“While I was cycling back from office,I remembered my face was covered in dust… The dust was very brown and it kind of looked like we were playing with color;but it was definitely not color. That was the first time an idea sparked in my head.”- ShashankShrestha, Director at Katha Haru
Shashank Shrestha is the founder of Katha Haru production and a creative director at Amuse group.His Facebook description reads, ‘part time comedian, full time awesome.” which I found does justice to what it is like to have him around. For him, the way to observe the world is through the spectacle of film-making;this has led him to believe that any video should be able to spark a meaningful conversation between people which will, in a way, inspire the viewers.
Shashank finds inspirations for making films in street photography: a form he cherishes deeply. “The inspiration for filmmaking comes to me via the spirit of street photography. I often like to film people and think about how it’d be possible to deliver a certain kind of emotional story through a picture.It is all about observing the everyday-life of people happening on the street which is, however, overlooked,” he says.Sunnus, a micro feature documentary directed and edited by him,features the story of people living extraordinary lives in videos that are only two minutes long.Transforming stories into film and making the viewers see the untold storiesthat is omnipresent is what he aims at every time he comes up with a film making project.“People often tell me that they weren’t aware ofevents and stories that happened in the city even though they’d lived their whole life in Kathmandu.I tell them, “Stories are present everywhere among us. We tend to just walk with them.”
There is not just a single issue or a particular group of people the concept of his videos circles around. It ranges from festivities to more intimate stories about someone’s life. Their films basically focus on issues that viewers may or may not be aware of, which eventually let themgrasp the whole ideaand compel them to address the social issues.Only recently, KathaHaru Production did a series of five short filmsfor UNICEF Nepal, named Net4good,that focused on the connection between the internet and youth. Shashank talked about the situation in the Nepali web space, “Sitting behind the screen and passing on judgments through social media platform is extremely mean for some reason.Even if someone is doing something good through social media, it is easier to be noticed if you say something mean rather than doing something good.” That is also the reason why Katha Haru production wants the video to have a good message and be relatable to reality. He mentioned the performance in ‘Job offer’ and ‘Three stories’which are included in that series, “They performed well because people can see themselves and think this can happen to them or their friends.” Shashank believes that if they create positive content, they can help people question or talk about it. From his perspective, that is also the way how the media can help change the world.
Talking about the concept about‘Color in Kathmandu’ which was posted in Katha HaruYouTubeChannel in February 2018, he describedthe first time thatthe idea sparked in his head,“While I was cycling back from office, I remember my face was fully covered in dust. I stopped my motorbike on the side of the road,” he continues, “The dust was really brown and looked as if we were playing with color.” It was the same time when Katha Haru wassearching for some social issues that couldbe associated with the Holi festival as it was around the corner. Later, they made the video that combined environmental issues with Holi. This is how Sashank gets inspirations for his movies:by observing the everyday happenings. At the same time, he maintains the Katha Haru team spirit by sharing the ideas that strike him whenever he can. After all, he believes that film-making is a collaborative process.
“Ideas can come from everywhere.” Shashank says. Influenced by his grandmother who worked as a teacher, he used to live in a house that never stopped him from creating, so it inspired him to take up storytelling asprofessional work. Besides,he mentionsthe style of comedy movies, likeShaun of the Dead and his favorite director Christopher Nolan also inspired his work. What inspired him a lot is YouTube. “Even 10years ago, the only platform you could get for creating was either going to a movie or getting a job in a TV series. But social media now provides a common platform for people who have potential to do it.”
When Shashank gets ideas from the street,if it is a good idea, he will just write it down. When he has free time, hewill sit down and think about it. As for his choice among endless ideas, firstly it should be attractive to him.“For me, I don’t try to shoot anything just because it looks good. If I put it on effect, it has to have meaning behind it. I also picture the whole thing in my head first and ask myself ‘Will my parents and friends watch it?’”
In modern times, many young people want to become Vloggers or work in the media field. Shashank advises them not to give up if they think that is the only work they want to do. He wants them to keep creating and when they run out of ideas, “Try to do something completely different. Unlessyou make it happen, it will just die out.”says Shashank.