This post is solely dedicated to Jaari and my emerging thoughts around the film.
Getting off the lift on the fourth floor of BIG Cinemas to attend the Nepal premiere of JAARI was quite a moment. As the lift doors opened, attendees could see the spectacle displayed by the Chyabrung (traditional drum of the Limbu people) team! Men and women, moving and drumming the Chyabrung beats. A highlight that followed later was when actors Miruna Magar, Dayahang Rai and Bijay Baral joined the team and danced to the delight of many many camera persons and attendees (me too).
I won’t lie. I was pretty nervous about watching the film. JAARI has so many people’s expectations resting on the film, especially from the Limbu community. To have a film that focuses on Limbu people and culture, directed and written by someone from the community – does not come often. To have a story and feature where we are the default – does not happen always.
Impressive and entertaining film trailers have sometimes led to disappointing film experiences and in short, I can say that JAARI did not disappoint. Watching Jaari felt like a glimpse into the villages of Purba (East) Nepal that I have often visited. It sounded like the fupu’s, kaki, boju’s that I’ve met in Taplejung and Panchthar. The Palam and the stunning background music sounded like tracks from the CD’s that have often been distributed by passionate Limbu singers at gauley bhela’s held annually in the UK.
Often times, it’s so easy to overlook our culture and way of life. Maybe we’ve been forced to be someone else or assimilate into dominant communities or religion (within Nepal or outside). I am also on a journey to discover all the unique things that make our community what it is. Maybe the education piece was missing somewhere as those that could pass it on were busy working overseas or separated from families indefinitely. All these things burst into my mind as the film was screened to a packed Hall 3 of BIG Cinemas.
As the credits rolled approximately 2hr 20 mins later, I felt pleased knowing that JAARI will now be a new reference alongside Numafung (another stunning film focused on the Limbu people). There are many things that JAARI does beautifully and it would be a disservice if I go into detail. The actors and entire team of the film have done a spectacular job. It’s a visual treat that stirred a range of emotions… maybe it was the film, maybe it was also my own ruminating thoughts about being a Limbu person in Nepal as opposed to being a Nepali in the UK (this is a whole another topic for another post).
Alright I feel like I’ve written a lot without saying very much. Genius.
All I can say is a huge huge thank you to the makers, the people who funded this story/film and those that diligently worked from the start to now – and not to forget the many who will be working to take this film far and wide.