Nepal’s fledgling cinema to go to Gulf

April 2nd, 2008 - 2:34 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, April 2 (IANS) Nepal’s fledgling film industry is set to go to places. After screenings in neighbouring India’s Sikkim, West Bengal and Mumbai, where a sizeable Nepali and Nepali-speaking diaspora lives, the film industry is now poised to enter the UAE, another major destination for migrant workers from the country.

Maverick Nepali film director Narayan Puri, who made news a decade ago by being the first to brave making a film on the Maoist insurgency and facing severe censorship, is now negotiating with a Dubai distributor, Pharee Films, to have Nepali films screened in the oil-rich city on Fridays.

“They’re quite positive about this initiative,” Puri told a newspaper in Nepal. “This means that Nepalis in Dubai will get to see four different Nepali films a month.”

Puri, who is making a Hindi film from India with Bollywood heartthrob John Abraham, assesses the initiative will generate 400,000-500,000 Nepali rupees for the producers. It may be small change for Dubai businessmen but a respectable profit in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Indeed, despite the stagnant economy, the growing number of blue-collar workers from Nepal in the Gulf is keeping the state exchequer buoyant and luring new investors.

Airlines from the Middle East have increased flights between Kathmandu and Gulf cities and new budget airlines have started operations last year.

Nepal’s biggest media house Kantipur has begun flying its publications to Doha and last week, a new tabloid, Naya Patrika, took part in a round table conference in Kuwait.

From India, Nepali directors are also eying the Gulf for exotic locales to attract the expatriate Nepalis living there.

Puri himself is shooting part of his new venture, “Matribhumi”, there.

Like the 1970s and 1980s, when Bollywood starlets flew to Dubai to perform for audiences there, now Nepali stars are heading for Doha and Dubai to take part in cultural programmes.

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