Nepalese actors eye Indian soaps

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
17 Jun, 2004 30:05:00 AM
Manisha KoiralaAfter eyeing Bollywood, India's mega-billion Hindi film industry, Nepalese actors are now targeting Hindi soaps.

Petite Nepalese actress Arunima Lamsal is first off the mark with a meaty role in "Sonpari", the teleserial for children running on STAR Plus.

Arunima was in the headlines recently after she was selected along with Nepalese leading lady Bipana Thapa to act in an English film "Remember Me" by a London-based production company.

And now it is a Hindi TV serial.

A 40-member crew from "Sonpari" came to Nepal last month to shoot seven episodes and give viewers, fed on endless family dramas on STAR Plus, a break with some outdoor locations.

It also gave a break to about 30 Nepalese actors and technicians who were
hired for the shooting in tourist sites Pokhara and Manokamana as well as the Buddhist shrine Boudha and Patan, famed for its exquisite royal palace.

Arunima's role as a Nepalese police inspector is the biggest.

Producer Anupam Kalidhar made the Kathmandu connection through Nepalese director Naresh Poudel, who had gone to Mumbai to record the songs for his new film "Dhadkan".

Poudel had been local coordinator for renowned filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci in 1992 when he came to shoot his "Little Buddha".

Manisha KoiralaHe was in the picture again last year when Bollywood film director Rajat Mukherjee shot his thriller "Love in Nepal" in and around Kathmandu.

Not very surprising therefore that the 41-year-old Nepalese director has been asked to lead the same group of actors to Mumbai this week for shooting some more episodes.

"I am going to approach other Indian tele-serial makers to come and shoot in
Nepal," Poudel said.

"It would boost tourism in Nepal and it would give exposure and opportunities to Nepalese actors and technicians."

Most actors from Kollywood, as Nepal's fledgling film industry is called, dream of making it in Bollywood.

But so far only one has succeeded -- Manisha Koirala, grandniece of four-time prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, has been able to establish herself in Bollywood as a versatile actress.

But attempts by a former Miss Nepal Jharana Bajracharya were not fruitful
though she had a role in "Love in Nepal".

Even Siddarth, Manisha's brother, has failed to get a break.

Will Arunima be the new Manisha of the Indian small screen? Only time will tell.