Born and brought up in Kathmandu, Brazesh Khanal wears many hats. As well-versed in penning newspaper columns as he is in acting or directing movies, Brazesh, as he likes to be called, has also written two novels: ‘Yayawar’ and ‘Juneli’. All his works have been noted for their nuance. Biplob Prasai of APEX caught up with him recently.
Why do you refrain from using your family name?
I decided to avoid using my surname around 10-12 years ago. I think surnames and castes only divide people, so I just want to be known as Brazesh. I personally try not to use my surname in any medium I work with but people still tend to use it for me, which I can do nothing about.
What inspired you to take up writing initially?
My father was a renowned journalist and we had our own printing press and a weekly newspaper. I grew up being surrounded by pen and paper, so writing was the most natural thing to do. This in turn encouraged me to take up a career in literature later in my life.
When and how did writing, as a career, start for you?
My first article was published in “Gorkhapatra” when I was in the 8th grade. I don’t remember what it was about but at that time, getting published in the only national daily of Nepal was a huge deal for me. It inspired me to write more. With this new-found confidence, I started contributing to my father’s newspaper. It slowly became my habit and later it turned into an addiction.
From a writer to an actor and then a script writer, how did the transition happen?
Growing up, I was involved in almost everything from writing to playing sports to participating in dramas at school functions. My involvement with theater at an early age nurtured my love for acting. After completing class 10, I got to play a part in the serial ‘Panchatantra’ which my father was directing for Nepal Television in the early years of the channel.
Then I began writing scripts for TV serials, after which I got offers from the film industry. It was also a period I took a break from literary writing. Acting is quite different to writing but both are related to creativity and I have always been interested in anything that stimulates creativity in me. Maybe that’s the reason I have ended up doing so many things.
What made you switch back to writing after being with the film industry for so many years?
I got so involved and busy with films that I never actually had a thought about writing for quite some time. But one fine morning I realized it wasn’t the only thing I wanted to do. Financially, I was satisfied with what I was earning, but I am someone who doesn’t get greedy once his basic needs are met. When a person realizes he does not need to be confined by money, he is free to do a lot. So I got back to writing literature because it was where my heart belonged. I started writing articles and during that period I decided to write a novel. Everybody has a story to tell and I also had many. I wanted to put my stories before a larger audience. Thus I started on my first novel.
Hope it doesn’t mean you have given up acting completely.
No, not really. I do get approached for acting jobs occasionally. If I find something that excites and challenges me, I will for sure take up the project. Currently, there’s talks about adapting ‘Shirish ko Phool’ for a theatrical production at Shilpi theater. If things go as planned, I will soon step back into my acting shoes.
So what are you currently involved in?
I’m writing a weekly humor column for an online news portal, which is going very well and people are enjoying it. At the same time, I am writing a memoir on my three-decade-long experience in Nepali cinema. It will come out in a couple of months.