The Kabaddi movie franchise has solidified its name among the most successful films in Nepali cinema. The grounded storytelling in the Kabaddi films is a major reason for its success. It’s set in a small village in Mustang and populated with flawed, realistic characters.
Most importantly, though, the love stories in these films are quite true-to-life as well. Dayahang Rai’s leading character, Kaji, often forces his love upon his love interests. There are no magical moments, no flying shawls, no tender gazes. Most of the interactions between Kaji and his love interests are either arguments or teasings.
Sitting as a contrast with this entire tone setting, the second Kabaddi film features one of the most memorable romantic monologues of Nepali cinema. We are of course talking about the scene in which BK recites the love letter he writes on behalf of Kaji.
It is perhaps BECAUSE of this contrast with the rest of the movie that this scene stands out so well. This scene is the very first one in the second movie, Kabaddi Kabaddi.
The second film continues Kaji’s attempts at winning the love of Maiya. Although the whole romance goes sour by the end of the film, Kaji has recently rescued Maiya from a villain in the first film. This scene sketches out the renewed hope Kaji has at winning Maiya’s love.
But the scene doesn’t belong to Kaji. Rather, it belongs heart and soul to his sweet-lipped sidekick, BK. Kaji is always seen ordering around his two friends to fulfill his romantic plans. His two friends gladly acquiesce.The love letter in this scene is also prepared with special care by the literary-minded BK. The words in the letter don’t break the film’s tonality by suddenly subscribing to high literary language. Just like the character himself, the words are simple but deep-rending.
But as with all things artistic, it takes a special talent to bring life to simple, beautiful things. And it is this talent of actor Bijay Baral that makes this monologue so special. Starting with the salutation of, “Pyaari Maiya,” Baral inserts a seamless tenderness into his recital. This romantic tenderness carries on in every word and line, inserting the unique magic that makes this scene stand out so well.
There is a great deal of authenticity in BK’s recital. The scene takes you out of the everyday setting of the movie. At the same time, it stays grounded in that reality. This performance is of the kind that you can see taking place in real life without it feeling out of place.
This scene is also one where the filmmakers showcase their brilliance to the fullest. It is the basic elements done to perfection that elevates this monologue to its fullest heights. The original background track in its stripped-down form is warm, gentle, and hopeful. As BK reads through the letter, the camera slowly zooms into his face, bringing us closer and closer to his recital.
Meanwhile, BK’s character is squatting in front of Kaji, who is seated cross-legged on a worn-out rug. In the background of this ordinary surrounding is a magnificent river. This is just the nature of the Kabaddi films. And this monologue encapsulates the best of it.
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