By Rahul Raut, Kathmandu
17 December 2016
Chhakka Panja made history today by completing 100 days in theatres, a feat no Nepali films had achieved in recent times.
The comedy drama starring Deepak Raj Giri, Priyanka Karki, Kedar Ghimire, Jitu Nepal, Buddhi Tamang, Shivahari Poudel, Barsha Raut and Namrata Sapkota has brought the highest number of footfalls ever in the history of Nepali film. The film has collected nearly Rs 160 million (Rs 15.63 crore) gross in Nepal and over Rs 200 million gross worldwide. It is showing in six halls in Kathmandu (City Centre Big Movies, Guna Cinema, Gopi Krishna Multiplex, Ganga Hall, Siddharth Hall and Pushpanjali Hall) and 13 theatres outside the Kathmandu valley in its 15th weekend and still registering a good occupancy.
The movie, which released on the 9th of September, had opened averagely accumulating only Rs 33.48 lakh (3.3 million rupees) at the box office. But positive reviews and audience’s glowing word of mouth doubled its craze and box office performance. Almost every theatre showing the movie was running housefull; people queued for hours and many returned after failing to get tickets for the show.
Craze for the movie does not seem to be stopping anytime soon. Chhakka Panja’s success at the box office can be gauged from the fact that some were adding its shows replacing Bollywood new releases. By the 40th day, Chhakka Panja became the highest grosser ever, breaking the records of Kohinoor’s box office total of Rs 110 million (11 crore gross).
“The secret of our success is our team-work, our unity. Cinema is not just an art and experiment, it’s also a medium of entertainment. Our filmmaking style and way of showing today’s society’s harsh reality, I think, is also a reason we have succeeded,” says producer and actor Deepak Raj Giri.
Chhakka Panja’s success is not limited to Nepal only, it has exceeded all expectations in foreign countries as well. After its record-breaking success at domestic box office, its unit began receiving demands for release abroad, says Deepak Raj Giri. The film has so far been released in the US, UK, UAE and Australia and not surprisingly, it has performed fantastic in those countries. It is soon releasing in Bahrain and Europe. “International release was more imposing and victorious. Not only in America and Australia, we got unprecedented success in new markets like Dubai too,” said Mr Giri.
What the success of ‘Chhakka Panja’ teaches us?
Chhakka Panja’s historical success has broken the notion that Nepali people watch only Hindi films. Its huge success has depicted the potential market for Nepali films internationally. It has also proven that if we make good and engaging content-driven films and market it smartly then Nepalis would not hesitate to spend their pocket money on the local films.
At a time when almost 90 percent films fail even to recover its investment, Chhakka Panja’s success can be an matter of great motivation for filmmakers struggling to deliver their very first hit. “Filmmakers spend a huge amount in big stars and unnecessary racket and glamour but they don’t work much on script and come with poor screenplay. We move for the shooting without preparation. This is why most films fail,” says Deepak. “Leaving behind the habit of swearing and cursing other’s movies, we need to engage in creativity. We should understand that we need to work hard on our story and dialogues rather than densely babbling out.”
Chhakka Panja’s success also showcases the ability of female directors in Nepal. Deepa Shree Niraula’s first film becoming such a major hit opens up yet another career for Nepali women.