WOW catches up with three of the most celebrated divas of the Nepali film industry. These fine actors are remembered for their performance, aura, popular songs and stories that over the years has taken their fans and audiences on emotional rollercoaster rides of the big screen. They have been embedded in the soul of their viewers for their rich performance and talent.
Actor & Dancer
Mithila Sharma is an actor and dancer praised for her unparalleled performances and inimitable style. Mithila has been highly acclaimed by critics and is often known for portraying complex characters. When asked about her journey in the Nepali film industry she responds, “I joined the film industry through theatre. I was only nine years old when I started performing. It has been more than 45 years since I started working in the entertainment business.” She adds, “Before acting, I used to dance and I am still passionate about it. For me, acting will always be secondary; first and foremost, I am a dancer.”
Which performance of yours do you consider to be your greatest?
I don’t think I have arrived at my best performance yet. There is still a long way ahead of me. I am waiting for an opportunity where I can fully immerse myself and work to the best of my abilities. Moreover, there will always be room for improvement. It’s a learning process which is never ending.
How do you choose different film roles?
Many people ask me why I always play serious characters. But they are mistaken. I started my career with comedy in theatres. Whenever, I take up a role, I study the plot and heart of the movie. Even though I am a dancer, I did not dance much in front of the camera because my career would have been short lived. So, I have always opted for something different, unique and mostly challenging.
As a woman what sort of difficulties did you face in the film industry?
I consider myself lucky in this regard. I have struggled and faced difficulties like most actors, for instance working in hot weather, working without breaks, etc. but never because of my gender. Since, I joined the industry quite young, I quickly adapted to its atmosphere which made things easier. I am also very grateful that everyone I worked with whether it were the directors, crew members or co-actors were very supportive and helpful.
Behind the fame and camera, who is the real Mithila Sharma?
In reality I am a very ordinary person. I have transformed myself along the changing times. But one thing that has remained with me is my willingness to face challenges. I consider myself to be a very courageous and determined individual.
Was your family supportive of your career?
I became successful in my professional sphere because of the support and help I got from my family and friends. The passion and enthusiasm for work within me started from my home environment. In my former years, my sister helped me immensely. Likewise, after marriage my husband supports me very much. For 42 years, I have also taught dance in schools like St Mary’s and when I had to go for film shootings my friends would often cover my dance classes.
A memory from your career that you cherish the most…
In my initial phase as a dancer, I was chosen as one of the Pancha Kanyas for the birthday celebration of his majesty Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev. I performed in front of him to a Gopal Yonjan song. That moment will forever remain in my memory.
Your relationship with dance
My relationship with dance is that of heart and heartbeat. Without dance I am incomplete; I have no identity. I am a vessel for dance. It flows in my veins.
Number of films you’ve worked on: I have done 120 films, 78 TV serials, 29 theatre plays and also written and directed 19 musicals
Your best hits: Aama, Kathaputali, Mukundo, Sukha Dukha, Didi, Munamadan, Afno Manche
Deepa Shree Nirula
Actor, Director & Producer
Deepa Shree Niraula is a versatile actor and perhaps one of the most well-known personalities of the Nepali film industry. Mostly seen in comic roles in films and TV serials, Deepa has brought immense laughter into the lives of her audience. Talking about her journey, Deepa says, “I started performing on stage since 1983 but I joined the film industry only in 1991. It has been 31 years since I started acting in films.” Deepa was initially a dancer and then graduated to acting. She has produced eight films and has been through phases of trials and triumphs to reach where she is. “There were lots of ups and downs but I believe I am in a happy place now,” she shares.
You are a dancer, actor, comedian, director and producer; which role best defines you?
I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in many areas. I have learnt a lot. All these fields are branches of art and are connected with each other. But honestly, I have always preferred being an actor.
How difficult was it to get into the film industry?
It wasn’t difficult for me to get into the film industry in comparison to others. Since I was a dancer, the people in the industry spotted me very early and then I was approached for acting in TV serial called Agnipath from my hometown, Biratnagar. However, I struggled to stay afloat in the industry. Since, I come from middle class background I often faced money problems. The struggles kept coming in but it couldn’t deter my determination towards carving a name in the film industry. I worked towards my dream and I achieved it.
What inspired you to become an actor?
It was my childhood dream. As a child, whenever someone asked me about what I wanted to become in the future, I’d always say heroine, without a second thought. I don’t know how but it was imbedded in me. Apart from that, I also learnt a lot from my gurujis who taught me dance, and was inspired by the art.
You have worked as a director. How was that experience?
Whenever I was on set, I was always curious about the technical aspects of filming. This curiosity led me to ask questions related to directing and editing with various professionals. I also took classes related to elements of filming and how to envision and capture a particular shot. Initially it was just an interest and I never thought I would direct films but I am glad I took the opportunity.
People in the limelight face harsher criticism? How do you deal with it?
I believe that criticism is necessary. It is important to have feedback, whether good or bad. It helps to accept constructive criticism and bring change. This way I have improved many of my shortcomings. On the other hand, when people criticise, I believe that my work has created some form of impact and that I have been able to reach among the masses. So, I take it in a positive way.
How did you feel when Chhakka Panja, a movie you directed became a blockbuster?
I had put a lot of hard work and dedication into the project. I wanted to give my best but didn’t have high expectations. We never know if a movie will do well or not. It all depends on the audience and the type of response you receive. Luckily, the audiences loved the movie and it became a blockbuster for which I am immensely grateful.
One change that you would like to see in the Nepali film industry.
I think that a lot of filmmakers are importing ideas from other film industries and are not focusing on the stories we have at home. Rather than running behind a certain trend, filmmakers must focus on authenticity and narrate stories that are our own. Besides, the movie theatres must prioritise Nepali films and provide them more screening time. That is how we will be able to flourish.
Any upcoming movie: Chhakka Panja 4
Number of films you’ve worked on: More than 20 films and 25 TV serials
Greatest Hits: Tito Satya, Chhakka Panja movie series, Pareli, Wada number 6
Actor & Politician
Rekha Thapa, an actor and now politician requires little introduction. Rekha ventured into the film industry at the age of 16 and has been a part of over a hundred movies so far. She was also among top ten finalists for Miss Nepal 1999. Kasle Choryo Mero Man, Kali and Malika are some of her biggest hits. After more than two decades of being part of the film industry, the actor is still working on movies and has a few releases pending.
Acting or politics, which one’s difficult, and if you had to pick one, what would you choose?
Acting is difficult compared to politics as it comes with several other criteria like good skills, hair and makeup and we have to win people’s hearts with our performance, whereas politics is a service and doesn’t really require any of these.
Aside of films and political persona, what does the everyday Rekha Thapa look like?
I am actually the same. I am able to work in these sectors because of who I am as a person. Even on the days I don’t have work, I am usually thinking about work itself.
Any memories from your first movie Hero?
I don’t really have any fond memories as such but I remember being over confident.
Anything that you feel got left out in your career?
Not in my career but I feel like I got left out of experiencing college life as I started doing movies right after SLC at the age of 16.
How difficult is it to break into the industry?
It is pretty difficult but talking about my experience, it wasn’t that difficult because I felt like the film industry and audiences adapted to my presence quite well.
People in the limelight face harsher criticism; how do you deal with it?
I don’t react to it.
What advice do you have for female artistes when they are at the peak of their career?
We have to understand that nothing in life is permanent. Just because one is at the peak of her career, doesn’t mean she will never have to face a downfall. We have to keep this in mind that no matter how successful we become. Else, it will be very difficult to face the reality and it can also take a toll on our mental health.
One thing you cherish about the young actors and one thing you think could have been better?
They are trying their best and doing great but that isn’t enough. More than focusing on makeup and fashion, they have to work on improving their performance as an actor to connect with the
Any upcoming movies… Can’t reveal the names but I have few movies coming up
Number of films you’ve worked on… More than a hundred
Your best hits… ‘Kasle Choryo Mero Man’, ‘Kali’, ‘Malika’ to name a few.