Rudrapriya’s “Okja” Experience

The next Thursday will witness Aaryan Sigdel and Rekha Thapa sharing screen after seven years.

The much anticipated Nepali film, Rudrapriya, is all set to hit the theaters next Thursday (October 19th). Directed by Sudeep Bobbie Bhupal Singh, the film is bringing the much loved on-screen couple of Aaryan Sigdel and Rekha Thapa together after the long gap of seven years. The two stars reportedly had a rift after their last film together, Kasle Choryo Mero Mann, and weren’t even on speaking terms.

Sigdel had debuted opposite Thapa in 2007 with ‘Kismat’. Cut to now, the two are expecting to give yet another hit together.

Earlier this week, it was announced during an event in Kathmandu that the film will also be shown on Dish Home, Nepal’s only DTH service provider, on the very day of film’s general release in cinemas. The decision, however, has sparked controversy, and it has only grown since then.

During a press meet held by Nepal Chalchitra Sangh (Nepal Motion Picture Association) on Monday, it was announced that the films are not allowed to have their theater and television release on the same day; otherwise the film will be boycotted by cinema halls. According to Chairman Pradeep Kumar Udaya, a film will have to wait for at least three weeks after its theatrical release in order to be shown on television.

However, the decision has not been well-received by Dish Home and the makers of ‘Rudrapriya’. Executive producer Ramesh MK Poudel took to his Facebook handle and wrote, “This is the total Syndicate and dominating to the Producers. This is also against the common people Rights of getting information and entertainment from various sources.” [sic]

Rekha Thapa, too, has spoken against the decision. “It is our property and we can even screen it in Tudikhel”, Thapa said in an interview. She also added that she would agree and not release the film on Dish Home if the cinema halls can guarantee that the film’s investment will be safe, as Dish Home has helped the film to be on the safe side to some extent.

This is pretty much like the same scenario that ‘Okja’ experienced in June this year. The original Netflix film by top South Korean director, Bon Joon-ho, was expected to become one of the biggest hits of the year in South Korea upon its theatrical release. However, the film’s release didn’t go as smoothly as the makers had wished as the film was boycotted by the majority of the theaters there due to conflicts over distribution laws.

[Okja; starring Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Ahn Seo-hun , Steve Yeun and Jake Gyllenhaal; had its world premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival on May 18.]

In South Korea, films typically must wait three weeks after their theatrical releases before they appear on streaming services. However, Neflix planned a simultaneous theatrical and streaming release for Okja. As a result, Lotte Cinema, Megabox and CJ CGV – country’s three highest grossing cinema chains controlling some 93% of South Korean theaters – canceled screenings of the film in response.

The film, however, had succeeded in doing well at the box office. Even though it opened on less than 100 screens (out of 2,575 screens total in South Korea as of 2016, according to the Korean Film Council), Okja had debuted at No. 4 in South Korean cinemas.

Both ‘Rudrapriya’ and ‘Okja’ seem to have had a similar experience regarding the distribution rights. We can only wait to find out what the Aaryan Sigdel-Rekha Thapa starrer goes through ahead.

Watch the trailer here.


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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