Kagbeni (2007) Nepal
Kagbeni Image Cover
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Director:Bhusan Dahal
Date Added:2010-04-27
Tags: Buddhism drama

Summary: Kagbeni is a 2008 Nepali movie, loosely based on the W. W. Jacobs‘ 1902 horror short story The Monkey’s Paw. Kagbeni is the directorial debut of Bhusan Dahal. The name of the movie is taken from a tourist place Kagbeni situated in the valley of the Kali Gandaki, which is a 2-hour side trek from Muktinath.

Released in Kathmandu in 2007 to massive acclaim, Kagbeni is now showing for the first time in the UK. Set in the hard landscape of the Upper Kali Gandaki, the film shows the uneasy intrusion of modernity into a world of timeless magic and unexplained powers. Upon returning to his native village after a long spell in Malaysia, Krishna travels to a nearby village with his childhood friend Ramesh. On their journey they encounter a hermit who returns Krishna’s gift of a blanket with a strange charm – a monkey’s paw that will grant any wish. Unaware of its ominous powers, Ramesh makes a reckless and selfish wish, and by doing so starts down a road of betrayal and revenge.

The Plot:
The story begins with Krishna (Nima Rumba) coming to a village to meet Ramesh (Saugat Malla) and Bishnu (Hanif Mohammed) who have been his childhood friends. Krishna is back from Malaysia after a long time. Ramesh runs a small liquor business. Although the money he earns is able to fulfill his basic needs to eat and survive, he’s not satisfied. He says that life is not easy as he had thought. Krishna says that although there is money in Malaysia, there is also hard work and suggests Ramesh to send his liquor to town to sell for more profit. Krishna hands him a bottle of bagpiper whiskey from Malaysia and a watch for his to-be-wife. Ramesh tells Krishna that he’s going to a neighboring village Marpha and Krishna tags along to meet Amo (some relative).

On their way to Marpha, they take rest at a small cave in the evening where they meet a hermit. Krishna hands him the blanket that he’s brought from Malaysia for Amo and asks to come near fire as it was too cold. In return, the hermit hands him a monkey’s paw, which has some kind of black power to fulfill one’s wish. As the hermit explains about the power of the paw, Ramesh goes out to see his asses who seem troubled. Meanwhile, the hermit explains that the paw can fulfill human’s wish but it can bring a great disaster if someone else, whom it doesn’t belong to, uses it.

The next morning, they find the hermit is gone without even notifying them. They resume their journey and reach Marpha where Ramesh does his business work and Krishna meets Amo and gives the blanket to her. Amo tells him to bring wife next time.

While returning, they see come across a bhatti (small alcohol shop) where they meet Pema (Pooja Gurung) and drink for a while. Krishna flirts with the girl. He also talks about marriage and that he’s got a photo of the girl with whom his parents are talking for his marriage. Pema tells them that the girl in the photo is Tara (Deeya Maskey) and that she knows her and that someone else also wants to marry her. When Ramesh sees her photo, he frowns for he is the guy who wants to marry her. He is distressed and doesn’t talk much.

That night, they do not move ahead. Ramesh wakes up in the middle of the night, takes the paw from Krishna and makes a wish to get Tara. Meanwhile, a mysterious girl cries somewhere.

While getting back, Ramesh doesn’t talk much and he dreams of killing Krishna with a knife and throwing him off a bridge. He is soon waken up by Krishna. Sometime later, as Krishna takes the monkey’s paw in his hand, he loses his balance when the asses tremble when they see it. He falls off the hill in spite of Ramesh’s efforts to save him with a rope. Meanwhile, the mysterious girl runs, taps the door and when no one opens, she cries and whines.

The story then moves nine years later. Ramesh is married now with Tara and has got a son Bardaan (Vivek Gurung). Their business has grown up. One day, Ramesh is offered a contract by a trader from the town. He demands 5000 bottles of liquor in three months. In return, he assures Rs. 1,37,000 in advance. Tara insists to hire two three guys for the work, but he tells her that he’s going to buy an apple crusher from town.

Ramesh brings machine from town, teaches Tara to use it and crushes apples and is able to make some 500 bottles in two and a half months. One day as they are ready to sleep, Tara tells Ramesh that there is some friend to see Ramesh. Ramesh is surprised to see Krishna. Krishna tells him that he survived unlike everyone thought.

Krishna asks Tara to get a cigarette and a lighter from his bag, but she is scared to find a monkey’s paw when she takes the cigarette out. Ramesh is amazed to see the paw still with him. He explains to Tara that the paw had power to fulfill one’s wish. Meanwhile, Tara’s watch stops running.

That night, Ramesh remembers everything again and the next day, they are amazed to see Krishna not in his room. The main door is locked from inside. While sweeping the floor, she finds the paw under the bed and keeps it with her.

That night, there is a big storm and heavy rainfall that causes all the apples in his field and the whole village to fall down before ripening. So, he worries that he won’t be able to make the remaining liquors as per the deal. When the trader comes back, he asks him one month time for the remaining bottles, but the trader gives him only two weeks and tells him that he’d have to return the money given in advance if he can’t make it.

Seeing the deteriorating situation at home, Tara makes a wish to solve the problem. The next day, their son Bardaan is run over by a tractor and dies. Both Ramesh and Tara are very much saddened by the incident. They get 1,50,000 as a compensation from the owner of the tractor. Ramesh is able to give the trader all the money he owes through this. One day, while gong to bed, Tara tells Ramesh that the paw works as she’d wished to solve the problem. She cries and demands her son back. Ramesh fights with her not to use the paw again, but she makes a wish to return their son. Suddenly, there is a tap on the door. But Ramesh struggles to get the paw from her and wishes they don’t want their son back. When Tara opens the door, there is no one.

Ramesh throws the paw outside, which is picked up by Bardaan. With a flash, he disappears.

The mysterious girl now walks somewhere as if her mission has been accomplished.