Filmmaking started in Nepal
around 1962. The state made three propaganda
films between 1964 and 1971 and later formed
Royal Nepal Film Corporation (RNFC) in 1974.
RNFC made some films, developed some infrastructures
and manpower. Even though some of the films
made by RNFC became hits, it could not do
much to develop the sector.
One film Maitighar
was made as early as around 1966. But no other
followed it. It took about 16 years for the
private sector to come up with another film
-- Juni. Unfortunately
this proved a failure. Filmmaking was still
a risky business and the government regulated
it quite strictly.
In the 1970s, the government introduced a
tax rebate policy. According to it, 50 percent
(which was later increased to 65 percent)
of entertainment tax would be rebated to the
producers. This proved to be a major booster.
Investment in film became a little more secure.
Also, after 1980s, some relatively more creative
films were made and they became successful
too. Thus, filmmaking started to appear a
little more viable profession and the number
of productions increased a bit.
In 1990, the country witnessed an important
political change. The people's movement brought
the autocratic monarchy to its knees and democracy
was restored. The society started to become
open and vibrant. This had an important consequence
for the fledgling film industry: it began
to grow rapidly, or even to 'bloat', if one
might call it so. There was an unprecedented
growth in number of productions. Within a
period of three years, some 140 films were
made. Distribution started to develop. Market
share in the existing market increased and
the market itself expanded. Cinema halls increased
to more than 300. Nepali filmmakers became
optimistic of displacing Hindi films--which
dominated and continue to dominate Nepali
But, towards the end of 1990s, Nepali films
began to fare badly. Gradually, the film industry
began to experience a very hard time, though
productions did not cease altogether.
The major reasons for this were that the
quantity of films outdid the capacity of the
market and also most of the films lacked quality.
Also, quite importantly, the violent war,
started by the Maoists rebels in 1998, began
to crumple the economy and deteriorate the
security situation. Most of the cinema halls
outside the urban centers had to be closed.
The situation worsened after the king took
over in 2005.
During the 90s, some filmmakers, mostly with
non-fiction base, started championing for
a new kind of cinema. They denounced the crude
imitation of Bollywood esthetics and demanded
indigenous esthetics and a more realistic
approach. They made some films, which have
received some critical acclaim at home and
some international recognition.
The people's movement - 2 in April 2006,
ousted the autocratic monarch for the second
and, in all probability, for the last time.
Democracy has been restored and the rebels
have agreed to join the government and resolve
the conflict peacefully.
This new political development has stirred
Nepali film industry. There is a new hope
and optimism. Also lately, there has been
a common realization in the industry that
the quality of the films needs to be bettered
and that Nepali Cinema requires international