Haku Kale is immortal. In the future, whenever Nepali actors will sign up for the role of a Newar guy, who shares even the slightest resemblance with the idiosyncrasies of Haku, will refer to this Saugat Malla’s role. They will try to excel him but will fail badly every time. They are not to be blamed, the man did pretty good job there. Or it was easy for Saugat since he had no one to outdo. One cannot reckon the influences he as an actor had in imbibing the role, or even if there were, he was good hiding it. Haku doesn’t remind anyone of any other actor’s character portrayal but of all those Newar bhatti owners who speak with a heavy Newari accent. He breathed life into the kinds he portrayed.
Loot has done what Darpanchaaya once did- made Nepalis who don’t watch Nepali movies go and watch a Nepali movie. The movie critics and reviewers had then stamped Darpanchaaya as a new form of popular culture- a collective action was enforced upon people- we were united by the common cinema watching experience. We were then induced by mass hallucination and once more the country is facing the same.
Let’s take this moment to congratulate Nishcal Basnet on his first directorial debut. The movie has catapulted him in the list of ‘great directors’ list. We don’t have many but he sure is one of the few. The duo has written history. And also Dayahang Rai as Gople is the cherry in the cake.
The hegemony created by thoughtless, bogus movies and skill-less acting methods has been crushed down. Now we can all sleep well. The better days of Nepali cinema has arrived. Fear should be embraced when Saugat realizes the humongous contribution he has made. It is another matter that the actor who immortalized the role hasn’t realized the impact the movie and his role has made yet but movie goers are indebted to him for life. It hasn’t transpired onto Saugat what he has given to the Nepali film industry and to the whining and hopeless audiences. He will be a conceited being then. It is better he doesn’t think highly of himself; not at least for time being as he has to deliver great many roles. He has to outdo himself every time.
Saugat Malla is famed for his method acting. Until and unless he gets it right, he doesn’t rest. He gets into the skin of the character and becomes the character. It is not Saugat that we see on the screen when watching Loot but Haku Kale, the character. Saugat is Gurukul’s poster boy- many aspiring people with hopeful eyes will enroll in theatre schools because Saugat was once like them. He reinforces the belief that acting is a serious job and that not everyone can do it but with a little bit of learning, greater dose of dedication and passion, anyone can score.
But Saugat has committed a crime. He has sown hopes in people. He has asked people to have belief- in him and Nepali films. Somebody should tell Saugat of his responsibility upon the audiences. The urban audiences who ruthlessly critic Hollywood movies and actors were also the same who lined up in queues to buy tickets to watch Loot and they will not spare Saugat next time if he fails them. Now, every time Saugat has to match up to their expectation. He cannot put across excuses because they will be treated as pretexts- pretexts to cover up his incompetence and the last thing Saugat is is an incompetent actor.