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Meet Pradeep Shahi and his feature film "The Last Ritual" Antim Sanskar, a beautiful masterpiece from Nepal.


Pradeep Shahi, is a British-Nepalese writer-director. At 36 years old, he pursued his

passion for storytelling and filmmaking by studying film and media at the University of

Winchester. He thoroughly enjoys the process of creating stories and bringing them to life

on the big screen. Currently, he is currently working on my third feature film and promoting his latest feature film "The Last Ritual" Antim Sanskar.


Pradeep, when did you discover this was your career path? 

In my early years, I steered my focus toward a career in science, given that pursuing

filmmaking in Nepal was not a feasible option. However, upon relocating to the UK in my

late teens, I discovered the perfect environment and opportunity to study film. My

mentor, the late John Pett, played a crucial role in providing guidance during the initial

stages of my filmmaking career.


Which filmmakers inspired you?

Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick.

I was drawn to Kubrick for his exceptional visual mastery, but what truly captivated me

was the ambiguity woven into his narratives, inspiring me to embark on my own

scriptwriting journey. Meanwhile, Malick's visual poetry resonates with me deeply. I love

the exploration of philosophical themes and non-linear narrative style he employs. My

dream is to seamlessly fuse the cinematic essence of Kubrick with the poetic allure of

Malick, someday!


Describe The Last Ritual ( Antim Sanskar) briefly for our readers.

An earnest endeavor to introduce Nepali cinema to the global indie film market, this

project is a psychological murder mystery drama. It unfolds the fractured narrative of a

missing father and son, entwined with the pursuit of an alcoholic police officer grappling

with her own haunting secrets.


What inspired you to create The Last Ritual ( Antim Sanskar)  What your main goal with this project?

The film seeks to introduce the concept of sky burial to a wider audience. Instead of

adopting a straightforward documentary narrative, I opted for a mystery drama

approach. The idea of feeding humans to vultures can be off-putting for many, so I aimed

to surprise the audience by weaving it into a suspenseful storyline. Their patience is

rewarded as the mystery unfolds till the end. This tradition has sparked divided opinions,

yet it remains crucial for people to be aware of such cultural practices existing in certain

parts of the world.


What do you hope to achieve for Nepal's Filmmaking industry?

I aspire for the Nepali film industry to embrace original narratives rooted in our culture

and traditions, while exploring the richness of our unique landscapes. I intend to be a

catalyst for this transformation, aiming to bring forth more stories from Nepal.


Deeya Pun and Trichu Rai you won our festival with your acting skills how do you feel? Tell

us about your involvement in this project.


Deeya Pun - It feels surreal to win for best actress in Morgana Film Festival. This role was tough for me, I had an opportunity to play a way different role to what I have done before.

Pradeep had a vision and believed that I could bring this character  to life as how he

imagined. He was very involved in making us actor understand what his vision is for this

film and easy to work with.



Trichu Rai- This is my first ever award as an actor and I am very grateful  to my director, to my co-actors for being so cooperative and helpful throughout the filming of the movie.

I am humbled by this award and for which I would like to  thank Morgana Film Festival for bestowing  me with this prestigious award . This award has certainly given me more motivation to work hard in the future and remain faithful to my society of art, filmdom and culture. Thank you all for your kind gesture....I have a long way ahead of me.


We are sure we will see you again in other beautiul projects like this one.


What was the biggest challenge for you?

The principal photography proved to be the most challenging aspect of the movie. The

location we selected posed logistical nightmares, yet thanks to the incredible dedication

of my cast and crew, we managed to pull it off successfully together.



We think producing this feature wasn't easy, are there any aspects of it that you want to share with us?

Transforming a script into a visual experience is undoubtedly challenging, but it's

precisely the kind of challenge that excites me. Yet, filming a nudity scene at an altitude

of 4200m+ in freezing temperatures proved to be one of the most demanding tasks for

the actors. To add an extra layer of challenge, why not, eh, I decided to allow only one

take for each shot, aiming to capture the raw and unfiltered emotions in the moment.


A fun fact about your feature.

Principal Photography was finished in 15 days. It was a very long 15 days.


This project, as we preciously said, is from Nepal, how is the filmmaking environment in

your country and what would you bring to it?

Nepal is deeply influenced by Bollywood cinema, yet our film economics lacks efficient

management, making filmmaking a less financially viable endeavor. However, inspired by

the progress of indie films, I aspire to create something uniquely original that can set

Nepal apart in the global cinematic landscape.


What's the best part of your job, what's your favorite step in the process?

I love writing and to see the rushes for the time in the editing room, I get super excited

for it.


When it comes to the casting process, what was your aim? How was the experience?

I commence writing a script only when I can envision the faces of the lead characters, as I

believe it aids in extracting natural performances from them. Fortunately, I was fortunate

to work with a diverse cast ranging from veteran actors to debutants, all sharing a deep

passion for the art of filmmaking.


What would you say to someone that wants to start this path as you did?

Embrace the mantra: Eat, Sleep, Repeat - Your stories in your head!


What do you regret and what would you have wanted to know earlier? If you have any regret.

I regret not prioritizing exhibition and distribution knowledge as much as production.

Recognizing its importance can significantly impact how one can inspire and influence an

audience.


What.s your dream project?

I am undertaking the creation of a trilogy dedicated to our legendary forefathers—the

Gurkhas, courageous men from Nepal renowned for their valor and loyalty. Many of their

heroic tales remain untold, and I intend to capture them in my Gurkha Verse trilogy. The

first installment, titled "1915: Legend of the Gurkhas" was made possible through crowdfunding and a dedicated group of volunteers. Currently, it is available on OTT platforms such as Amazon Prime and Apple TV in the US and UK.


That's impressive and we will check it out!


What's your opinion regarding the involvement of A.I. in the industry?

Embracing positive change is commendable, but it should not come at the expense of

replacing the creators or the artists. The act of creation should complement and support

the creators, rather than replacing them.


Who would you suggest this feature to, and why?

My aim is to introduce Nepal and its cinema to an international audience. In particular,

foreign-based or born Nepalese individuals are my ideal audience. I hope to encourage

them to share the richness of Nepali films with their non-Nepalese friends.


What do you expect from the future? What do you hope for your profession?

I aspire to assist and contribute to the Nepali cinema industry by bringing forth more

unique stories and establishing strong connections with the British film industry.


Your feature won different awards with us, we truly enjoyed this work, how is it going with

festivals so far?

We have achieved notable success in the indie film festival circuit, securing victories in

three festivals and earning nominations in over half a dozen others. Now, we are focusing

on its OTT release.


What's next for you? You said you were working on your third feature, right?

Yes, presently, I am in the process of creating my third feature film, "EKLO: The Final

Survivor". This will mark a groundbreaking venture for the Nepali film industry—a post-

apocalyptic world teeming with zombies, where a solitary survivor must navigate the

challenges of survival.


Thank you for your time, we wish you the best for your career and your future projects and

we can't wait to see your thirt feature and all your future projects!


You can contact Pradeed Shahi here:



TRAILER:



WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA:



INSTAGRAM

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