Nepali Film Makes International Impression

Nepali filmmaker Deepak Rauniyar is intent on telling stories based on authentic situations and experiences of the people of his homeland. His first feature film, entitled Highway, was selected for the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, proving that the film industry, and the audiences that support it, are not simply looking for a Bollywood spin-off, but are keen to hear real stories about the triumphs, hardships and relationships of everyday people. This is the first Nepali film ever to be selected for a major international film festival, and the inspiration for the film was taken from a scenario which is playing out all too often in post-conflict Nepal – that of the general strike, or bandh.

Highway is set against the backdrop of this new means of attempting to resolve disputes. It explores five very different relationships which become intertwined through necessity during a bus journey traveling from eastern Nepal to Kathmandu – the capital of the country. The journey is interrupted by a bandh, causing a multitude of problems for the passengers as they have to put their plans on hold because of a delay that is simply beyond their control – or is it? Realizing that sometimes wedding parties are assisted in moving through the massive traffic jam caused by striking workers blocking the road, the passengers on the bus start working on a plan to stage a fake wedding in a desperate attempt to continue with their journey and reach their destination. The interaction between the various parties as they work toward a common goal makes for an entertaining, and informative, film.

Deepak Rauniyar was inspired to make the film when traveling a route similar to that portrayed in Highway. Having been delayed by three different bandhs in different regions of the country, organized by different groups, each with their own agenda, Rauniyar saw the opportunity to address this growing problem in Nepal, and to take it a step forward by going beyond the physical disruption of a bandhs and exploring the mental or psychological bandhs many face today. In his own words, Rauniyar notes that filmmaking has never been just a profession for him, but that he wants to make films with an objective. He went on to say that he wants to contribute to creating a legacy of Nepali films, and hopes that