Into the bright lightsDeepak Rauniyar always uses the term ‘exploration’ to talk about cinema. For him, the word exploration when attached to cinema implies that it is an art form, not merely a depiction of something.
Deepak Rauniyar always uses the term ‘exploration’ to talk about cinema. For him, the word exploration when attached to cinema implies that it is an art form, not merely a depiction of something. His most recent feature film, White Sun, examined the relationship of two brothers, who had strayed from each other because of the decade-long Maoist insurgency. The film opened to positive critical reception around the world, winning numerous awards and accolades in the international film circuit and in the process redefining what Nepali movies could, and should, aspire to.
Rauniyar says that he has set himself in the path of critical movies, which for him is not possible “without merging the political with the personal.” His previous feature film, Highway (2012), showed how passengers of a bus formed an alliance to escape a highway blockade. Similarly the next film that he has started working is set to revolve around the lives of people who live around the open border between Nepal and India. “I just completed the research for the movie and it was very productive,” Rauniyar shares, “I will be focusing on writing the movie over the next two months.” The explorative aspect of his movies is further demonstrated by the fact that as the director, Rauniyar does not give a scripted dialogue to his actors. Instead, he guides his actors into the shoes of his characters through a method that becomes a process of self-discovery for the actors. Then, he prompts his actors to improvise the dialogues based on the situation.
Rauniyar admits that the critical nature of his movies take root from the time he spent working as a journalist. “I had journalist friends who were equally interested in movies, and talking with them has helped me develop an idea of what a movie should be,” Rauniyar says, “As a journalist, I also got the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Nepal , which helped me develop a more nuanced understanding of the socio-political realities in Nepal.”
Rauniyar shares that becoming a filmmaker became possible because of several factors that came together at the right time, but his filmmaking career would not have taken the course it did had he not encountered Asha Magrati.
Magrati was working as a theatre actor and teacher when Rauniyar met her. Today, they share their lives as personal as well as professional partners. Together they took the courage to quit their jobs, and pursue filmmaking full-time. “Our parents first thought that we were crazy, but they have now finally bought into the idea,” Magrati says, “We are quite blessed to have so much in common. It makes it easier when we have to make tough decisions. We both understand that the sacrifices we make help us pursue our passion together.”
On the professional front, Rauniyar shares that Magrati is his first audience and critic. While Rauniyar focuses on direction, Magrati takes control of casting and production. The couple also share that being a professional couple has helped them deepen their love and respect for each other.
“We make good movies together, through which we get to spend a bulk of our time together, there are hurdles, but it is the best possible life for the both of us. And we are excited to chart out what the future will bring,” Magrati says.
— By Sandesh Ghimire