Selfie King – The Nepali Joker?
There are few nepali movies that people eagerly anticipate to watch. One of those movies was the recently released Selfie King. When the first look of the picture was released, it had created a lot of buzz in social media for it’s reassembles to Joaquin Phoenix’s recent venture, Joker. And it wouldn’t have been the first time a nepali movie was heavily influenced by cinema of another language. But Selfie King wasn’t.
Selfie King basically is a story about a successful comedian who isn’t able to cope with his fame and alcoholism. Plot of this movie is great and to be honest a much needed one too in today’s society. And if any Nepali actor who could’ve done justice to the lead character of this movie that’s definitely Bipin Karki. But the problem is, even he couldn’t save the poorly scripted movie.
Selfie King has tried to show the unknown side of celebrities which usually their fans are unaware about. This story is about a comedian who struggles balancing his personal and professional life. It shows the vulnerability of a comedian whose real life is far apart from what is presented on television. Selfie King, lead of the movie who is well known for his comic skills on television is in fact lonely and void in his real life. He neither succeeds to match the expectation of his family nor is able to enjoy his celebrity fame. He gets trapped between his personal and professional life which leads him towards alcoholism and infidelity.
Gopal Dahal aka Selfie King in the movie is a repressed person with severe insecurity complex. Although his fans love him and just as his screen name suggests everyone wants to grab a selfie with him, he masks himself to avoid any unwanted attention. Wherever he goes, be it a local “bhatti” or a hospital where his father is admitted, his fans don’t let him experience his privacy which slowly starts to bother him. On one hand, he is in a clowns get up while in between his family and on the other hand seen hiding his celebrity face among people. This clearly shows that he hasn’t been able to live the life he wants.
As the story unfolds we see him visiting Salleri for a show while his father is on deathbed. His always nagging wife wants him to stay at hospital but because of poor financial condition he is forced to leave for the carnival. There, when he gets drunk, he has a fight with his colleagues and organizers as he finds out he has been deprived of an air ticket unlike other artists. He vents out his repressed emotions. This was the moment when the movie could have hit it’s high but most of the dialogues in this scene by Bipin Karki can’t be understood.
Just before his performance at the stage he finds out that his father has passed away. He emotionally breaks down and cries at the stage but his audiences laugh at him thinking it as a part of his act. The louder he expresses his vulnerability, the harder his fans laugh. This scene nakeds our perception that the life of a celebrity is always perfect without any flaws.
When you decide to tell a story of a complex and psychologically unstable character, one thing that shouldn’t go wrong is the screenplay. If your script doesn’t have the power to keep audiences horizontally connected with the character, the movie goes flat. The same thing happens with Selfie King. We surely will sympathize with Selfie King but will hardly empathize with him. Apart from the feeble script, other aspects like acting performances by most of the artists, production and background score are satisfactory. One thing that clearly stands out brilliantly in the movie is the use of drone shots. Unlike other Nepali movies where the drone shots doesn’t make sense, here cinematographer Susan Prajapati and director Bishal Sapkota have used drones exactly where and how the story has demanded.
Selfie King is a tragedy of a comedian. Its strength is its story. It is a much needed one to be told in today’s society where celebrities are not understood properly by the society. It is worth watching once a movie for the balantness it shows. However, it could have been a cult one if only presented and executed properly. Although the story has a lot of holes in it, writer and director Bishal Sapkota must be praised for the subject he chose. Let’s hope his next untitled venture, a remake of Telugu movie Arjun Reddy, which already has created a lot of noise even before it has started its production will be presented with a new flavor and win the accolades of the audience.