Desh Sanchar Chautari

‘In today’s Nepal, rulers have turned into ruiners’

Hari Bansa Acharya is a name that no Nepali needs an introduction to. One half of the successful comedy duo, MaHa, along with his counterpart Madan Krishna Shrestha, is not just a comedic genius, but an equally cherished presenter, director, singer, and writer combined in one. His songs were equally well-received, and his book–Cheena haraeko Manchhe— an instant best seller. The duo’s so far unstoppable journey began way back in the 1970s.

The same versatile personality, Acharya, appeared as a guest in Desh Sanchar Chautari, for its sixth episode and breathed his pain and dejection over the state of the affairs, in his typical humorous way.

In flashback of his life, Acharya cherished all struggles and failures he has had to endure saying ‘I would not have been an artist if I did not have to go through those pains’. He expressed his contentment of his present life and stated “I am the happiest person”. He shared his belief that an ‘artist’ is a sensitive element who has to understand society in order to create something worthy. Moreover, he opined that humor is like a wild mushroom, if consumed without proper packaging may turn poisonous.

He stated, while in NTV we worked by ‘Soul’ (not the brain). The telefilms ‘Banpale’, ‘Chiranjibi’, ‘Dashain’, ’15 Gate’ and the like were produced and eventually released despite regular financial loss. However, these works subsequently contributed in gaining trust that national and international organizations began assigning us to make awareness videos. ‘The stage work too provided us with some earnings at that time of struggle’, he said.

Acharya devoted a substantial part of his presentation about the Maha Sanchar’s video cassette –Neelo aankha khairo kapala–in which he plays the role of a ‘mem saheb’, an emissary of then U S President to report on the ongoing movement in Nepal and Madan Krishna, her Rickshaw puller. The duet had many queries and doubts about the future of republic Nepal and presence of external forces. ‘Is not Nepal going to be like Afghanistan?’ was one such doubt she (mem sahib) expressed then.

He added, the Constituent Assembly election was supposed to be our demand but unprecedented interest of external forces and their funding made us suspicious of possible ploy by other foreign powers to ignite a spark of instability in the country. The song, according to him, was the expression of the same impression in an artistic gesture.

Talking about the success of the duo, he continued ‘we (Hari Bansha Acharya and Madan Krishna Shrestha) listen to and learn from the stakeholders, concerned authorities as well as experts while writing scripts on wide ranging social and awareness raising issues’. But, ‘we don’t consult with anyone except a few intimate friends particularly for the political scripts so as to avoid any possible play of interests.’

Recalling their early days in making satirical and political serials, he said, ‘political parties were restricted, BP Koirala had just returned from India, Politicians began admiring our efforts, as they realised we could speak what they couldn’t. And, on the other hand, the government authorities considered us ‘jokers’, and we were not taken seriously’.

He shared various interesting examples of their creative activities and their way to exploit loopholes .’The government was very careful about not letting us mention 2017, the year that king Mahendra had dismissed parliament .’So when we had to mention 2017, we would simply ask; Panchanarayan which year were you born in, the answer would be –between 2016 and 2018.

We reached out to more people, we expanded our base, he said. But he made it clear he is not very happy with the current scenario and the people ruling the country. ‘Our sashak (rulers) have turned into ‘nashak’ (destroyers or ruiners). They have become ‘Binashak’ (destructive), he opined.