Directed by: Yadav Kumar Bhattarai
Produced by: Malati Shah, Ram Gopal Thapa, Raj Timalsina & Shusil Shah
Written by: Krishna Dharabasi
Based on Jhola” by Krishna Dharabasi
Starring: Garima Panta, Desh Bhakta Khanal, Sujal Nepal, Laxmi Giri & Deepak Chhetri
Cinematography: Deepak Bajracharya
The film Jhola begins when an old man called Ghanashyam (Sujal Nepal) leaves his bag for a night at the writer’s home. Suspicious, the writer checks the contents of the bag only to find an old manuscript which contains 11 short stories. As Dharabasi starts reading, he is transported to Nepal of the 18th century. We are introduced to a young Ghanashyam who lives with his mother Kanchhi (Garima Panta) and his ailing father (Deepak Chhetri). After her husband passes away, Kanchhi’s life becomes a nightmare. Expected to sacrifice herself on the funeral pyre, Kanchhi enters almost a daze like state and goes from being a strong-willed, loving mother to a helpless widow. As she prepares herself for the ceremony and Ghanashyam comes to terms with being orphaned, the anguish of both mother and son becomes palpable on screen. While expertly depicting the pain of the protagonists, director Yadav Kumar Bhattarai also explores the tender relationship between a mother and a son. Perhaps the best two lines in the movie are delivered by the sister-in-law who sums up the audiences’ thoughts when she says: “Why is it that only a woman has to sacrifice her life when a man dies, why can’t he do the same … And why is it acceptable for a man to marry for the second time” Although the Sati system was abolished decades ago, Jhola is still relevant to today’s Nepal where, unfortunately, cases of sexual harassment, violence against women, trafficking remain all too common.