Sanjog Koirala was brought up in a cinephile household. His father was a film producer and from an early age, he had a special connection with the silver screen. No wonder he wanted to be part of the movie industry.
Koirala dreamt of becoming an actor and he got an early taste of acting when he was cast as a child actor portraying a younger version of the character of Rajesh Hamal, the biggest movie star of the time. Koirala went on to act in several other movies before ending his career as a child actor in order to focus on his education.
But the acting bug would not leave Koirala. His desire to become a proper actor also had partly to do with his mother’s ultimatum. “During my school days, my mom threatened me that if I didn’t become an actor after I graduated, she wouldn't allow me in the house,” Koirala recalls with a booming laugh.
Unlike Koirala’s father, his mother was not professionally attached to the film industry. She was a homemaker who loved movies and wanted her son to become an actor. Koirala would honor his mother’s dream but first he would complete his education—to live up to his father’s dream.
After completing high school in Kathmandu, Koirala left for India to study Chartered Accountancy. That done, he returned home with the goal of breaking into the Nepali movie industry.
His 2014 debut ‘Utsav’ alongside Saugat Malla, Gaurav Pahari, Prakriti Shrestha, and Menuka Pradhan didn’t do well commercially. Then came ‘Baazigar’ (2016) and ‘Katha Kathmandu’ (2018), which also bombed at the box office.
It was a sobering experience for Koirala. His passion for film and acting began to sap. “The careers of people around me were taking off while I was struggling in the film industry,” he says.
Koirala decided to reorient his career. He took the advice of his friend to put his film-career on hold and enter business, where his education and business know-how would come handy.
In a short time, Koirala was able to establish himself as a successful entrepreneur. He runs and owns multiple businesses from restaurants, ice-cream outlets to a furnishing company.
“When money starts flowing in, one’s passion also starts evolving. New doors of opportunity open up,” Koirala says. “I see Nepal as a land of opportunity. Yes, there are many problems here, but for every problem, there is also an innovative solution waiting.”
Koirala also runs the YouTube channel, Ideapreneur Nepal, which aims to motivate Nepali youths into understanding the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.
“People here are open to experimentation and creative ideas. We have a wonderful environment for startups and new business ideas,” he says. “Ideapreneur Nepal gives me a chance to inspire and educate Nepali youths and create a positive impact. That is my way of giving back to society.”
Koirala thinks and acts like a businessman these days and sees creative business potentials everywhere. It is hard to imagine that film is his lifelong passion.
He says when he decided to take a break from movies, he knew he had the privilege of coming back to acting whenever he wanted because of his family’s film-industry background.
“One thing I have learned in life is when things don’t work out, we should explore other avenues. Take the first step and the road ahead will open up,” he says. “You don’t have to figure out everything about your next project. You only need to take that first step.”