Director: Deepak Rauniyar
Nepal | 2012 | Narrative | Nepali w/English subtitles
Narrative | 80 minutes
The feature debut of Nepali filmmaker Deepak Rauniyar, marks the rise of a fresh new cinematic vision for the Himalayan nation. Decidedly different from the standard commercial product heavily influenced by Bollywood, the film takes an understated look at an increasingly common phenomenon: the bandhs, roadblocks caused by strikes or protests that often paralyze traffic and disrupt daily life.
The unusual road drama centers around an ill-fated journey on a highway from eastern Nepal to Kathmandu, the nation’s capital. A bus filled with passengers of various social and economic backgrounds gets repeatedly stuck in bandhs. Each passenger is desperate to get to Kathmandu for a different reason — a man needs to reach his wife quickly to try to conceive a baby or else the herbal fertility medicine he has taken will lose effectiveness, a young woman leaves her lover and is on her way to an arranged marriage, and a man hurries back home to see his boyfriend who is devastated by an attack on a transgender friend. They quickly put their heads together and transform the bus into a wedding vehicle — with a bride, a groom, and a wedding band in tow — to gain passage.
Crisscrossing this seemingly humorous adventure are fragments of each individual’s backstory, ironically filled with despair, hardship, and deceit. The non-linear narrative structure, which includes the main plot and disconnected subplots, offers a kaleidoscopic look at contemporary Nepali life, which has only recently emerged from 12 years of civil war.