Loonibha: Consummate professional in her art forms
KATHMANDU, July 3: Loonibha Tuladhar has her hand smartly in many pies, from acting with big names in Nepali theatre, producing and hosting talk shows, radio dramas, teaching, and making documentaries.
However, she is happiest when she acts and it is testimony to her talents that she is still popular as “Pawankali.” The 28-year-old won the Encouragement Award in the Nepal International Indigenous Film Festival 2011 for her documentary “Buwegu Maanatnu: The Spinner of Flights.”
She is currently caught up in the post-production of her documentary “Tunes from the Soil” which is to be premiered on July 15 at the Nepal International Indigenous Film Festival 2012.
What are your earliest memories of acting?
I don’t remember exactly how young I was but I’ve been told that I would pretend as if the doorknobs were taps and would get in the act of washing clothes and bathing myself. I do remember that I seriously started acting in my school’s dramas from the time I was in class 6.
What can you tell us about your experiences of both theatre and television?
Acting is what makes me happy. I have trained in Gurukul and Actors’ Studio, I took classes in Contemporary American Theatre and I also went to Gujarat for a one-year course in Acting and Directing in Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. As theatre actors, we were groomed in such a way that we thought we shouldn’t be in front of the camera. We thought theatre was on a higher level, as we don’t get any retakes or chances.
Well, that was a misconception as I found out. In 2002, I started a serial called “Hostel” in Nepal Television. For my first shot, I did 29 retakes, and all I had to do in that shot was take off my helmet. Needless to say, I was very nervous and found it difficult. But gradually, it started being fun, and I continued with many characters and shows like “Pawankali,” “Pothi Baasyo,” “Ke Aja Gharmai” and “Platformma Pahuna.”
You already had knowledge and experience of acting before you went to acting schools. How was the transition?
For me, it was difficult when I started with acting classes. I got really conscious about simple things like how do I move my hand. The more you know, the more you get conscious. Well, that happened to me. I thought I was doing things wrong, and as my classes progressed, I thought I knew so less. I believe lessons are important for actors.
What led you to filmmaking?
The subjects of my films have to touch me emotionally. I end up choosing the story with my heart rather than my head. While acting is my priority, I always knew that once I achieve a certain level of maturity, I would be making films. I took a one week of closed-camp training in filmmaking from Indigenous Film Archive. My first film was “Samali, The Escort” which was screened in Nepal International Indigenous Film Festival in 2008.
After that, I was so caught up with my stage performances that it was only in 2011 that I made my second documentary. “Tunes from the Soil” is my third offering at Nepal International Indigenous Film Festival. I also have another film in the post-production stage. While I enjoy directing and writing the script, I am very lazy when it comes to researching my subjects and my characters.
Any plans to act in or make Nepali films?
I was supposed to be a part of the film called “Chadke” directed by Nigam Shrestha. I don’t usually wear kurta surwals but I even had many stitched as my character was required to wear it. However, I never received a call after that. I would like to direct good Nepali films but I want to be paid well for my efforts. Until then, I am happy with what I am doing.