“Nai Nabhannu La 4”, “Chakka Panja”, and “Jatra” – these films were released within a year and are the only films that actress Barsha Raut has been featured in. She is now known as the ‘hat trick girl’ as all of them are considered hit movies, while Chakka Panja became the highest grosser in Nepali cinema history.
We all know it – social media does not endorse the acme of virtuousity. Social media users can point to at least one counterfeited account that they are aware of, which means, mathematically, at least fifty percent of the accounts that social media sites boast of are fake. Ghastly, right?
Actress Barsha Raut, however, has some other recollection to tell. While she was an up-and-coming model back in the summer of 2012, she came to know that some unknown male factor had been using her pictures in a Facebook account and exchanging words with journos and filmmakers. Initially, Raut responded by reporting to the fake account, but things took a sharp turn when the delinquent contacted her one day telling her that she had been approached for a film titled “Sorry La”.
“I was dumbfounded. On one hand, it was a breach of privacy. But on the other, opportunity knocked on my door while I was not even ready to invite it in,” remembers Raut and shrugs the story off by saying, “I could not say no to it anyway. I went to the audition and got selected! But after attending the workshop for the film, I realized that it was not the right time for me to dive into films, so I quit.”
During the audition of “Sorry La”, Raut met actor and producer Sanjog Koirala, who later not just served as a guide to Raut but also won her heart. Raut comes from a very reserved family, but with Koirala by her side, she has treaded into unchartered waters excelling in both small and big screens.
“I used to dance while in school,” Raut remebers younger times. “I won’t say acting was always at top of my priority list, but once during a staging at school, I memorized three pages of dialogue without much effort. Maybe I was tuned to act from a young age? I don’t really know.”
After quitting Sorry La project, Raut opted to become a VJ for “Your Style TV”. She recalls those days from 2012, “I don’t know how, but the projects that I opted for were not exactly my cup of tea. However, luck favors those who are prepared for it. I met Paul Shah there. I might not have been cut out to become a VJ, but with Paul’s help, I immediately switched over to music vidoes.”
“Rojeko Maile” by Shirjana Karki was the first music video listed at the top of Barsha Raut’s portfolio. Over the period of three years, Raut has been featured in more than a hundred music videos, leaving lasting impressions after each of them.
Resumé might speak volumes, but the fallacy that commoners carry regarding Nepali actresses have always haunted artistes in Nepal. Raut is no different. “People who do not belong to media have wolf-like eyes to look at us as though we are ‘bad influences’, no matter where we hail from,” says Raut and exemplifies how her parents scratched their chins every time the clock hit 6pm in the evening, “I was asked to return home before dark. It was no child’s play to make your parents understand that the work I did would take me beyond that shameful tag of being called a ‘bad influence’. I have heard friends saying that I was dropped from some projects merely for my family’s curfew regulation!”
However, her presence shook television and veterans from the silver screen felt the tremors. Raut was approached by Bikash Raj Acharya of “Nai Nabhannu La” fame. Raut, however, refrained from doing the first sequel to the film affirming her inexperience. She was approached once again for the second sequel of Nai Nabhannu La too. She says, “Today I feel that it was not just inexperience that held me back. It was an inexplicable panic, I guess. I was waiting for the right moment to get over this trepidation and get a hold of myself. Destiny had chosen a path for me, I was just not ready to take that first step.”
After Raut was approached for the third time, the time and frame was right. Paul Shah, who had appeared opposite her in a number of music videos, was slated to be her romantic partner for the film. Nai Nabhannu La 4 went on to surpass all subsequent releases for the month of April 2016, and grabbed the top spot at the box office. Barsha Raut had a hit with her debut.
With Bikash Raj Acharya’s recommendation to Deepak Raj Giri, Raut was selected for “Chakka Panja”. Giri and his regular counterpart: Deepashree Niroula currently clench a top comic duo’s spot in Nepali television and film industry. Raut says, “Evidently, my answer would not have been no to such acclaimed comedians. I told them that I was doing whatever the screenplay demanded my character to be”.
By the time Chakka Panja was released, Raut had already become a household name. Her third film, “Jatra” was released some 60 days after Chakka Panja. By the time this article has been drafted, Chakka Panja has already celebrated a 100 day reign in the box office, becoming the highest grosser in the history of all Nepali films. Jatra is no exception either. By Christmas 2016, Jatra celebrated its 51 days running successfully all over the nation. Raut is the newest entry to the log of legends—three highest grossing films back-to-back, and possibly the only female lead in Nepal to deliver three hits within a single year starting with a debut.
“I cannot elucidate the extent of happiness or gratitude to those who have always seen the good in me. But I count my success with the smiles that I see on my parents’ faces every time they meet someone who hugs me and congratulates me,” Raut shares emotionally and adds, “With these three, I guess I have reached a certain level of maturity too. I now select films by their script, where I can give my input as an artiste too. There is a long way to go, I know.”
The incident of the fake Facebook account is long cold. Raut has already made her peace with the delinquent. Familial curfews have changed their shapes. People who see her as a chubby girl-next-door find her presence to be endearing. How could they not? She is currently the most sought after actress in Nepal, sitting pretty at the top!
A Rapid Fire Session With Barsha Raut
Q. Characterize yourself in one word
Q. Your best work so far?
Q. An international celeb you have crush on
A. Varun Dhawan
Q. If you could change yourself to anyone else for a day, who would it be?
A. Shahrukh Khan
Q. We know that you are a foodie. Your favorite?
A. Any food. It just has to be ‘food’.
Q. Your dream honeymoon destination?
A. The Maldives
Q. If you were an actor, which actress would you like to be featured opposite to?
A. Priyanka Karki
Q. If not an actress, what would you be?
A. Air hostess
Q. What is the worst feedback you have received?
A. I was with one of my younger cousins, and someone blatantly said, “Is this your daughter?” It felt like a right hook on my gut.
Q. Rank the actors: Nirajan Pradhan, Paul Shah, Deepak Raj Giri, Daya Hang Rai, Bipin Karki, and Rabindra Singh Baniya.
1 – Bipin Karki,
2 – Daya Hang Rai,
3 – Deepak Raj Giri,
4 – Nirajan Pradhan,
5 – Rabindra Singh Baniya,
6 – Paul Shah
Wardrobe: 109ºF & Fusion Beats, Labim Mall, Pulchowk, Lalitpur
Location: Empire Restaurant & Bar, Kupondole, Lalitpur