Movie tickets prices have significantly increased in recent years. A multiplex ticket price is at least 340 to 420 rupees in any QFX chain, and I am pretty sure it is about the same in any other multiplex chains, barring those discount lots of the morning shows and midweek days. It has compelled me to ponder as to why would a regular movie goer from the valley (lets limit the discussion within the valley for a moment) spend that much in a Nepali movie while that cinephile can use it in other entertaining affairs such as watching a Bollywood or a Hollywood venture with the same amount of money. Coming out of Jai Nepal cinema after watching “Selfie King” this Sunday afternoon, this thought hit my head more than once.
First of all, let’s be clear. Selfie King takes no inspiration from and is in no way a remake of the Hollywood venture “Joker” despite the partial resemblance in both titular characters’ dress up. Moreover, as the story goes on, any keen viewer will realize that these movies are in fact the opposite of each other. For example, Selfie King loves his father while the Joker hated his. Joker craves for attention whereas Selfie King avoids one. The Joker is a destructive personality while our Selfie King is a repressed, bullied and wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly type of guy (Not when he is drunk though). And the Joker’s story takes place in a fictional town while Selfie King’s one takes place at real locales.
Selfie King is the story of a popular comedian from a television show, whose life is in shambles because of his inability to balance his career and family affair, his financial condition and nag for a wife. And what more, he is an alcoholic with severe insecurity complex when drunk. In the movie, his father suffers brain hemorrhage but instead of being by his side in such a time of need, Gopal, the selfie king has to go to Sallerito perform in a carnival. Due to unknown circumstances, he doesn’t get the air ticket and has to go there by bus.
The entire movie is about Gopal Dahal aka Selfie King’s journey and his stay in Salleri. Gopal is the central character and he is in almost all the scenes in the movie. He is presumed to be a television star and everyone on the street knows him. Just as his character does in the show onscreen, his admirers love taking selfie with him. But is his character in the movie relatable to the viewers? The answer is a big NO. He is shown as an artist who gets bullied by his own admirers at times, he doesn’t have the financial ability to carry his stardom and he is an alcoholic whom the viewers can’t sympathize with.
In addition, contemporary viewers will have hard time believing that a star of Selfie King’s reach would be that impoverished and such a crybaby. The difference in the manner with which Selfie King talks with fellow thespians and regular people is what tells the viewers that he realizes his stardom. However, overly polite tone in his speech makes it sound phony at times.
Climax scene in Salleri is noteworthy but as mentioned before, only so because of Bipin’s performance and not because you feel for his character. However, Bipin’s dialogue delivery when he is crying and drunk is not very clear. LaxmiBardewa is alright in her short role but a bit loud at times. Bhuwan Chand as Gopal’s mother is convincing on her own but there is no chemistry between her and Bipin’s character. AbhayBaral is okay in his role but it is JibanBhattrai who is more convincing of the two.
Overall, Selfie King is not a badly made movie. Cinematography is helpful in enhancing the movie’s tone and background score also suits the moment.The movie has nice production value and makeup artist has done a commendable job. Performance, as mentioned earlier, is better than in many other Nepali movies. However,lack of relatable emotions between the viewers and the titular character, monotonous and humorless screenplay and some dragged-to-death scenes make this a very unentertaining affair.
And this is the reason that made me write the first paragraph of this review. Most of all, makers have failed in convincing the viewers why they felt the need to tell this story at all. It seems the only intention makers have is to make viewers feel sad by watching Selfie King suffering onscreen. But only if viewers came to movies to feel sad.
You wouldn’t know what happens in the movie from the word go, but predictability towards the end and blunt editing makes this movie a torture fest of sort, only saving grace being BipinKarki’snatural performance.
Movie: Selfie King
Producer: Dinesh Raut, Subash Thapa
Writer/Director: Bishal Sapkota
Cast: Bipin Karki, Laxmi Bardewa, Abhay Baral, Bhuwan Chand, Lokmani Sapkota, Jiban Bhattarai, Sabin Bastola et al.