YOUR REGULAR EVERYDAY NORMAL GUY
A couple of years ago, chocolate momos were all the hype. However, chocolate has sugar in it, sugar retains high amounts of heat, and because I presume the whole point of the dish is to be like a lava cake, I think it’s like a literal fireball in the mouth. I don’t want that.
But Saruk Tamrakar assures me that I’m overthinking it. That I just have to try it to find out.
Who knows, it might actually be good.
Saruk was brought up with a lot of pampering as a single child. This also means that there were a lot of restrictions upon him. And when one is usually caged in as such, they tend to develop a certain fascination with the world around them. His case was no different as he began venturing out for treks and hikes to wherever and whenever he could. And he loved the experience of being around all of that lush green. And what he began to love even more was the simple act of capturing them in his lens.
“It started with a trek to Ghorepaani- Ghandruk with a couple of friends.” Say Saruk, lamenting at his adolescence. “At that age, everything looked cool and mesmerising. It was a great kick to be amidst all of that natural energy. And it was a different trill to capture that very rawness with a camera.”
He felt a strike to his chords. Out and about, he felt that he was in his zone. He felt that there was a peculiar sort of energy flow that he could not find elsewhere. And he felt that very energy surge within him as well.
That’s how he got into this whole rabbit hole of travel photography.
Now, when you stalk the man on Instagram, you come to see that he dabbles a bit in movies and films as well. Well, that’s a bit of an understatement for someone who’s been a part of the love-triangle-gone-horribly wrong Rani, the heart-wrenching drama.
Meri Mamu, and one of the highest-grossing Nepali films Intu Mintu Londonma. All of these seem obvious when one realises the fact that his father, Sanu Tamrakar, is a prominent and accomplished actor in his own regard. However unlike one would imagine, it wasn’t that automatic. In fact, he thought he’d be happier just by being behind the camera.
At this point, let’s just take a detour for a moment. Back in 2016, when Sisan Baniya was picking up to be the legend he is today, he made a short film called Heroism. And apparently, Saruk too is in it. I say ‘apparently’ because only a few knew his name then and he shrouds himself with a baseball hat as he narrates his character’s tale of drug abuse and eventual resurrection.
Saruk pinpoints this moment as his realisation of perhaps he should try his hand at being in front of the camera. Again, a couple of months later, they came out with Happy New Year in which the audience was presented with his acting prowess. Now, this being a short movie with a lot of ambiguity among the characters, the story picks up with various conversations and ends with a twist. But a lot of attention seems to have been gathered by our man of conversation, who plays as a fashion photographer. And to solidify this claim of mine here’s a comment made by the user Tina:
Omg that guy photographer…. Seems like he got lots of potentials.
Damn handsome and the acting is also not bad; very natural.
Looking forward to seeing him in many more videos….
I’m your new fan
This particular comment was made two years ago and I can’t say whether they’re a prophet or not, but what I can say is that Tina was not wrong. Sure, Saruk had already done Rani by this point in time, but the movie had not reached the amount of audience he or the film’s team had hoped it would. So, it’s safe to say that this short movie showed the world what he’s capable of.
I sense a constant struggle within this industry, a strong contradiction between the art and the business, between what we want to express and what we are expected to express.
When Intu Mintu Londonma swept the crowd from their feet and took the box offices by storm, Saruk came in the prestigious limelight he rightfully deserved. And with that, a lot of coverage as well. Thus, I would like to bring your attention to what he did after that.
Saruk had a bit of free time with him after the hit film so he decided to pursue a passion project called In Transm15sion. It’s a movie about a squatter who acquires a TV that predicts the future. He misuses its powers to place bets on cricket matches, makes a sizable fortune out of it, becomes hungry for more, and loses everything in his life in that pursuit for the hand’s dirt. A simple storyline that I’m not going to say is entirely original, but it all comes down to the delivery.
The acting is fluid, the dialogues are natural, and the angles are those that will hardly ever be shown on the silver screen. All of these contribute towards a more authentic experience, they make you relate to the character, make you feel that you are the protagonist yourself, something, again, that’s lacking in our Nepalese cinemas.
“Mainstream is rigid. It is professional and all, but it’s the least bit flexible. The directors want actors to do things that don’t necessarily fit with their characters. And protesting with one’s own ideas that could possibly work better is seldom entertained.” Saruk says this with a slight frown. But then he loosens it and says, “That’s why I am up to my own things now.”
I’ve been meaning to play as a rockstar; in a sense as a character who has a musical background. We lack films that are musically driven but what directors have in mind is completely in betrayal of the reality.
A lot of this rigidity, so says Saruk, comes from ‘the demand of the audience’. At least that’s what the directors say. Now, I’m no one to point fingers at the people in the industry who have been at the game for years and decades. However, perhaps the problem lies in just that; they’ve been at it for so long that a certain vacuum has been created. What was mainstream then is not anymore. But then again, it’s hard to deny the grip it still has.
“I sense a constant struggle within this industry, a strong contradiction between the art and the business, between what we want to express and what we are expected to express. Sure, there is support from the audience in general, but satisfaction comes from within. And for me, that inner joy is on the down-low.”
He says this, apologises for a moment, and adjusts a decorative fan that’s in front of him. It was slightly stooping and he needed it to be erect and proper. Observing this, any armchair behaviourist would deduce that Saruk is a perfectionist. He would rather sit with the writer himself and work out a minuscule idea into a feature-length movie.
“I’ve been meaning to play as a rockstar; in a sense as a character who has a musical background. We lack films that are musically driven but what directors have in mind is completely in betrayal of the reality. They want to put up someone who’s extravagant, the whole sex-drugs-and-rock n’ roll. But that’s never the reality, now is it? Sure, censorship is there, which is hypocritic if you think about it, but it’s not sincere and authentic. And that bit of reality is what I strive to achieve. But sadly, can’t.”
We’ve encountered this formula in our past cover stories, the formula of Aristotle where he suggests that every story needs to have an exposition, followed by a rising action that reaches its fever pitch to become the climax, which devolves into a falling action and eventually concludes with a denouement. Saruk too has realized this and says that it’s a structure that works, but we’ll all eventually tire from it.
Saruk released In Transm15sion via his own YouTube channel. And if one were to go into the channel, they’ll be greeted by few more videos. One’s The Rickshaw Carpool, a rom-com short set during the embargo post the great earthquake of 2015, and the other’s a documentary named Itihas Korne Haatharu about the artist Hari Prasad Sharma, a man who has been preserving our Nepali heritage within paintings for the greater part of his life. Both of these are exceptionally written, shot, and produced.
The last one, or the first upload if you may, is a vlog. And it is through this very vlog that one is let into a fragment of his life. And from that some five minutes worth of glimpse, one can see that he’s just a regular everyday normal dude.
A further dive into his social media is a discovery of how, well, normal he is. He used to have a garage band, was (and still is) obsessed with the likes of Tool, lived a relatively carefree teenage, had an epiphany to get himself together, found his craft, is currently working towards making a name for himself and wishes to flash his middle finger in the air every once in a while; the story of literally everyone ever. It’s the story of anyone who is in the making.
He caught his line towards greatness from the simple art of trying out things he was curious about. That is how we arrived to talk about chocolate momo. And perhaps that’s all there’s to life, to try out things and see if you like it. That’s the philosophy Saruk has been living by and we must say it works.
Words by Nirveek PPJ Shah
Photographed by Gaurav Xhompate Sunuwar
Wardrobe by Arlo Men’s Monarch
Location by Live Music