Bista with his family in Doha recently to screen his movie, Love you Baba.
By Usha Wagle Gautam
Saugat Bista, a child prodigy from Nepal, is the youngest director of full length feature film. A third grader, Bista, nine, directed Love You Baba and registered his name in the Guinness Book of World Records when he was seven. Bista was infatuated with films when he could barely speak, and is now a member of Film Directors’ Guild of Nepal. He was recently in Qatar for a film award.
Bista hails from a family of filmmakers. His father, Gajit Bista, is an actor, Sangam, his sister, is a child actress, and his uncle Gambhir Bista is one of the most sought-after dance directors in Nepal. During the Nepal film awards event in Doha, some of his kin were nominated and awarded in different categories. “I didn’t get any awards myself, but I was very much happy about my relatives who managed to win,” says Bista.
Bista got his first tips on directing a movie in Google. He went to the sets of Janmabhumi, a patriotic film, where he observed how the director was working. There at the shooting location, he quick learned the art of using cameras and dialogue delivery.
Around that time, his father was working on a script about the relationship between a father and a daughter, and was also looking for a director to shoot that script. One day, Bista asked his father if he got any director. His father said no, and he said he would like to direct the film.
His father was spellbound, and Bista asked his father if he trusted him. He said yes and said he would groom him before going to the location. The world’s youngest director says his happiness knew no bounds when his father nodded yes.
Before directing the feature, Bista attended many workshops to gather skills about filmmaking. He took special classes from prominent directors Nawal Nepal, Dibyaraj Subedi and his family members. Bista had already acted in one TV advertisement when he was five. Thereafter, he was provided with a child lead in full length Ka Kha Raa (Alphabet).
Later director Mohan Niraula featured him in Janmabhumi.
He was studying in Grade 2 in Suryodaya Secondary School in Kathmandu when he directed the movie. He had to manage work and school. Bista attributes his passion as he could manage school and film direction at such a tender age. He has always scored A-grades in school.
Bista’s Love You Baba was shown in a film festival in Japan where movies from 17 countries were screened. “Japan was my first foreign visit, everybody there liked me, liked my work, and treated me like a celebrity,” says Bista. He remembers the first international film festival he visited where a large crowd was waiting for him.
Bista has received full scholarship in his school. Furthermore, his school is supporting his works, and also provided its building as a shooting location.
Now, teachers, neighbours, friends and relatives don’t call him by his first name, but as director saa’b (Mr Director). Bista plans to direct a film each year. “For the next film, I will write screenplay, I will direct, and act myself in a lead role,” says Bista about his forthcoming project. A lot of producers, script writers and financers have requested him to direct their movies.
“If I like the script, I am surely going to direct their movies too.” Bista wants to do post-graduation in filmmaking, that too in direction. Returning back to his first movie, he says, “then all artists were my seniors, including my father and sister, it was hard to express disagreements about how they approached their roles during shooting, but they accepted whatever I told them to improvise.”
Bista’s parents prove that parents have a great role in shaping the talent of their children. When parents respond with genuine interest to their child’s interests, most children get encouraged. Bista said: “I want to send my message for every child — don’t be afraid with your parents about your interest because every child has the right to do the work according to their interest.” He also requests parents to take the children’s interest in a positive way.
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