In Conversation With: Prakriti Shrestha

Prakriti Shrestha was one of the most promising new faces in Nepali cinema in the mid 2010s. Having debuted alongside Anmol KC in the 2013 hit ‘Hostel’, the model turned actress was doing equally well in the music video scene at the time. No wonder she was seen as the next big thing; but it came a big surprise to industry people and fans when she got married and moved to Australia in 2014.

Prakriti who had even bagged a couple of awards for her role in Hostel, was later seen in ‘Utsav’ in 2014 and two 2015 releases, ‘Zindagi Rocks’ and ‘Aavash’.

After eight years, Prakriti is finally making a silver screen comeback as she will be seen opposite Dayahang Rai in ‘Bihe Pass’, which is set to release this Friday on the occasion of Nepali new year on April 14. Directed by Prabesh Poudel, the film also stars Shishir Wandel, Buddhi Tamang and Rabindra Jha, among others.

However, it’s not going to be easy for the film as it clashes with two other Nepali films, set to release on the same day — one of them being another Dayahang Rai film ‘Jaari’.

Prakriti, who arrived in Nepal this week, is currently busy promoting the film. I had a chance to catch up with her earlier this week over an online chat right before she left for Nepal, as we talked about her new film, her life in Australia, her YouTube vlogging, among other things. Excerpts:

Hi, Prakriti. How is everything?

Hey, Neeraj. Been a very long time. Everything is going great. Thanks. Hope you are doing great too. 

I am doing pretty good as well. So the big day is almost here as ‘Bihe Pass’ is getting released this Friday. How’s the feeling?

Honestly, I am feeling more nervous than in my first movie ‘Hostel’ as I was too young to realise how big a thing it was then. But ‘Bihe Pass’ is the only movie where I have given beyond 100% even on a personal level. From the moment I decided to be on board, it was not an easy journey for me. Despite some unfavourable circumstances, I gave my heart and soul to this movie, so obviously I am hoping for the best.

It’s clashing with three other movies; one of them being Dayahang Rai’s another film. How do you see the clash and how do you expect the releases to affect each other?

I had taken it as a high competition in the beginning. Because I watched other three movies’ trailers and they are great. But after the trailers, I realised that our movie’s genre is completely different than other two. So I would say it won’t affect each other as each movie is targeting different groups of audiences. Our movie targets those audiences who love to watch Rom-Com movie with their family, friends and want to have a good laugh this new year. 

What kind of reception you have been getting after the trailer was dropped?

After the trailer, most of my well wishers were surprised to see me in a different character. They had been seeing me in a college girl character, falling in love, giving cute expressions. But here, I am playing a role of a married woman who is immensely ambitious and completely different than my previous roles. Many of my friends even didn’t recognise my voice which is quite funny. Overall, I m getting good responses and I hope it continues after the release as well.

And most importantly, what was Sudeep’s reaction like?

He usually doesn’t express his emotions. But he has always been proud of my work. He has witnessed all the tough times I went through during this journey and supported me through thick and thin. I would have not been motivated to perform better without his support. He hasn’t said anything particularly about this movie but I can feel he is equally excited as I am.

Does he like seeing you on screen? And is he one of your most honest critics?

Of course, he does. He has been my biggest supporter and the most honest critic throughout my career. He knows how much I enjoy acting. Once he said to me, “your work should be your meditation”, and I truly feel that when I am acting. He says he finds a different spark in my eyes when I talk about it.

Dayahang Rai, one of the top-most actors in Nepal currently; how was the experience of working with him for the first time?

Well, it is not the first time actually. We had worked in a TV series back in 2010.  But we were not seen together. And It was a lovely experience with him in ‘Bihe Pass’. He is kind and has a good vibe.

What kind of person is he on the sets? Is he very serious while he is working, or does he like to have fun?

He always brought a positive vibe on the set. Yes, he is very serious while practicing his scenes and dialogues but then, he was someone who used to make people laugh with his sense of humour. He even played some pranks on our colleagues.

It’s been eight years since you were last seen on the silver screen, what kind of memories and emotions did working on this film bring back?

I was thrilled when I signed up for this project. The first day of the shooting is still vivid in my mind. I was too anxious when I wore that uniform, a saree, and prepared for my first scene. I almost cried because I was shooting after almost 7 years and I missed being on a set. I never felt so proud and thankful before. Because when I did my last movie ‘Aavash’, I was too young to experience how it feels like to play a character because most of the characters I played were similar to me. This character ‘Ranjita’ is different. I heartily prepared myself  and took my work very seriously. I did a lot of research, asked my friend Bikash Neupane to help me building up this character. And he really helped me to bring the better version of myself. I didn’t take any moment for granted and I believe I made the best out of all the opportunities I got.

Did it take time to get comfortable on the sets?

It took me a couple of days to convince myself that it’s not happening for the first time. I was scared, what if my experience brings nothing to the table. But then I started spending more time on the set, interacting with the team, learning through every process, and then I slowly regained my confidence.  

Having made a big debut; and being one of the biggest music video models at the time, you were a star already. But it surprised many when you got married and moved to Australia; kind of leaving the entertainment field behind. Do you ever wonder about “what could have been” or you are happy with just the way things are?

Well, who would not wonder about “what could have been” when you received immense love and support from your fans. But when you come home, you are you; so being myself, I wondered what’s next? This question was hitting me hard. I never worked for the limelight, that’s why taking a break has never been so hard for me. I work because I enjoy it. But back then, I had my responsibilities towards my family and I was also looking for an ordinary and a stable life. In that period of time, it was a big challenge to maintain ourselves as a celebrity because we were not paid well enough even after giving many hit videos. I still hear people saying, “You were doing so well in your career. Why did you get married so early?“. I didn’t get and still don’t get the meaning of doing so well in my career. To be honest, I was struggling. I didn’t have any god father or anyone to guide me. So, keeping myself little away from all this was necessary. But I didn’t marry because I wanted that gap. My marriage was never a surprise for me and my family at-least because we knew it would happen anytime soon. Sudeep and I were sure about each other from Day 1 of our relationship so when he came back, we all were looking forward to that day. It was all planned. Yes, I accept that I didn’t share this news in advance. But I am happy about all the choices I made.  

Had you been following Nepali cinema even while you were away? A film that you liked lately?

I am not up to date with everything but I try. After COVID, I watched Fulbaari. It was a nice movie.

Who are some of your favorite actors these days?

Surakshya Pant, Saugat Malla and Bipin Karki

What next? Any discussions going on for any new project?

I haven’t signed any movie yet but yes, some music videos are lined up.

Why is the vlogging on hold? You haven’t put out new videos lately.

It’s because I do my own editing and it does take time. I am sorry for being little more occupied with my personal life. But I am hoping to make at least one vlog during my stay in Nepal. 

What are some of the things that you miss about Nepal?

My family and the places that bring my childhood memories.

How is life in Australia? Does it feel like home?

I won’t lie by saying it was great from the start. Being away from family is always hard. On top of it, I have always been a family oriented person. But as time passes by, I find more opportunities here & I really like how everything is in system. It finally feels like home now with my own small family.

At last, why should people go and watch ‘Bihe Pass’?

‘Bihe Pass’ is a family movie which is filled with romance, comedy, family drama and entertainment. I will not say, it’s a unique film or carries a different story. But yes, you will see me and Dayahang dai in different characters from the roles we have played till now. If you want something to refresh your mind, then Bihe Pass will be a great choice. You will definitely enjoy this movie till its end and will share some laughs with your family and friends this new year. 

Thank you very much for your time. I wish you all the best and I look forward to talk to you about your new future projects soon.

Actually, I want to say thanks to you for always supporting my work from day 1 of my career. I heartily appreciate it. And I will always be looking forward to have more conversation like this with you. Take care. 

Aaaaaand, that was our favorite, Prakriti Shrestha. Go watch her movie when it hits the theater near you this Friday ‘cos you know it’s gon be good!

Cover Photo: weddingcanvasnepal


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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