Sambodhan (2015) – A Hotchpotch of Patriotism

sambodhan poster1

Akin to last year’s Talakjung vs. Tulke (Nischal Basnet), Sambodhan starts with the Nepali national anthem trying to force patriotism in audiences yet again. What follows this whimsical shot at patriotic chivalry is Hemraj BC’s tilted focus on the statue of the late-great King, P.N. Shah. A man smeared in vermillion underneath this pillar of sovereignty smashes cymbals together in front of the most powerful erection in Nepal’s political landscape. We enter the world of Sambodhan and there begins one of the most comical fests of recent times.

Inspector Ramji Gole, played by Dayahang Rai, is in the middle of one of the most sensational events to take place in Nepal: a series of murder with the murderer signing off these murders by stuffing coins into the mouths of the victims. Perplexed and paralyzed by his own ineptitude, Inspector Gole fields a man-in-a-mission look hiding his gross incompetence under a gritty mask.

Assisting him in the investigation of this bizarre murder mystery is his subordinate played by Binay Bhatta whose entry reminds viewers of a watered-down version of Akshay Kumar’s entry in those countless movies Kumar starred in the 90s playing an honest and macho Inspector. Only this time, the subordinate of Ramji Gole looks clueless in his demeanor—embodying a wooden look throughout the movie.

Inspector Gole is a veteran though with 20 years behind him, yet he’s still an Inspector, which would mean he’s not educated enough, or he’s so bad that the title of Inspector was awarded to him for mere loyalty than actual ability. The latter is obvious as the investigation procedure heats up. Inspector Gole arrests a local goon by the name of CK/Sikke (played by Suleman Shankar aka Ikku), after the phone log of the victims reveal phone calls from his number. Being the smart cop he is, Inspector Gole is convinced that CK/Sikke is the man behind the murders simply because his name carries the acronym CK/Sikke suggesting that the aural resemblance between CK/Sikke and Sikka (coin) is enough to reveal this local goon as the murderer.

Joining this order of excellence is Paru Shakya (Namrata Shrestha), a journalist. She compliments Inspector Gole in his incompetence displaying all the traits of a Page 3 journalist who’s terrible at her work, and so ethically downtrodden, that it’d make tabloids like The Sun and Daily Mail proud of her moral sensibility and professionalism.

To make matters worse, Shrestha, with her unconvincing diction, falls for the young hunk played by Bhatta. The same ace deputy of Inspector Gole who has nothing to do for most parts than serve as an on-screen prop. For the remaining duration, when he does decide to transform wood into furniture, his apparent intelligence works only to bestow a ludicrous air of stupidity to the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB). If he is the most promising officer at their disposal, God bless CIB. And, don’t just yet—for that’s just the beginning of this parody.

When this A-grade team uncloaks the murderer, this comical movie turns into a farcical parody of the Bollywood movie Indian starring Kamal Hassan. A man beaten up by society takes matters into his hand and decides to fight the system on his own, which is hardly unconvincing from an isolated standpoint, but Sambodhan then reveals its cover as a jarring sermon on patriotism and nationalism. As if this wasn’t enough, viewers are then put through the torture of the flashbacks from the People’s War era—something Nepali filmmakers try to abuse in most films resembling patriotism and Nepali politics.

With Sambodhan,  Hemraj B.C. puts together plots from Memories of Murder blending it with Indian, and packaging it as a Nepali entertainer—seemingly spelling the doom of this movie as a serious take on the issue of corruption. He tries to show so much in Sambodhan, it’s not only a mess, it’s downright insulting, lethargic, and a tight slap across the faces of intelligent cine-goers. With its lazy writing, generic characters, and a story well equipped to eject you out of the theaters, viewers would need some conviction to finish this movie from start to finish.

Sambodhan falls in those categories movies that don’t have a silver lining. It’s a clutter. It doesn’t show anything. It doesn’t tell you anything. It only preaches the spirit of patriotism from start to finish. Be prepared to twitch and shuffle in your seats because it’s nonsensical and humiliating. If you’re prepared to suffer agony amidst farce, Sambodhan is for you. If you desperately need to watch a movie, skip this and watch any movie that you can get your hands on.

We’re only just into 2015, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Sambodhan might carry the title of the worst movie of the year come December because surely, one would hope and pray, no other movie would be as debauched and pointless as the one you should avoid, Sambodhan.

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