‘Acharya’ is not just a movie that covers the glorious musical career of one of the most acclaimed veteran singers, composers and songwriters of Nepal.  It is a tribute to a singer who recorded more than 450 songs in 16 years and a compelling personal story of a passionate music lover who defied all odds to achieve a dream that ended tragically, in such a short period of time. Produced under the banner of Silk Route Pictures, ‘Acharya’ is a biopic based on the life and struggles of Bhajan Siromadi Bhakta Raj Acharya.

The Biopic has succeeded to set a definitive landmark in the scenario of Nepali movies that has seen some varied examples and a few different dimensions of movie making lately. Directed by Prashant Rasaily, assistant director of the Hindi movie ‘Kites’ and screenwriter of ‘Kagbeni’,’Acharya’ has received considerable acclaim and was screened at the 13th Mumbai Film Festival. The movie stars Satya Raj Acharya (son of the acclaimed musician) who plays the role of his father.

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The biopic begins with a journalist (Sunil pokhrel) interviewing Bhakta Raj Acharya after he is admitted to hospital following cancer of the tongue. Bhakta Raj Acharya then unfolds his story to the journalist in front of his wife and two sons. It is from then on that the biopic fulfills its purpose of allowing one to find out a lot about a man whose life certainly gave people reason to reflect on the meaning of life.

Bhakta Raj Acharya’s musical journey began with him singing old Hindi songs and gazals under the guidance of an Indian performer in the small tea estate of Dooars, India after his family migrated from Dhankuta, Nepal. Following his father’s death, financial struggles and determined to sing for Radio Nepal, Acharya set off on a journey to Kathmandu and thus, was on his way to seeing his dreams come true.  Acharya went on to win the Rastriya Geet Sammelan in 1973.

Sadly, life had only started giving him what he truly deserved when an unfortunate incident involving some drunks (led by Saugat Malla in the movie) and a beating changed his life This was in fact only a catalyst for an even more tragic event – the amputation of Acharya’s most prized possession (his tongue). The turning point is poignant emotionally and adds a compelling despondency to the whole film.

Throughout the film one has the sense that it was in fact destiny that cut short a brilliant musical career and also stopped some fine music from being composed there after. This further causes one to contemplate whether it may have been fate that decreed such a heart- rending tale and that too, one that prompts the viewer to question whether Acharya was one of the luckiest or the most unfortunate humans born to this world.  It may be the distinctive irony of the story that causes one to really ponder the very question of man’s existence and karma giving the movie noteworthy leverage.

As for the actual construction of the film, the music is without doubt excellent, but fails to adapt to the plot in some scenes. Some lengthy establishing shots could have been shortened, and some other additional instances in the life of the protagonist instead, would have added significance. Also, in my opinion the intense post-amputation scene would have had a more profound impact on the audience if it had been shot for longer and wasn’t censored.  Furthermore, the authenticity of some scenes is questionable. But that said, it is just like those small dots on the moon that you see on a clear night and don’t know much about ‘If you want to know more about Bhakta Raj Acharya’s life, the film will clarify certain aspects yet leave you room to question.

As for the acting, Satya Raj Acharya is the highlight of the film. Although he may not be an acclaimed actor in Kollywood, he has proved himself truly worthy and has very much justified the character of his father. There are also cameo appearances by Legendary Gazal Maestro Ghulam Ali and a special appearance by the protagonist himself Bhakta Raj Acharya. To me, it is one of the best tributes a son can give to a father and a musician to his guru and inspiration. Overall, it was definitely worth the watch.

Moksh: Salvation through food, drinks and music

Moksh doesnt need any introduction. It is a brand name in itself. Established in the October of 2002, it has come a long way. Nine years since it first opened for service, the place has bettered itself with each passing year. For those who have been at this eatery know why it is one of the most happening place in town. It is indeed the perfect combination of food, drinks and music. It has become the destination for many, to spend quality time with friends.

Although, located in the premises of Gyanmandir in Jhamsikhel, Moksh actually introduces the area instead. The restaurant has a beautiful, serene garden with huge Kabanas and campfire which works equally well for either a sunny afternoon or a cold evening. During the day, the huge garden is perfect to have a cup of coffee and read a book, or even better use the internet because the restaurant has free Wi-Fi. In the evening, the place is perfect to gather around one of the campfires with some pals and enjoy barbecue.

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Moksh has a spacious indoors as well, which includes a bar and a party room. The bar gives a beautiful view of the west which is undeniably the best place to be during a sunset. One can sip a cool drink while watching the sun go down. The party room is where all of the live band performances happen. Moksh entertains guests with live bands twice a week i.e. Tuesday and Friday. The space is also available for celebrations or private parties, for which reservation is required. Moksh also has a hallroom where most of the corporate parties are held. The fantastic area of the restaurant is one side of the successful story, the other part is obviously the food. Along with the musical ambience of the place, the food served here is excellent.
Moksh serves a variety of cuisines including Nepali, Chinese, Continental and more. The menu is a little bit of everything. For the review we had Moksh’s special Salami firewood pizza and one of the new addition to the menu, Roasted Chicken Chilly which is also available in pork. The Salami firewood pizza was unbelievably good. The dough is a thin, crispy crust which is difficult to find in any other restaurants or pizza joints in town. It has Moksh’s secret sauce which compliments the dough perfectly. The sauce has a sour taste which is different and appealing. I couldnt stop eating the big, thin slices and when it was finished, I was left craving for more.

The Roasted Chicken Chilly is like any other chicken chilly, only that the chicken itself is roasted rather than the usual fried. The presentation was good, well garnished. The sauce was fine; nothing out of the box though. The chicken was roasted the usual tandoori style. It was well season. The meat was soft and juicy on the inside but crisp on the outside.  Overall, the entire experience was amazing and affordable. The small pizza  is Rs.250; the large being Rs. 450, and the Roasted Chicken Chilly is priced at Rs. 350. They accept all kinds of credit and debit cards as well, which is a relief. Another factor of great relief is the huge parking space available at the eatery. Hence, there isnt much to worry about when it comes to partying at Moksh and having a good time. Actually, giving it a second thought; being at Moksh means having a great time.