When a director knows that there is more to directing than camera angles, framing, shot composition, understanding the performance of the actors and so forth, a movie has two possibilities – either it’s going to be ruined as the crew members will have a difficult time satisfying the director and they will end up not giving their best for the project or everyone is going to catch the director’s spirit and the movie turns out to be a great one. With Anil Thapa directing and producing the soon to be released Nepali movie KO AFNO, it is the latter case.

It was acting more than directing he was interested in. When he wrote a four page script in a bathroom, it opened the door of direction for him. “While I was doing business studies in Los Angles, a Nepali director asked me to write a script for a movie he was going to make. It was a short deadline and as I was working in another firm, I had to write it in a bathroom. Once the script was final, he asked me to direct the movie.” He remembers the event when one thing led to another which paved the path for his career in direction. 

Taking a first step is always important when you need to walk a thousand steps and this was his first step. Of course he used to dissect the movies he watched and that helped him a lot, but getting into directing films all by himself taught him a lot of things. “A director is the captain of a ship and one needs to have the right personality and attitude. You need to maintain the same level of enthusiasm, vision and attitude right from day one till post production,” He opines. Team members play a vital role here. He talks of how he coerced the actors to do what the script needed and that is what helped the actors in KO AFNO to explore what was hidden inside them. 

Richa Sharma is famous among the younger audiences. In this movie she has gone beyond the stereotypical role for an actor of her age. An actor should be versatile and this movie has been the best platform for her to show her versatility. This is not the first time Richa Sharma has played the character of a village dweller. But when she got into the character for KO AFNO things got more challenging. She is a mother who is compelled to pay the cost of her motherly love trapped in an unnatural situation.  She had to work out even more with the demanding director Anil Thapa, who wanted to take out all of what an actor has within him/her “I just got out of my comfort zone and it was a different experience for me this time. Every time I work in a movie I try my best to do the best but this time it was different as my director was the one who took the best out of me and he is a wonderful person to work with. I have put equal effort in everything I have done in this movie.”

For a person like Anil Thapa who left his family behind to chase his dream, it was very important that every team member put equal effort in the project. The actors in KO AFNO are all well rated but he made a lot of effort to take out what was hidden inside them and this is what made the movie so good. There were workshops for the actors to understand the project. And once in the field, Thapa did not go by how a reputed actor usually works. To work with a person who wants the best in everything, it was difficult for his team members no doubt but they helped him out even more.

“Directing is an underrated job. When the movie sucks, it is the director who gets the blame and when the movie becomes a smash hit, it is the actors who get the credit,” says Thapa. He laughs after he shared his experience implying that I know this but that is okay because I love what I am doing and still have the energy to do a lot of better projects. He came to Nepal after 26 years and got involved in this project. It was not an easy thing for him though. He had the script, he had the vision, enthusiasm and the attitude but he had a difficult time finding the right crew for the project. Movie making is an art and there needs to be something that can glue the audience to the screen throughout the movie. The right subject matter is the last thing as all it matters in a movie is a good presentation. He struggled for a good team which he got when the right time came. He did not intend to direct the movie all by himself but circumstances were such that he became the director of the movie. 

“The movie is a social drama thriller. It is the story of our society that is rising silently. The story is a hybrid project,” says Thapa meaning that it tells a two generational story. The story was knitted four years ago and with a lot of hard work from the team, it has now turned into a successful movie. Thapa adds, “The subject matter presented in the movie might look a little unconventional to the general Nepali audience as this issue is not something normally experienced by normal families. Characters have taken charge of the story. But it is the fact portrayed in the movie that convinces the audiences. The emotions are real and that is what satisfies the audience.”

His dedication to movie making has helped him a lot to make KO AFNO a good movie. Not just the story and the actors but even the variety of music is what the movie gives to its audience. Modern music, fusion music, folk music and even some vintage music are the varieties that add color to the movie. All this music goes very well with the flow of the movie and has added more flavor to it.

The dedication of the movie industry to give something different to its audiences and the demand of the audience for this change is now going hand in hand. With directors like Anil Thapa, this revolution is going to reach its apex and with movies like KO AFNO, Nepali movies are going to get the right exposure.

Richa Sharma

Richa Sharma is famous among the younger audiences. In this movie she has gone beyond the stereotypical role for an actor of her age. An actor should be versatile and this movie has been the best platform for her to show her versatility. This is not the first time Richa Sharma has played the character of a village dweller. But when she got into the character for KO AFNO things got more challenging. She is a mother who is compelled to pay the cost of her motherly love trapped in an unnatural situation.  She had to work out even more with the demanding director Anil Thapa, who wanted to take out all of what an actor has within him/her “I just got out of my comfort zone and it was a different experience for me this time. Every time I work in a movie I try my best to do the best but this time it was different as my director was the one who took the best out of me and he is a wonderful person to work with. I have put equal effort in everything I have done in this movie.”

Menuka Pradhan

Menuka Pradhan is another rising star in the Nepali movie industry and she has taken her successful steps from this movie. The character she has played in the movie portrays today’s youth. “When I got involved in this movie, I buried myself into the character as that is what counts the most when an actor needs to be the character. This movie has helped a lot in exploring my skills.”