Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Hira Singh Khatri|
|Written by||Durga Shrestha |
|Starring||Shiva Shankar |
Hari Prasad Rimal
Information Department of Government of Nepal
Aama (Nepali: आमा, English: Mother) is an 1964 Nepalese film that was directed by Hira Singh Khatri in his directorial debut, was written by Durga Shrestha and Chaitya Devi, and was produced by Mahendra of Nepal under the banner Information Department of Government of Nepal. The film stars Shiva Shankar and Bhubhan Chand in the lead roles, and Basundhara Bhushal, Hira Singh Khatri and Hari Prasad Rimal in supporting roles. The film's plot follows a young man who returns to Nepal from after serving in the country's army; it was released on 7 October 1964.
Mahendra of Nepal requested Hira Singh Khatri to direct Aama. Post-production and indoor filming were mainly done in Kolkata, India. After the film's release in Nepal, it quickly became popular in the country. After the success of Aame, Khatri directed the films Hijo Aaja Bholi (1967) and Parivartan (1971) for the Nepalese government, both of which were used to convey patriotism to Nepalese citizens. Aama was regarded by many as the most important film in history of Nepalese cinema. Aama was the first Nepalese film to be produced in Nepal.
Harka Bahadur is an alcoholic who physically abuses his wife. A few days later, his house is being repossessed due to non-payment of loan repayments, after which Harka Bahadur promises his wife he will give up drinking. Later that day, he returns to his house drunk and starts attacking his wife but dies after being struck by lightning. After his death, Harka's son Man (Shiva Shankar) leaves his house to join the army.
A few years later, Man returns home after serving in an foreign army for two years and he cannot find his mother. His neighbour tells Man his mother has died. After hearing of his mother's death, Man decides to leave Nepal but his neighbours persuade him to stay in the village and serve the community, saying that "service to the motherland is equally virtuous as service to a mother". Man says will remain in Nepal to help his country's growing economy.
Mahendra of Nepal requested prominent film director Hira Singh Khatri, who was mainly working in Indian cinema, to direct Aama, which was made to promote the panchayat political system in Nepal. In the early years of Nepalese cinema there was no professional infrastructure in the country to produce, distribute, and present Nepalese cinema. There were no professional actors so the director chose Nepalese singer-songwriter Shiva Shankar and theatrical performer Bhubhan Chand.Shiva Shankar was chosen play the lead actor in the film because the director's original choice for the role was home sick. The leading female actor Bhubhan Chand remembered being "very excited" about acting in the film; she said "That was one of the incidences of my life I can never forget". At the age of fourteen, Hari Prasad Rimal also made his acting debut in this film.
Filming on the project lasted between three and four months, and the post-production work took about six months to get a release date. Most of the scenes were filmed in a single take. Bhubhan Chand was paid about 5,000 rupees ($45.01 as of April 2019). Chand told Kathmandu Craze, "the director of the film had asked for camera man’s opinion and he responded in my favour. So it was cameramen Dev and of course the director who were responsible for me receiving the part."
The film premiered on 7 October 1964, in the Kathmandu Valley. At the debut screening, Mahendra of Nepal admired the film and praised the actors. After its release, many people started recognising the leading actors.
BossNepal wrote, "The title of the movie did justice to it ... Aama (mother) gives us a glimpse of what to expect and meets people’s expectations as well. It goes perfectly with the theme of the movie". The reviewer also said, "Aama deserves a watch". Philip Cryan Marshall of Migyul wrote, "Aama was clearly a nation-building tool", and "The image of the mother, a universal symbol of national unity, was used to forward themes of nationalization. Characters ... were dressed in distinct garbs of the nation – men in daura suruwal and dhaka topi and women draped in saree and cholo fariya".
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