On May 17, 2019, Milan Chams released his “most awaited” film Bir Bikram 2. The film is a sequel to 2016’s Bir Bikram.
Five days later, on May 22, 2019, comes a movie review of the same film by Meme Nepal, a Nepali Facebook page on it’s official YouTube channel.
Two weeks later on June 7, 2019, Pranesh Gautam, a Nepali standup comedian and the man who appeared in the video reviewing the film gets arrested.
The reason for the arrest; Milan Chams, the director-producer of the film filed a police complaint claiming the review negatively impacted the film’s sale. And also the reputation of the director and the actors came under threat.
Now, let’s rewind a little bit and talk about what the review video actually talked about.
Meme Nepal posted a satirical review of the film Bir Bikram 2 where Pranesh Gautam gave a tongue-in-cheek review of the film where he talked about everything he finds wrong with the film.
Now mind you, this is his and his sole opinion about what he thought about the film.
According to the comedian, the film was unnecessarily loud, where characters are screaming for no apparent reason. He also added that the plot of the movie is strikingly similar to the Bollywood Blockbuster Sholay.
But it wasn’t all the bad things that the comedian mentioned in the video. While criticizing some of the actors he did go ahead and praised the work of actors like Najir Hussain and Buddhi Tamang and appealed Hussain to work on more movies.
Getting back to the case.
Now, Gautam is a comedian who is often criticized for the types of content he chooses for his standup sets.
From foul language to sexist remarks, it’s all a part of most of his contents.
But, when you think about it and when you look at comedians worldwide, isn’t it a case with everyone?
Gautam was arrested and filed a case under the Electronic Transaction Act.
The members of Meme Nepal and other comedians were all ready to negotiate with the Milan Chams in an attempt to release Gautam and make him take back his accusations.
However, according to a daily newspaper, Chams wasn’t in the mood to negotiate with the team. And that he was determined to “teach a lesson” to young people.
However, almost everyone believes that the accusations made against the comedian is totally bogus and a plain case of misuse of power.
According to Cyberlaw expert and advocate Baburam Aryal “This is an example of how the administration can misuse power. Such an action by the police is a travesty in a democratic society. Such acts decrease the creative potential of society and push the country towards dictatorship.”
Gautam, on the other hand, has been locked up for almost a week now. According to reports he has been harassed by Teku police where they’re making him sing and crack jokes.
According to advocate Rastra Bimochan Timalsina, who represents Meme Nepal and is a YouTuber himself, the police haven’t clarified the grounds on which the warrant has been issued.
On June 12, 2019, a number of people including the whole Meme Nepal team, Nepali standup comedians, advocates, and commoners, all gathered up and took part in a Silent Protest in attempts to free Pranesh Gautam.
#FreePraneshGautam is now trending on social media with thousands of people sharing their opinion on this absurd case filing.
They’re also sharing #StopDadaGiriNepaliFilmIndustry where people are going against the Nepali film industry and the hierarchy it’s been showing for decades.
The arrest of Pranseh Gautam has now become a more serious issue regarding the freedom of expression.
Since Nepal is a Federal Democratic country, it’s the right of people to be able to exercise their rights.
And Freedom of expression and freedom of speech is one of the most important rights for any citizen of a democratic country.
The inability to take criticism, however, is a personal problem. And the most shameful thing is that it’s a filmmaker that wasn’t able to take it.
It’s an artist’s responsibility to take criticism for their art. And since a filmmaker is also an artist, it’s the most disgraceful case, ever.