I have been a fan of Hercules Basnet’s music for almost a decade now. Ever since his two songs — ‘Ke Yo Maya Ho’ and ‘Chahanchu’ — that were part of Anmol KC’s second film ‘Jerrryy’ in 2014, blew up; he has been constantly giving some of the most beautiful OSTs for Nepali films. If you have been fan of Bollywood music and were old enough in the early 2000s, you might remember the singer-actor duo of Himesh Reshammiya and Emran Hashmi as they delivered so many of the biggest hits during those years. Hercules and Anmol were that kind of duo for some years in the mid 2010s.
After ‘Jerryy’, Hercules gave number of other hits including ‘Ma Ke Bhanu’ from ‘Dreams’ and a soundtrack called ‘Timi Aayeu’ from ‘Gajalu’ for Anmol. ‘Udayo Hawale’ and ‘Maya Sansaar’ are some of his other popular movie songs while he has also released a couple of singles.
So yeah, he really is a talented singer-composer and I have interviewed and covered him multiple times in last ten years — for my blog and also for PartyNepal Magazine. And no wonder, it came as a shock to me when I read on multiple news portals that he has “gone missing” in the States mid-tour. Just for the record, when a Nepali artist or athlete goes “missing” or “disappears” in the west (or simply, in a first world country) when they have gone there to perform or shoot, it doesn’t mean that something bad has happened to them, it means that they are in hiding and are in no mood to return to Nepal, at least for a while. It has happened a lot of times in the past when our players, artists or film crew members have gone “out of contact” and instead of returning home on scheduled date, they’ve stayed back to work.
Did Hercules too do it? That can’t be true, right? I mean, just some time back when I had talked to him, he seemed satisfied with the kind of money he makes doing music, so was it really necessary? And the question remains, did he really choose that way?
I finally felt relieved to see his Facebook post on Monday night (November 6th) where he announced that he has returned home. But that still meant that something went wrong in America where he had reached on October 19th and was supposed to tour across a dozen cities until November end. He was part of three shows in Dallas, Akron and Boston; and then left the tour.
So what happened? Earlier today, on Tuesday, the singer appeared on Biswa Limbu’s podcast where he kinda tried to tell his side of the story. While not revealing the name of the person, he told the host that he was managed/treated in an extremely bad and unprofessional way by particularly one member of the tour organizing company called Live at Present. He didn’t really go deep into the details but used two key words multiple times throughout the interview — “self respect” and “mental health”.
He said the reason behind quitting mid-tour was because he chose self respect and his mental wellness above everything else. According to him, this person in question was respectful and polite before the tour began but once he landed in the US, things started to go south. After three shows, he couldn’t handle it anymore and just left after leaving a message in the group chat of the people involved in that tour informing about his exit. He then went to his sister’s place in Virginia where he stayed for a few days before returning home.
This hasn’t really been a good week for Nepali live music scene. Apart from this one, there’s that infamous Sugam Pokharel incident in Adelaide; and also there were some issues during the LACM Carnival in Lalitpur where some of the headliners including Monkey Temple, Pahenlo Batti Muni and Pariwartan couldn’t even perform “due to lack of management and certain band’s unprofessionalism getting on stage and throwing tantrums for more than their allocated time”.
Anyway, back to Hercules Basnet; he did apologize to the other members of the organizing team and his fans for quitting, and wishes that the remaining shows from the tour, now solely headlined by Asmita Adhikari, are successful.
You can watch the full podcast right here.
Don’t worry, champ. I am sure you’re gonna bounce back from this. Looking forward to your new music soon!