The Dasdhunga movie is chosen as a media text for this semiotic analysis. Dasdhunga is directed and written by Manoj Pandit, the screenplay based on the true story of Dasdhunga Accident. The accident took place 17 years ago and the movie was released in early September 2010 in Nepal.
The Jeep on which Nepal’s political party UML General Secretary Madan Bhandari and other central committee member Jivaraj Aasrit were travelling from Pokhara to Chitwan accompanied by Amar Lama (the driver), fell down in the Narayani River on 3rd Jestha 2050 BS. Both leaders died on that accident whereas the driver Amar Lama survived without any scratch on his body (Rijal.P, 2010). The name of the movie is titled on the name of the place where the accident happened.
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The story starts from the point of accident and the character follows all corresponds investigating the mystery of accident, unfolding lots of aspect, the conflict designed over this struggle for unfolding the root of mystery. The story also provides the investigation of murder of Amar Lama who was shooted on an open space of Kritipur with 3 bullets on his head, where he died on the spot. The story’s focal points are the ups and downs of the character’s personal life as well as professional life and are structured balancing the fact and fiction. (ibid)
The movie rolls around the main character Kiran Kumar who investigates the Dasdhunga accident and reveals lots of information about the accident which concludes, that was not simply an accident but a conspired accident.
Actually the director wanted to make a documentary about the place Dasdhunga. The film has been in the news before its release because threats came frequently to stop the process. Censor board had also censored it seven times. They also omitted some dialogues and scenes in without losing the essence of the film. (The Kathmandu post, 2010 Aug 31)
(Zeeman, 1997: 24) A sign is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity. This movie has the sympathy, suspection and expectation. For them Dasdhunga is just not a movie but the high expectation of truth. Which everybody is suspecting it was a big conspiracy but not just an accident.
(Saussure, 1996). As he said the sign is a combination of concept with sound image which can’t be separated. Sign here is the psychology of citizen about the accident. Till dates the accident was a big conspiracy. This cannot be separeted in the movie dasdhunga as well. The place Dasdhunga itself is the main location in this film which makes film more real and understandable to the viewers. (N Virginia, 2011) says it drives audience into the cinema which is participation observation.
The main cast of the movie is Anup Baral, Mohan Bhandari, Daya Hang Rai, Saugat Malla and Sanchita Luitel. The central character of Madan Bhandari is played by Madan Bhandari’s brother himself, Mohan Bhandari. And Ram Krishna Poudel is presented as Jeeb Raj Ashrit .Anup Baral, the acclaimed theatre actor plays the troubled detective, inspector Kiran Kumar. Subtle and impressive Baral looks very natural in his role and his talent is noticeable throughout the movie. Dayahang Rai looks convincing as driver Amar Lama and did a good job. The acting of all the actors in the movie is commendable and is highly acknowledged.
(The Himalayan Times, 2010).
It has proved that Sometimes the performance of marital and parental roles shows a number of changes in their personal and professional life. The effect of occupational characteristics on the male’s role has shown in the movie as in Nepali context. The man’s participation in the family initially appears to depend upon his holding some sort of job. (J Aldous, 1969). As in the movie miscarriage of the investigator’s wife makes twist the story. Then he leaves the case, to live secure life, this is psycho-social fact that a human wants no harm in their life. Eight years later, a person hands over some important proof regarding Dasdhunga case to Kiran and he reopens the case. Then lift the curtain from the whole mystery.
The shots are not jarring or rough cut. Director tends to take the story at a distance allowing the characters to establish their traits to the audience instead of pushing a barrage of angles at the audience. The position of the camera is intricately placed in all scenes. The movie is a perfect example of docu-fiction which is not tried before in Nepali cinema. The movie Dasdhunga was visualized in various place of Nepal, like Chitwan Dasdhunga, Kritipur, and Kathmandu. This film has a series of stunning special thriller and real scene. For example of real funeral visual footage of Madan Bhandari. This kind of real footage and, photographs from audio visual banks and archive consider as bearing witness to the event. (M David & J Adam, 2006).
The cinematography goes hand in hand with location, props, shoots to make the audience feel like they are inside the scene and enjoying the scene. The dramatic increase in tempo with tight close ups, medium close ups, and locations image are clearly shown, so that any one can’t easily predict the upcoming suspense of the movie.
(Kress Gunther & Leeuwen the o van, 2002:344) Color is discussed as a semiotic resource , a mode, which, like other modes, is multifunctional in its uses in the culturally located making of signs and a In the chosen film “Dasdhunga” mostly grey scale colour is used, which emphasizes dangerous, suspense and full of thrill. Regardless Dim lights pale gleams and various techniques of eye catching scene gives viewers a full of suspense, fear, thrill, excitement adventure and emotions. The real people of the real time were also used in the film as eye witness, it makes cinema trustworthy.
The loud music and sound effects has been used in the movie from the beginning. This sticks you in the chair with your eye open. Because some time it is scary. For example feet sounds, cries, loud music and real scene of the movie makes audience awake and think of the real accident.
Costumes and make ups. All forms of realism are made possible through these artistic creative’s, which are appropriate for the time and characters intended. The cast also claimed that the wardrobe and dialogue fit very well. If we take an example of Kiran Kumar the starring character always wears a hat, here is the hat as a symbol of investigation and interrogation.
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There are elements of surprise and unexpected twist in the development of the plot with the relation with its scenes, stories and every signs it has. As in syntagmatic approach according to H.Miriam, 1994, the proper relationship among viewer, projector, screen, story are the part of a cultural practice that has to be learned. The same way the driver of the jeep accident who was convicted as one of the planner of conspiracy, later killed by unknown in an open place. This gives full of surprise and suspense to audience. (Gorkhapatra Daily, 2010).
As Signs are used in the movie as signifiers and signified, – in the selected scene of trailer (while presentation), a variety of signs have been employed to construct the preferred meaning. These signs include audio signs (dialogue, music and sound effects), facial expression, gestures colour lightning editing length of shots and slow and fast moving camera and angles signifiers are chosen to make movie more realistic.
As the term intertextuality is the deal of controversy according to (Berger A Arthur, 1993) in the movie Dasdhunga, the character of the driver is can be seen in a similar way. Every time he changes his statement at the time of interrogation.
The language chosen in this movie is very simple to understand. This helps audience to understand the movie in a right way. For example the driver says “when I reached Dasdhunga, it was raining and all of a sudden I couldn’t control my steering, then investigator countered “then how just you are alive without any scratch in your body?” this kind of dialogue makes you to think before something reveals in the movie. This makes you to involve in the cinema. It gives impression of reality. (C Metz, 1974).
As in Dasdhunga this kind of genre of mystery and investigation has not been used in the Nepali cinema before. So this movie has opened a door for the making of detective movie in Nepal. This breaks the monotony of the non-sense love filcks that Nepali movie is accustomed to. The movie is informative and it drags audience into it because it dealt with the facts that people didn’t know about. This makes audience to hope. But the audience may be disappointed because the movie does not reveal the truth of the Dasdhunga. (The Himalayan times daily, 2010). But as long as rating this movie goes, it deserves an ace for sure. Anup Baral- the investigator is an absolute pleasure to watch. He was even awarded with the best actor for this movie. Saugat Malla is equally fabulous and fit in the shoes of the character and steals the show with his incredible timing and natural acting. Although Sanchita Luitel only plays a side role, she has done justice to her part. As for the other actors, they have done an equally remarkable job.
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