Through SSMK lens...

When you walk into the room, you can’t help but notice the welcoming smile of Sapan dai -the studio in charge. And beside him are Kala di and Sabita di, the SSMK team members looking over the drama recording. The drama is about a 9th grade girl who excels at her studies despite being from a very poor family. She gets into a verbal altercation with her mother over the fact that despite her father working abroad they can’t even afford to buy her notebooks for her classes. The scene consists of two people, the girl and her mother. The school girl actor is agitated because we made her wait for more than an hour and because we were keeping her from her school. This was surprising to me as I would have been brimming with joy if I were kept from my school work. She would surprise me again with her level of professionalism and skill during the recording. She was the lead character and she truly led it.

There is a light mood in the studio before the recording with Kala and Sabita di joking around the actors with their bubbly personalities, which I assume is to make them feel at ease. The actors step in the recording room to do their magic as Sapan Dai starts his own. Kala di gets into her groove and starts directing the actors and the scene. I and Sabita di take the backseat…literally.  Sabita di, only 9 months into the job and the author of the drama, carefully observes Kala di as she works. She might still be learning the tools of the trade but she has the potential to do really well here. Glimpses of this potential can be seen in her drama which the actors are having some trouble acting out. The drama is complete and Sabita di assures me that their mistakes will later be edited by the team. The girl rushes off to school, after claiming her paycheck of course.

 The recording was almost complete but they still needed a male voice for two lines. Kala di asks me to go in and I comply. So I, Ayush Manandhar an intern for 2 months, saw my chance to impress…albeit with two lines. And people… believe me when I say that my recording session might have been the worst and most grueling in the history of SSMK recordings. It took me 10 minutes to record two decent lines which I still believe to be below par. My old nemesis, the Nepali script, did not help nor did the heat in the room. And as I walk out the room, embarrassed and disappointed Kala di tries to cheer me up by saying that it happens to all first timers and that I will improve. Sapan dai smiles in agreement and hands a copy of the day’s recordings to Sabita di. I finally understand how much work goes into recording a 10 minute drama for SSMK. It takes a lot of dexterity from both the actors and the team to produce the show and I get an enhanced sense of admiration for SSMK. My first drama recording session…truly memorable indeed.

~ Ayush Manadhar

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