from the competition and was releasing simultaneously with ‘KGF 2’, the memes and sarcasm started flowing on social media. Internet was flooded with sardonic comments such as the ‘KGF Chapter 2’ should fear the mighty ‘A Mero Hajur 4’ and its ‘mighty box office potential’. It was the internet’s new favorite meme for days.
This isn’t something new, though. Any movie starring Anmol KC is bound to receive a heavy dose of hate and backhanded remarks. This is due to his ‘lack of talent’ according to his vehement decriers, and a fact that his megastar dad Bhuwan KC had a huge role in his success. Despite the hatred, however, all of his movies have earned substantial revenue, with huge commercial successes like ‘Hostel’, ‘Jerry’, ‘Dreams’, ‘Kri’, etc. under his belt. His last movie ‘A Mero Hajur 3’ alongside co-star Suhana Thapa was also a blockbuster across the country.
Part of the reason that the general public was sarcastically decrying the whole situation was the animosity towards the generation of star kids like Anmol KC and Suhana Thapa (whose mother Jharna Thapa–a famous actress–is the director of the film). The public believes they have had an easy-breezy transition into the Nepal cinema due to their influential parents. Despite their lackluster performances and cliché characters at times, they keep bagging roles in movies with massive budgets. This has rubbed the people the wrong way, especially since it overlooks amply talented actors in Nepali cinema such as Saugat Malla, Bipin Karki, Surakshya Panta, and so on. Also, the fact that movies continuing with the same old recycled formula receive big budgets while newer indie films with great concepts are brushed away is another reason for such public disdain towards the movie.
Some took this debate as international vs. Nepali films, while others asserted that the repetitive nature of movies like the ‘A Mero Hajur’ saga and most of Anmol KC’s filmography prompted their dissuasion in supporting the film.
Despite critics and some people expecting ‘A Mero Hajur 4’ to perform badly, the movie collected Rs eight million on its first day of release, surpassing the expectations in terms of revenue. The twelve days collection as of today is Rs 51.2 million.
The movie does owe a part of its success to the memes and the online discourse brought along by its adamant decision to not change its release date.
Despite valid critiques, it is still inspiring to see a Nepali movie hold its own against a competitor like ‘KGF Chapter 2’. Hopefully, in the future, Nepali moviegoers similarly support other upcoming Nepali releases, which in turn leads to better, more ambitious, and more inspired storytelling in Nepali cinema.