From the margins to the centre stageAfter a nationwide hunt for an actress to play the leading role in a film on the practice of Child Marriage, actor and producer Rekha Thapa has finally found that person in the most unlikely place
After a nationwide hunt for an actress to play the leading role in a film on the practice of Child Marriage, actor and producer Rekha Thapa has finally found that person in the most unlikely place—in Bheri, Jajarkot, in the far west. Fifteen-year old Kamala Wali, who just completed her eighth grade, neither watches films nor did she have any aspiration to become a film ‘heroine’. Wali came to Rekha Thapa’s attention after acting coach Nar Bahadur Karki spotted her while he was travelling through Jajarkot.
The feature length film Malika, to be produced under the banner of Rekha Films, will be part of an ongoing nationwide effort to eradicate the practice of child marriage. “When I first saw Kamala, it felt as if the role was written for her,” Karki shared, “But it took some time to convince her parents.” At first Kamala and her parents were hesitant, but the senior members of the village convinced them citing that this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Kamala has left for Kathmandu, where she will undergo a month long acting training after which the shooting of the film will commence. “This movie holds the dream of the entire Nepali population,” Thapa said, “We are convinced that we will get full public support to fight against the prevalent malpractice. Currently, in Jaajrkot 65 percent of girls are married off before they reach the legally recognised marriageable age of 20. The film is said to depict the role women need to play to fight such cruel traditions.