Rajesh Hamal is the epitome of success in the Nepali movie industry. His three and a half decades of successful involvement in the industry has seen the public bestow the title of Mahanayak upon him. Beyond movies, he has managed to garner further adoration with his charismatic presence and eloquent intellectuality in his public appearances.
The same legendary actor Hamal appeared as a guest at Desh Sanchar Chautari, where he unfolded the colors of life and art with intellectuality and wittiness – the signature aspect of his personality.
‘I started modeling in India after completing my formal education. This was not because I was interested but I assumed it would be a stepping stone towards a career in movies – something I was passionate about. To be an artist was not what attracted me towards cinema, but as a medium,’ he recalls.
‘My career was not planned out. As I was doing my first film, I did not know if I would ever get an opportunity for a second one,’ he says. Not only did his first movie – Yug Dekhi Yug Samma –turn out successful but it also helped propel his career. The audience and the industry both invested curiosity in him. ‘I was engaging up to 10 hours a day in movies after a year it released and up to 18 within the next few years,’ he recalls as this routine became a norm for over the next two decades.
‘There was a time I was involved in twenty-two movies a year,’ he reminisces. Of course, he was not the lead in all of them – with some involvements limited to guest roles or simply just being present during a song. Nepali movie industry was still in its infancy as his career started. It can be said that they both came up in life together. Nepali movies resemble Nepali society and more so during his initial days, he opines, my roles and appearances represented society’s way of life- customs, tastes and life style during that period.’
Movies sound larger than life because they use cinematic liberty, he admits, but what’s presented resonates with the wishes and aspirations of the public. He uses an example of a common cinema trope of a protagonist successfully fighting ten people at once. One may question its authenticity, but audiences somewhat find themselves aspiring for the same in their imagination.
‘The contentment I had received performing at the stage was immense but any form of art be it period movie or commercial and stage performance has its own purpose,’ he states. His performance in Court Martial was highly applauded. He recalls performing the role of Richard the Third from a play Richard III by Shakespeare way back in early 90’s which too had garnered much appreciation.
‘I have spent over thirty-five years in movies, but I have no proper answer if anyone asks how one can become an actor,’ he confesses the enigmatic nature of the industry, ‘if anyone asks how to be a banker then you know immediately where they should start, but I don’t know where should I send an aspiring actor to begin with.’
Hamal does not rule out the possibility of jumping into politics but chooses not to divulge further. He does state that those in the political arena are not performing well thereby anyone successful in their field faces questions regarding an entry into politics.
‘I believe I have a part of diplomat within me,’ he refers to his upbringing as a child of a seasoned diplomat when asked about the possibility of representing the nation in the diplomatic arena. ‘I have interest in subjects and issues of international relations as well,’ he adds.
‘I am forever grateful to Nepali cinema that fulfilled my childhood void,’ he proclaims, referring to his early life spent outside of Nepal in diplomatic surroundings, far away from the actual reality of everyday Nepali people. With his involvement in the film industry, he got the opportunity to work with and get to know every day Nepali people. He states the opportunity that my profession provided to mingle with common Nepalis and to understand their lifestyle reaching to every corner of the country is simply incomparable.