By Usha Wagle Gautam
About a thousand Nepali expatriates attended an elaborate Nepali musical show organised by the Lamjung Service Society (LSS) at Regency Hall on the first day of Eid al-Adha.
The programme was chaired by LSS President Bishnu Shrestha. Hari Prasad Aryal, second secretary at the embassy of Nepal, was the chief guest. LSS organised the programme to raise funds to support technical education of youngsters in Lamjung district located in the west of Kathmandu.
Nepalese folk singers Raju Pariyar, Debika KC, Cholendra Poudel and Uma Giri; pop singer Smriti Pokhrel; dancer-actresses Ashmi Gurung and Rashika Ghimire; and comedian Mahadeva Tripathi performed at the programme.
Aryal praised the organiser for hosting the musical programme and promoting Nepali culture. He also requested audience members to be mindful of Qatari rules and regulations and to follow them.
Following Qatari and Nepali national anthems, a Naba Cultural Family troupe started the cultural show with a welcome dance.
The Nepalese Cultural Center artists, led by Jerry Rai and Yasoda Basnet, then performed on a film song. Singer Rit Kumar Shrestha performed two folk songs, while singers Sushma Rai and Kamala Gurung performed a Dohari — folk duet song.
Dancer and actor Rashika Ghimire performed two dances. Performing for the first time in Qatar, Ghimire said she found the audience members welcoming and reminding her of home.
Ashmi Gurung, also a dancer and an actor, performed dressed in a traditional Nepali dress. Her performance was melancholic, tugging at the nostalgia people back home feel for their near and dear ones working overseas. This was Gurung’s second performance in Qatar and said her act was relatively new. She has starred in Nepali and Gurung language films.
Qatar-based folk singer Debika KC performed two songs from her album. Debika has performed multiple times in Qatar, but she feels “each performance is unique.”
Uma Giri performed two Teej songs. Performing in Qatar for the first time, Giri said she could not believe she was really here. She hoped the programme will be able to gather enough funds to help with its cause of providing education in Lamjung district. She also sought feedback from the audience members, saying she will use it to improve her singing.
Pop singer Smriti Pokhrel performed three of her best songs. Also a model, Pokhrel was performing for the first time in Qatar. She was all praises for the respect that audience members have for the artistes in Qatar. Besides filming a movie, Pokhrel is currently in great demand for events and programmes in Nepal as well as abroad.
Comedian Mahadeva Tripathi tickled the audience members’ funny bones with his satire of Nepali politicians. He incorporated popular songs into his performance, giving them a comic twist. Also a magician and a film director, Tripathi has directed two films back home. He said, “It was my first performance in Qatar, but the response from the audience made me feel like I was a regular performer.”
The main attraction of the programme was Raju Pariyar, who performed five songs. His energetic tunes got the people to leave their seats and tap their feet to the tunes. All the songs he performed, he said, were autobiographical. Pariyar has performed in Qatar five times and says he “is thrilled by the cheerful crowd” every time he performs here. “There is no drought of audience in Qatar, be it small venues, or large,” said Pariyar.
As a member of a so-called lower caste, his songs primarily deal with awareness against caste discrimination in Nepal.
Singer Cholendra Poudel hosted the programme and performed two songs. “I feel pleased performing in the Gulf, because the Nepalis here belong to my own class and I feel lucky to perform here,” he said.
Members of the audience said that they enjoyed the programme. Ram Basnet said the programme “was the best thing for him for the holiday.” Another audience member, Kousila Gurung said she enjoyed Raju Pariyar’s performance the most.
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