‘Saino’ Movie Review : A Promising Start Handicapped by Derailed Screenplay and Direction


Ratings: 1.5/5

A movie with similar name was released in 1987 AD, which starred Bollywood legend Danny Denzongpa along with Bhuwan KC and Tripti Nadakar. With popular songs that Nepali movie lovers in their late thirties and forties hum even today, it was a marvelous achievement for Nepali movie industry. 32 years later, a namesake movie is releasing today, though it is neither a sequel or a prequel to the Danny starrer. However, does it stand up to that more than three decades old venture or it is another run-of- the-mill Nepali movie? Let’s analyze.

The movie starts somewhere in the outskirts of the Kathmandu valley, where a Khas boy Raj Kumar (Raj Kumar) falls for a Tamang girl Anu (Miruna). Enters Maite (Roydeep) as a villain, who thinks he deserves Anu because she is his maternal uncle’s daughter. The story moves on and both Raj Kumar and Anu land in the city, or let’s say the story doesn’t move at all and the movie starts with a new story altogether. The second story also touches the issue of women trafficking and has another villain, another supporting cast and a female lead as well. The director has tried to link this new story to the older one but it’s a tad too late. One key question to the director: who in the hell searches a lost friend by visiting each and every street in Kathmandu today?

Background score, cinematography is very ordinary, none of the songs are worth mentioning save the folk song ‘mayalu lai jatrai ma’. However, choreography in all dance sequences looks refreshing and nicely done. The most important aspect to notice is the narrative style, as characters’ soliloquy narrates the events which could and should have done via effective visual storytelling techniques. As a result, the movie becomes tells-a-lot-but-shows-very-little. Unnecessary fight sequences and some key plot holes are other downsides of this affair.

The male lead of the movie, debutant Raj Kumar has the look of an innocent boy and fits in his role. However, he doesn’t rise to the occasion when the story demands more from him and is paralyzed by singular facial expression throughout the movie. Moreover, he is overshadowed by other characters in many scenes because of the lack of a movie star like persona in him. Neeta, Miruna, Rajendra and other character actors have done passable job. Neeta and Rajendra’s chemistry is notable. Roydeep is dominant whenever he is onscreen.

A few smart and well knitted attempts at tightening the possible loopholes on screenplay doesn’t make the entire movie a compact one. Neeta has the meatiest roles of all in the movie but it’s her screen time (a song and a couple of scenes) that could have been cut to make the movie much sharper. Important characters vanish for such a long time that you almost forget how the movie started.

What bothers viewers the most is the direction the movie takes after what can be called a promising start. It starts with a possibility of becoming an authentic love story with commendable commentary on existing diversity of a contemporary Nepali society. The movie, as we go on watching, takes a different direction and is a bit all over the place and adds another love triangle to already existing one. Viewers would definitely want to see more of the former one, which they won’t.

Upside: a well-crafted beginning, Neeta’s bold avatar, Miruna’s modest look, Roydeep’s onscreen persona, Raja Rajendra and Neeta’s camaraderie and chemistry.

Downside: derailed screenplay, lack of depth in story (or stories), plot holes, bad stunt choreography and distasteful comedy.

Producer: Bhuwan Thapa Chand
Director: Ramesh Thapa
Cast: Nita Dhungana, Miruna Magar, Raj Kumar, Bhuwan Thapa Chand, Basundhara Bhusal, Madandash Shrestha, Roydeep Shrestha, Shyam Rai, Shikha Malla, Raja Rajendra Pokharel, Bishal Pahadi et al.


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