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Showing posts from March, 2012

A TALE OF TWO CITIES IN JUNG BAHADUR'S LIFE & TIME

"It was the best of times it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." Charles Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities.
I have always been curious to find out what Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal might have seen and heard during his storied visit to London and Paris in 1850 A.D. The European powers, especially Great Britain, were at the zenith of their expansionist adventures overseas. The sun never set over the British Empire under Quee…

ROMANCING THE MOVIES

The first time that I remember going to a cinema was when an angrezi film was running at Kathmandu's first movie theater named "Janasewa", translated as "in service of the people", alluding to the political changes brought about in 1951 by the ouster of the Rana regime. The year was 1960. Nepal's first election had been carried out and the Congress Party had won it handily. The naysayers had pronounced the new dispensation as "damn-o-cracy" but nevertheless there was a breath of fresh air with press and media freedom tingling the senses. My personal experience in the theater though was agonizing at best as the large, threatening images flickering on the screen accompanied by the deafening sound sent me into paroxysm of wailing and I had to sit out half the movie in the foyer with my minder placating me with sweets. I was five years old.

Janasewa opened in the early fifties to show Hindi movies for the very first time to the general public. One …