Within a week of the release of the movie and getting into the theatres, Highway, a film by Deepak Rauniyar, has drawn a many of responses from the audiences and film critics. The debate and discussion upon the movie is still going on in different social networking sites and blogs. On this backdrop, Sahadev Chaudhary and Pragati Shrestha have talked with the director Rauniyar about his movie. Here are the excerpts of the interview:
How are the responses you have got about your movie Highway?
Highway is not film like other Bollywood spicy films. The film is the mirror of the Nepali society. The reactions are very much polarized. Someone have liked the movies very much and appreciated my work and there is also someone who hasn’t liked the movie. Many people even emailed me personally to convey their comments. There were few peoples who are criticizing the movie thinking that their space would be occupied by us in the film fraternity. Their criticism has only been guided by the jealousy of our success of the film. We have found some people who have called many journalists and asked them to write negative comments of the movie. We have got proof of this.
The film is of new taste to the Nepali audiences who have been watching the spicy movies for long time. Likewise, the audience who have been watching the movie of two and half hour duration may equate Highway as a documentary rather than full –length movie since it is of one and half hour length of time.
While the Nepali movie goers are habituated with the spicy movies and your movie Highway is moreover about reflection of the reality. How can this movie address the demands of the Nepali movie lovers?
Currently, youths seems skipping from the reality. They go to theater simply for the time-pass with their boyfriend/girlfriend as they don’t have any option except theaters and Highway is not for such movie goers. Movie like Highway demands attention of the audiences or, say, audience participation is vital for this movie. While watching the movie, suppose, you missed even 2 minute than it means it is very hard to follow the flow of the movie. This is the problem what most of the viewers are facing currently while watching the Highway. The problem occurs while the viewers don’t watch the movie sincerely. Highway movie is a real life.
It is said that the movie doesn’t even have a plot. What do you say?
There are two types of people who have such accusation. One group of people says that this movie is like a documentary and this is a success to us. I am saying success because one who are saying so, at least, understand that this is about real life and this is exactly what we intend to portray in the movie. They feel like it is a documentary. They think that movie with loud active is only movie. I will give you an example. Rowdy Rathore and Sanghai movie were released together. The audiences went to watch Sanghai more than the Rowdy Rathore. The current pattern is represented by Rowdy Rathore but we have made the movie on the pattern of Sanghai. This has been hard for many people to grasp the pattern that I have followed. I was watching Sanghai in Kumari hall and there were other 15/20 youths near to me. They were venting their ire against the movie while getting out from the theatre. You have to go through the reality life while watching the Sanghai and most audience responds that there is no plot at all while watching such reality in the movie. This is the case with the Highway also. What they see in the movie is all about reality so they don’t conceive it as story. Otherwise, are the people who have extremely loved the movie are fool?
What do you say about the complaints of viewers on the use of light in your movie?
We are used to on watching the movie where there is the extreme use of lights. If the scene is of night time, it looks like the shot of day time due to the maximum use of light. And, people are complaining when they don’t see the extreme brightness in the movie and say that the color is faded. They don’t understand the trick of lights so they are making complains because we don’t have the habit of watching the good movies. If there is the use of camera, helicopter and trolley in the movie, the audience think that there is very good camera. There isn’t use of such camera in Highway. If you watch the shots carefully, we have either used the static or handle the camera. Why we have done static with the camera work is to show that we are facing disability. We don’t have electricity. We can’t do work when we want. So the light and camera have been used in more symbolic ways also.
The stories of the 5 characters in the movie reflect the society but what is the message the movie wants to convey?
Highway has raised many questions through the stories of the characters. So people are enraged with these questions. Many are angry with the open ending of the movie. Generally, in Nepali movies, the characters are assembled together to end the story of the movie.
Do you claim that you have started a new trend in the Nepali movie?
This trend is new in Nepali context however it is not new outside Nepal. There are many film made in this trend outside Nepal which compelled people to think critically. Why we have chosen so many characters? Because it’s like that there happens to be many characters travelling together inside a bus. This is the reflection of the current context of the country. There are many types of people inside the country and the bus is the metaphor to the country. We didn’t need actors and actresses in the movie. We are trying to raise question in this movie. We are raising the question to those who watch this movie.
Who are the main target audience of your film?
This film is for the youngsters as well as matured audience. However, there is nothing that the under sixteen could enjoy in this film.
It has been a week since your film has been released. How is the market of the film?
So far it is good. I haven’t thought that the film would hit the theatres outside the Kathmandu valley but it is going quite well. It is better than I was thinking. We are planning to release the film in Australia within some days. There is a hot debate going on in different social media sites. You see there are many people discussing and debating about Highway in facebook and twitter. None of the Nepali movies have been the topic of debate as much as Highway has been in the social networking sites. Highway is the film whose measurement couldn’t be based on the days that it get into the theatres only rather the main thing about it is how much it inspired other to make new films.
What kind of responses you are getting in the social networking sites about Highway?
Facebook is the networking site where there has been much talk about highway. The users are posting their negative and positive comments about Highway.
How do you feel while getting negative comments?
I don’t feel odd over the negative comments. I was already aware that there would be such comments from the viewers and I was prepared to solicit negative comments too. We have presented the character and stories in a new way so it was obvious that we would receive such responses. I shouldn’t say it a negative comment.
How the movie ‘Highway’ was named?
I used to face the problem of jam and road blockade many times while returning home and this is the common problems to each and every citizen who are out of Kathmandu. They caught into road blockades and bandha in the Highway while returning back to their home. This doesn’t only waste your time but also harms you emotionally. The name Highway has touched my inner heart so I named my movie Highway.
Had you thought other names before naming your movie ‘Highway’?
Before naming it Highway, we were also thinking to name the movie ‘Shubha Bibaha’ but we put it later Highway according to social and political context of the country.
What message Highway conveys to young generation?
The film draws the attention of young generation. The young generation wants to live the reel life whereas other real incidents in real life happen which affects them and they need to face these incidents. A boyfriend who intends to take away his girlfriend for date may find this movie boring because he may not find romance and entertainment in this movie. They like romance and entertainment akin to reel life but Highway is about the real life so they may find it boring. I think, this movie would help them to come to the real life from the reel life.
How is the market of Highway in the Cinema market? Does your movie would make any impact in the Nepali society and movie fraternity?
It has been only one week and we are upbeat from the responses. One who likes it would go again to watch the movie and one who don’t like would be irked with us. Overall, the market is not bad. Regardless of the market, the movie has left some questions in the society through different themes, stories and characters of the movie. This movie has been made in totally different way in the Nepali cinema sector. The movie has become a mirror to reflect our current Nepali society.