Here’s What TMFK Director Pema Dhondup Has To Say On Moviemandu Review

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Your opinion is appreciated but disagreeable. Fiction and reality are two different things for your information. The story begins with caption ‘inspired by’ a phenomenon, not a city. Police harassment and police not doing anything or gunning down someone but not gunning down someone else are ridiculous arguements in an otherwise appreciation of the film’s attempt to showcase a beautiful city.

Not being able to sympathize with the protagonist is fair because he is an anti-hero, and Robert De Niro as Travis and NYC seen as a dirt town was hard for many too to accept at that time when Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Diver was released. I don’t mean to compare myself or this film to that classic other than our protagonists being irregular.

However, reality of Kathmandu or NYC has nothing to do with both movies. Plausibility is not reason for forming opinion by a critic. It should be whether the world of the story is believable. So, if characters behave in a certain way then we should be convinced about it. If that didn’t happened for you then your opinion is justified. As such, if two ambitious guys that happen to be a Muslim And Hindu are attempting to rule Kathmandu, I don’t see why that’s not believable. And, if a person gets involved in their dirty battle because of personal loss, what’s so confusing.

This is not Die hard and if you degrade the action as ‘okay’ is fine but don’t degrade Nepalese cinema with a snobbish attitude of “standard”. What is that standard? Maybe Nepalese filmmakers can try to live up to that standard when they embark on creating film in the resources they have.

In conclusion, my friend, I appreciate the work you do and of all critics in general because they guide viewers but more so they can help filmmakers become better next time. But, bad opinions without true context and depth of understanding cinema only destroys hard work.

Best
Pema

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  1. First of all, let me start by saying that my movie reviews are no way attempts to ignore the hard work and investment made in the field of Nepali cinema. Hence in this case as well, I only meant to express my views with respect to other Nepali cinemas for Nepali movie goers.

    I am not writing this movie review in an ideal world to critically analyze a work of art. If so, I would have started the review by asking why there are no back story given about the Muslim politician and the Hindu priest for audience to understand about their enmity. I would also ask why the ‘hero’ is shown so intolerant and beating people to pulp for an incident which could have been gracefully avoided. Are the viewers just supposed to stay mum without using the logics and go on watching whatever the movie is catering?

    But you and I both know that TMFK is a popular cinema. Hence I have to review this movie not only as a critic but also as an audience as well. I have to be responsible for Nepali audience by giving my honest review about how THEY will feel when they watch this movie, to the best of my knowledge. I would also have questioned the plausibility in similar fashion if a movie had a story about a girl from Kalikot who ends up being the head of NASA and lands on the moon one day, if convincing back story is not provided.

    This is not to brag about my education, but I also studied Film Analysis in the US and graduated from an American university. I have my own experience to share about the discrimination I faced for having a brown face while I was there. Despite being born a Hindu, I was mistaken for a Muslim and discriminated on multiple occasions. Hence I could relate to the titular character, but if you don’t give the back story about him, how can Nepali viewers sympathize with him? And how can they root for your ‘hero’ or ‘anti-hero’ as you want to call him?

    As an avid movie lover and a well-wisher of Nepali cinema, I have highlighted everything good about this movie in my review. But I have to stress again that you have beautifully captured the physicality of Kathmandu but not the soul. Regardless of how fictitious you claim your story to be, it has to take place in a plausible locale. You have to adjust your movie’s storyline to the location where you claim it is based on. Otherwise you might as well have a Tharu from the Terai as a high altitude rescue worker in the Everest region in your next movie, who saves snow leopards from falling off of the precipices. No fiction can detach itself absolutely from the real world.

    I gather you don’t watch many Nepali movies, otherwise you would have been familiar with standard of action choreography in Nepali cinema. Documentaries can be made to showcase the beauty of a city. But when you make a make a movie about a man from Kathmandu, you have to justify the story with that place.
    From the man of your caliber, Nepali movie lovers definitely expect a much better product the next time. For TMFK, I stand by my rating.

    All the best.

    Rupak.

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