Our Team Excited for the Movie 'A Road to a Village / गाउँ आएको बाटो'

A Road to a Village गाउँ आएको बाटो

Yesterday, I had the chance to watch a Nepali movie called ‘A Road to a Village/ गाउँ आएको बाटो.’ I posted a Facebook story about it but felt I should write more, so here it is.

Like Kirati Rai’s ‘Suptulung’ (A Three Stone Stove with great cultural and spiritual importance in Rai culture), I found this film special for three reasons. Because of these reasons, I believe it will always be remembered as a notable film in the Nepali film industry.

First, a development question.

I learned in Class VI ‘Social Studies’ that roads are one of the main infrastructures of development. This means that transportation and roads are essential pillars for the development of a village. This idea is supported by modernization theory and has been practiced from the Panchayat era’s “development” goals to today’s “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali” slogan.

A Road to a Village
A Road to a Village

It’s true, once a road is built, vehicles can come to the village, making travel easier. For example, a bus can now get you to ‘Dharan’ city in one day, whereas it used to “take exactly two days on foot, crossing rivers and hills”. With a road, villagers can take a rooster or a handmade bamboo basket (fipi) to the city market and sell them. They can sell things and also buy things. They get to see many new things their ancestors never saw. Generally speaking, when a road comes, “life gets better for everyone”.

But this story is not complete. The other side of the story is brutal. When the road comes to the village, it brings Coca-Cola with its addictive taste, TVs that make you want to keep watching, plastic tents that don’t perish easily, and light and durable plastic baskets. Because of this, traditional skills and knowledge start to fade away. Our mothers’ knowledge of making local wine with herbs, our fathers’ skills in making bamboo products like fipi and chitra, and the hard work in the fields become meaningless. Village products can reach the city by bus, but can they compete with multinational companies?

Rai Maila with his Bamboo Produce 'Chitra'
Rai Maila with his Bamboo Produce ‘Chitra’

Gradually, villagers are forced to rely on the market, destroying local production systems and culture. People become more consumerist, making them dependent and hollow. This is what the movie ‘A Road to a Village’ tries to show and what the Dependency Theory explains. ‘A Road to a Village’ tells the story of a stubborn person’s struggle against becoming meaningless.

In this sense, the film sharply questions our concept of development, serves as a mirror to the state, and encourages each of us to question our actions. It is an important film that sparks development discussion.

Second, a purely Nepali story.

This is Nepal’s own original story, the story of Nepali soil. It follows a typical village Rai family: Rai Maila, Maili, and their son Bindre. This family is so ordinary that one might ask, “Can a film be made about such people?” In most Nepali films so far, such stories and characters have never found a place.

Rai Maila, Maili, and Bindre - A Family Photograph
Rai Maila, Maili, and Bindre – A Family Photograph

However, this film shows the daily life, family relationships, traditions, and culture of a simple Bantawa Rai family in great detail. It is also an important document of the Kirati culture that is slowly being destroyed by urbanization, modernization, and internal and global influences.

To put it simply, for the Rais, this is a story inside their own home. For other communities, this is a good opportunity to understand the Rai culture. This film is a story for all who consider the Rais as equal Nepalis. It serves as a window to understand Nepali society.

Third, a beautiful piece of art and literature.

This film is a beautiful piece of art and literature. It showcases the love between a father and son, or more broadly, the love of parents for their children. Who hasn’t been touched by the father-daughter love shown in the Korean film “Miracle in Cell Number Seven”? Although not as emotional, the bond between Bindre and Rai Maila touches everyone. We can see ourselves in their characters: some in Rai Maila, some in Maili, and some in Bindre.

The t-shirt shown in the photo below also belonged to my Aapaa (father) (maybe it’s torn now), and there were similar moments of solitude when Aapaa would remind me to do this or not to do that. He would explain the reasons behind his sometimes angry scoldings and how our mother was working hard for our sake. Those moments always motivated me to move forward. They still do, though less frequently, perhaps because Aapaa thinks I now understand things on my own.

Rai Maila and His Son Bindre Conversing at Solitude
Rai Maila and His Son Bindre Conversing at Solitude

Love is a universal language, and through this language, the film conveys its main story. Rai Maila’s unwavering love for his son inspires him to wander around the city market trying to sell his produce, and Bindre’s longing for his father leads to a tragic end. Rai Maili is the rope that binds them together. The film is rich with images and metaphors, and there is a significant effort to portray the Mundhum-based Kirati life, faith, thought, and beauty.

Not to mention the acting, Dayahang Rai and Pashupati Rai are amazing actors and must have felt at home working on this story for the first time (Rai story for Rai actors)—why wouldn’t they excel? Prasan Rai as Bindre is a surprising gift. The acting is so good that you will forget you’re watching Dayahang and Pashupati. It will be a treat for any film lover.

A Photograph with Actors Pashupati Rai (Maili) and Prasan Rai (Bindre)
A Photograph with Actors Pashupati Rai (Maili) and Prasan Rai (Bindre)

Recommendation

In the end, I must say ‘A Road to a Village’ is a must-see film. I highly recommend it to everyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Congratulations to the entire film production team for doing such a good job. Thank you! Aalangne sewa. 🙏

Below is the Nepali version.

माथिको अंग्रेजी संस्करण हो।

Our Team Excited for the Movie 'A Road to a Village / गाउँ आएको बाटो'

गाउँ आएको बाटो

हिजो ‘गाउँ आएको बाटो / A Road to a Village’ हेर्ने अवसर मिल्यो। फेसबुक स्टोरी हिजो नै राखे र पनि अझै लेख्नुपर्छ जस्तो लाग्यो, त्यसकारण यति लेख्न वाध्य भैयो।

किराती राईहरुको सुप्तुलुङ तीन चुला झै मलाई यो फिल्म तीनवटा कुराले खास लाग्यो। र मलाई लाग्छ यिनै कारणले यो नेपाली फिल्मको क्षेत्रमा एक उल्लेखनीय नामको रुपमा सधैं स्थापित रहनेछ।

पहिलो, बिकास बिमर्श।

बाटो/सडक, बिकासको एक मुख्य पुर्वाधार, कक्षा छ को “सामाजिक अध्यायन” बिषयमा पढेको यही हो। यसको अर्थ गाउको बिकासका लागि यातायात/सडक एक अनिवार्य खम्बा हो अर्थात बाटो आएपछी गाउको बिकास हुन्छ।  आधुनिकीकरण सिद्धान्तले भन्ने नि यही हो, अनि नेपालले अंगालेको पञ्चायतकालिन “बिकास” देखी हालको “समृद्ध नेपाल, सुखी नेपाली” सम्म देखिएको अभ्यास नि यही हो।

A Road to a Village
A Road to a Village

हुनलाई हो पनि, सडक बनेसंगै गाउमा गाडी आउछ, अनी पहुच दिन्छ, “खोला तरेर, नौडाँडा काटेर, ठ्याक्कै दुई दिन हिंडेर मात्र पुगिने ‘धरान’ शहर” एकैदिनमा पुग्न सकिन्छ। आफ्नो घरमा पालेको भाले, आफ्नो सिपले बनाएको फिपी शहरको बजारमा लगेर बेच्न सकिन्छ। बेच्न पाईन्छ, किनेर खान पाईन्छ। पुर्खाले कहिल्यै नदेखेको अनेक नयाँ चिज बस्तुहरु देख्न उपभोग गर्न पाईन्छ। समग्रमा भन्नुपर्दा बाटो आउ आएपछी “सबैको भलो नै हुन्छ”।

तर यो कथा पूर्ण भने छैन। कहानिको अर्को पाटो निर्दयी छ। जब बाटो गाउ आउछ, यसले एक घुट्की खानासाथ खाइरहु लाग्ने कोकाकोला ल्याउछ,  हेरिरहु लाग्ने टि.भी ल्याउछ, हत्तपत्त नफाट्ने प्लास्तिकको पाल ल्याउछ, प्लास्तिककै हलुङो टिकाउ भाडाकुडा ल्याउछ। अनी पुस्तौदेखि हाम्रो आमाहरुले जानेको मर्चा हालेर जाड बनाउने ज्ञान, आपाहरुले जानेको बासको चित्रा, फिपी बनाउने सिप, आफ्नो खेतबारिमा धुलोमुलोमा काम गर्ने मेहेनत अर्थहिन हुँदै जान्छन । गाउको उत्पादन गाडी चढेर शहर त पुग्छ तर के बहुराष्ट्रिय कम्पनिको उत्पादनको सामु टिक्न सक्छ?

Rai Maila with his Bamboo Produce 'Chitra'
Rai Maila with his Bamboo Produce ‘Chitra’

अनी बिस्तारै आफु पनि बजारको सामु घुडा टेक्नुपर्ने अवस्था सिर्जना हुन्छ, मौलिक उत्पादन प्रणाली र संस्कृतिको नाश हुँदै जान्छ। ब्यक्तीहरु बिस्तारै उपभोक्ताबादि बन्दै जान्छन, जसले ब्यक्तिहरुलाई पूर्णतया  परनिर्भर र खोक्रो बनाउदै लैजान्छ। “गाउ आएको बाटो” फिल्मले देखाउन खोजेको नि त्यही हो र निर्भरता सिद्धान्तले भन्ने यही हो। “गाउ आएको बाटो” आफु अर्थहिन हुँदै गरेको परिप्रेक्ष्यमा एक जब्बर जिद्दी ब्यक्तिले गर्ने संघर्शको कथा हो।

यस अर्थमा यो फिल्मले हाम्रो बिकास सम्बन्धी अवधारणालाई दरो गरी प्रश्न गर्छ, राज्यलाई ऐना देखाउने काम गर्छ, भने हामी हरेकलाई आफ्नो कृयाकलापप्रती प्रश्न गर्नलाई घच्घच्याउछ। यस अर्थमा यो फिल्म एक महत्वपूर्ण बिमर्श निर्माणकर्ता को रुपमा स्थापित हुन्छ।

दोश्रो, बिशुद्द नेपाली कथा।

यो नेपालको एक बिशुद्द आफ्नै मौलिक कथा हो, नेपाली माटोको कथा हो। एउटा सामान्य गाउले राई परिवार, जसमा छन राई माइला,माइली, र छोरा बिन्द्रे। यो यति सामान्य परिवार हो कि, “यस्ता मान्छेहरुको कथामा पनि फिल्म बन्छ र?” जस्तो लाग्न सक्छ।  नेपालमा हिजोसम्म बनिरहेका अधिकांश फिल्ममा यस्ता कथा, यस्ता पात्रले कहिल्यै ठाउँ पाएनन।

Rai Maila, Maili, and Bindre - A Family Photograph
Rai Maila, Maili, and Bindre – A Family Photograph

तर यसमा एउटा गाउले बान्तावा राई परिवारको दिनचर्या, पारिवारिक सम्बन्ध, मुन्धुममा आधारित मौलिक परम्परा, संस्कृति, आदिलाई एकदमै मिहिन ढंगले देखाइएको छ। शहरीकरण, आधुनिकिकरण, तथा आन्तरिक र विश्व औपनिवेशिक अतिक्रमणले बिस्तारै नासिदै गैरहेको किराती संस्कृतिको एक महत्वपूर्ण दस्ताबेज पनि हो। सिधा भन्नुपर्दा राईहरुको लागि त यो आफ्नै घर भित्रको कथा हो। अरु समुदायको लागि चै यो राईलाई बुझ्ने एउटा राम्रो मौका हो। राइहरुलाई समान नेपाली मान्ने सबैको लागि यो फिल्म आफ्नै कथा हो। नेपाली समाज बुझ्ने एउटा आखिझ्याल हो।

तेश्रो, सुन्दर कला, साहित्य हो।

यो एकदमै सुन्दर कला हो, साहित्य हो। यसभित्र छ बुवा छोराको प्रेम, अथवा भनौ आमाबुवाको आफ्नो सन्तान प्रतिको प्रेम। कोरियन फिल्म “मिराकल इन सेल नम्बर सेवेन” मा देखाइएको बुवा छोरीको प्रेमले नछोएको कसलाई होला? त्यही मात्रामा इमोशनल नभएपनि बिन्द्रे र राई माइलाको आत्मियताले सबैलाई छुन्छ। हरेकले आफुलाई केही बिन्द्रेमा, केही राई माइलामा, केही माइलिमा पाउछम नै।

तलको फोटोमा देखिएको जस्तो टीसर्ट मेरो आपाको नि थियो (अहिले फाटिसक्यो होला) अनि त्यस्तै एकान्तको पलहरु पनि थिए, छन, जब मलाई आपाले सम्झाउनुहुन्थ्यो, यस्तो गर्नु, यस्तो नगर्नु भनेर। आफुले रिसाएर गाली गर्नुको कारण यस्तो थियो भनेर बुझाउनुहुन्थ्यो। अनि आमाले हाम्रो लागि कति दु:ख गर्नुहुदैछ भन्ने सुनाउनुहुन्थ्यो। ति पलहरु मेरा लागि सधैं अगाडि बढ्ने प्रेरणाका रुपमा आउथे। अझैपनी आउछन कहिलेकाही तर पहिलेभन्दा कम, आपालाई छोरी आफ्नै बुझ्ने भाको लागेर होला।

Rai Maila and His Son Bindre Conversing at Solitude
Rai Maila and His Son Bindre Conversing at Solitude

प्रेम विश्वव्यापी भाषा हो र यही भाषाको प्रयोग गर्दै (बुवा र छोराको भावनात्मक सम्बन्ध मार्फत) फिल्मको मुल कथालाई उजागर गर्न खोजिएको छ। राई माइलालाई आफ्नो छोराप्रतिको निसर्त प्रेमले नै हो शहर बजार भौतारिदै हिंड्ने प्रेरणा दिने, अनि बिन्द्रेलाई आफ्नो पापाकै सम्झनाले दुखान्तमा पुराउने। राइ माइलि चाँही यि दुईलाई संगै बाधेर राख्ने डोरी। फिल्ममा बिम्ब नै बिम्ब छन, किराती जिबन, आस्था, बिचार, सौन्दर्य देखाउने भरपुर प्रयास भएको छ।

अभिनयको कुरा गर्नै परेन, दयाहाङ राई र पशुपती राई ले पहिलो पल्ट हुनुपर्छ आफ्नै कथामा काम गर्ने अवसर पाएको, किन सलल नबग्ने? प्रसन राई बिन्द्रेको रुपमा चै सर्प्राइज गिफ्ट नै हो। यति राम्रो अभिनय छ कि, दयाहाङ र पशुपतीलाई नै बिर्साइदिने। जोसुकै फिल्मका पारखिको लागी यो एक मिठो अनुभब हुनेछ।

A Photograph with Actors Pashupati Rai (Maili) and Prasan Rai (Bindre)
A Photograph with Actors Pashupati Rai (Maili) and Prasan Rai (Bindre)

सिफारिस

यद्धपी गाउ आएको बाटो हेर्नैपर्ने फिल्म चै हो है। हेर्न बाँकी हुने सबैजनालाई मेरो तर्फबाट सिफारिस गर्दछु। अनि छुट्ट्याउनै नहुने कुरा यति राम्रो कर्म गर्नुहुने सम्पूर्ण फिल्म निर्माण टोलीलाइ धन्यवाद तथा बधाई। आलाङने सेवा।

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