Sampada Malla is an established name in Nepali media and entertainment industry. She is the creator of “Drishyansha” nationwide mobile filmmaking competition, as well as a journalist, writer, filmmaker and a board member of Sarwanam Theater. She is as well known in India as she is in Nepal. Most notably, she wrote the screenplay for the popular Hindi tv serial ‘Ishq Ka Rang Safed’ that was broadcast in Colors TV. Malla was recently honored by Navaratna Award, given by the International Nepali Literary Society (INLS). Sabhyata Jha of APEX caught up with Malla this week for some insight into her life and work. How did your journey into the world of theater and films begin?
I grew up in an artistically stimulating environment. From a very young age, I would accompany my father to various events and I started doing radio shows and advertisements when I was in grade two and three. I started writing when I was in grade five and have never looked back. I found my niche in writing and as I grew up, this passion has taken different forms, spanning from journalism to writing screenplay. All of my seemingly scattered achievements fall under the broad canopy of writing.
Would you say writing is your calling then?
Everybody in this world is born for something, is born with a purpose. When you discover your purpose your work becomes your motivation. I would like to think that I was born to write. Writing is like meditation to me. It is cathartic, as well as my passion.
You have worked on many Hindi soap operas. As someone who writes screenplays for them, don’t you think they are rather formulaic?
It happens due to extreme commercialization of the entertainment industry. Indian television shows cater to a specific audience and it produces what this section of population wants to see. At times, trying to be different goes against these market interests. Also, the storyline tends to be similar to match the huge demand. As the operas are telecast every day, writers are under great pressure to constantly come up with new material. All of these take creativity out of the task but because of the sheer amount of money involved, this is what you will continue to get. It is very difficult to find your voice as a writer when you are bound by so many limitations. This is also one reason I left this work and returned to Nepal.
Having worked in entertainment industries of both India and Nepal, how would you evaluate Nepali entertainment industry?
After my return to Nepal, I have realized the potential of Nepali entertainment industry—TV, music and movie alike. We have the capability to be as good as, if not better than, the Indian entertainment media. We are now seeing the audience embrace Nepali movies and songs. We have multiplexes showing Nepali movies and Nepali songs getting over seventy million hits on YouTube. So I am positive about the prospect of Nepali entertainment industry and I believe that this, the present, is its golden age.
How is the entertainment industry in Nepal different to its Indian counterpart?
It is the diverse stories that we have and we can have. People want to hear these stories and since we have started exploring these unique stories, the market of Nepali movies has increased. So, we need to delve deeper into these stories.
Any suggestions for those who want to follow on your footsteps into the entertainment business?
I have said it before and I will say it again: everyone has a passion, something that you love to do. If you cannot fathom retirement from a task, pursue it. Find your passion, make it your profession and be the best in whatever you do.
What’s next for Sampada Malla? What are you working on right now?
Currently I am working on a Nepali horror feature film “Eka Deshma” starring Gauri Malla, Mithila Sharma, and Karma. I am the writer as well as the executive producer of this movie. It is going to be directed by Bhimshen Lama. I have other projects lined up as well but this is my primary focus right now.