The Nepali film Highway. Aadi Productions / AFP
The Nepali film Highway. Aadi Productions / AFP

Daring new Nepali film dividing nation



As the curtain comes down on the most divisive and talked-about film in Nepali cinematic history, half the audience stands to applaud while the rest slump bemused in their seats.

The reaction has been common throughout packed theatres watching Highway, a sweeping social commentary hailed by many as a new benchmark for the domestic film industry but dismissed by others as complicated and boring.

"This is a terrible film. There are too many confusing strands and no action. It makes no sense," a cinema-goer in Kathmandu said. Another disagreed, saying "it's a brilliant movie … really creative".

Since Highway - co-produced by the Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover - opened across Nepal on July 20, it has polarised audiences and prompted more than 10,000 tweets. "Seventy per cent of people are saying it's the worst movie they ever watched," said its first-time director, the 33-year-old Deepak Rauniyar.

Set amid the breathtaking landscapes of eastern Nepal, Highway follows the journey of nine passengers stranded on an ill-fated bus to Kathmandu, trying to get through three illegal road blockades.

Its jumpy storytelling style makes it unique in Nepali cinema, which normally follows familiar Bollywood narratives, often copied scene for scene in Nepali movies.

With a third of its US$100,000 (Dh367,000) budget provided by donations raised via the internet, almost everything about the making of the film bucked the prevalent movie trends in Nepal.

"I wanted to break the stereotypical thinking about Nepal - everyone seeing it as just a mountain country where it snows - and I also wanted to show that life can be no more different than in London or New York," Rauniyar said.

"We can make films on a low budget and have an industry that is recognised around the world. We should start making horror films, really commercial films, art-house cinema and start telling our stories." * AFP

The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 646hp
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Transmission: Two-speed auto (rear axle); single-speed auto (front)
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COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

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Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

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Name: Raha
Started: 2022
Based: Kuwait/Saudi
Industry: Tech Logistics
Funding: $14 million
Investors: Soor Capital, eWTP Arabia Capital, Aujan Enterprises, Nox Management, Cedar Mundi Ventures
Number of employees: 166

MATCH INFO

Championship play-offs, second legs:

Aston Villa 0
Middlesbrough 0

(Aston Villa advance 1-0 on aggregate)

Fulham 2
Sessegnon (47'), Odoi (66')

Derby County 0

(Fulham advance 2-1 on aggregate)

Final

Saturday, May 26, Wembley. Kick off 8pm (UAE) 

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
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4 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

5 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

6 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

7 Romain Grosjean (Haas)

8 Charles Leclerc (Sauber)

9 Esteban Ocon (Force India)

10 Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)

11 Carlos Sainz (Renault)

12 Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)

13 Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

14 Sergio Perez (Force India)

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Super Mario Bros Wonder

Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Switch
Rating: 4/5

Getting there

Etihad Airways flies daily to the Maldives from Abu Dhabi. The journey takes four hours and return fares start from Dh3,995. Opt for the 3am flight and you’ll land at 6am, giving you the entire day to adjust to island time.  

Round trip speedboat transfers to the resort are bookable via Anantara and cost $265 per person.  

MATCH INFO

Azerbaijan 0

Wales 2 (Moore 10', Wilson 34')

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
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0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

McIlroy's struggles in 2016/17

European Tour: 6 events, 16 rounds, 5 cuts, 0 wins, 3 top-10s, 4 top-25s, 72,5567 points, ranked 16th

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A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

MATCH INFO

Barcelona 2
Suarez (10'), Messi (52')

Real Madrid 2
Ronaldo (14'), Bale (72')

The Way It Was: My Life with Frank Sinatra by Eliot Weisman and Jennifer Valoppi
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NATIONAL SELECTIONS

6pm: Falling Shadow
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7.10pm: Al Dasim
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Keane on …

Liverpool’s Uefa Champions League bid: “They’re great. With the attacking force they have, for me, they’re certainly one of the favourites. You look at the teams left in it - they’re capable of scoring against anybody at any given time. Defensively they’ve been good, so I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t go on and win it.”

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57 Seconds

Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
Rating: 2/5

THE SPECS

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Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Stage result

1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 4:42:34

2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe

3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers

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Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels

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Cycling
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Athletics
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The Gentlemen

Director: Guy Ritchie

Stars: Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant 

Three out of five stars

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EA Sports FC 24

Developer: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Publisher: EA Sports
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Rating: 3.5/5

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Power: 110 horsepower

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EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Washmen Profile

Date Started: May 2015

Founders: Rami Shaar and Jad Halaoui

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Laundry

Employees: 170

Funding: about $8m

Funders: Addventure, B&Y Partners, Clara Ventures, Cedar Mundi Partners, Henkel Ventures

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Engine: 2-litre direct injection turbo
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Power: 261hp
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Price: From Dh134,999

Voy! Voy! Voy!

Director: Omar Hilal
Stars: Muhammad Farrag, Bayoumi Fouad, Nelly Karim
Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre turbo 4-cyl

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Power: 190bhp

Torque: 300Nm

Price: Dh169,900

On sale: now