What comes across your mind when you hear the term Gurkha?
You may have heard of them from Prithvi Narayan Shah’s unification of the Kingdom of Gorkha (Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal) or how they came to strike fear in the hearts of enemies but also respect from the Anglo-Nepalese War against the British East India Company. Maybe it could be contemporary such as the valour act of Sgt. Dipprasad Pun’s defence against 30 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan 2010. This year will mark the 205th anniversary of Gurkha’s service for Britain. The Service range from the British Rule in India, WWI, WWII to the present either within the British, Indian Military or the Singaporean Police Force.
Gurkhas should be symbolic in terms of their heroism, ferocity and discipline, a title not everyone could attain. There are countless accounts of bravery shown by the fearless Himalayan warriors from 200 years ago to the present day. Acknowledgement of a Gurkha’s potential derives from their courageous, cut-throat demeanour and loyalty which they embodied led onto their recruitment into the British Military.
Kulbir Thapa Magar (Colourised)
Rifleman Kulbir Thapa Magar is one of many heroes that embodied what it means to be a Gurkha. Born in 15th December 1889, Nigalpani Village, Palpa District, Nepal he was a representation of who many look up to becoming. Kulbir Thapa was enlisted as a Rifleman on his 18th Birthday on the 15th December 1907 with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles.
The First Nepalese Soldier to receive the highest, most auspicious medal one can achieve in the British Military being the Victoria Cross Medal which is displayed at the Gurkha Museum in Winchester, England. Magar alongside many WWI Gurkha Veterans set the standards of what it means to be a Gurkha. As since 1911, 13 native Gurkhas have been awarded the Victoria Cross (image below). He went on to reach a rank of Sergeant in 1916.
Victoria Cross of Kulbir Thapa (Winchester, Hampshire, England )
Pradeep Shahi’s ‘Gurkha: Beneath the Bravery’ turns an autobiographical concept into a live-action movie which will be out in theatres soon. The story focuses on the legend of Kulbir Thapa (portrayed by Samir Gurung) from the 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifle’s 2nd Battalion post in Faquissart, France on the 25th– 26th September 1915, WWI. Over 105 years ago you will see an exhilarating portrayal of Rifleman Kulbir Thapa’s valiant operations during the Battle of Loos.
Gurkha: Beneath the Bravery Trailer
We can expect to see the hardships experienced from the protagonist’s perspective, which should give an insight under the front line in addition to the development of his character. These could be through the conditions they had to combat through to the psychological effects of warfare, comradery alongside thrilling encounters within enemy lines. A visual experience of what it means to sacrifice one’s life which many of us do not dare to do. A man that undergoes countless turmoil and life & death situations.
S.H.Y Film’s profits from the film will go into the funding of ‘Gurkha Welfare Trust’. An important charitable organisation which provides financial, medical and development aid to Gurkha veterans and their families and communities. The film has been crowdfunded and also from communities such as the Kirat Yakthung Chumlung UK and many businesses like GnErgy’s, provided support who came from a military background. Recently they have promoted events on social media Instagram page @gurkhamovie ‘#myfatherisagurkha’ where many children of Gurkha Soldiers and Veterans took part including a range of Nepalese Actors, Actresses, Influencers, Youtubers and Veterans.
This movie is a significant turning point for Nepalese representation in film and media as we finally have an opportunity to promote the pride that many feel when it comes to the Gurkhas.
The Gurkhas have been an integral part of the armed forces but also towards the communities they reside in. It would be encouraged for people to catch this film not just for getting a sense of discovery or insight but also an appreciation of their traits, maybe something we all could incorporate into our lives.
Written by Manish Gaha.
- Writer / Director – Pradeep Shahi
- Writer / Screenplay – Jason William Spence
- Executive Producer – Harry Haroon
- Executive Producer – Victor Yarbrough
- Assistant Director – Amit Gurung
- Director of Photography – Amrit Gurung
- Director of Photography – Nikko Pratap Gurung
- Producer – Prayas Gurung
- Operation Manager – Harke Gurung
- Project Manager – Madhu Gurung
- Project Consultant – Ishup Adhikari
- PR Manager – Nesha Gurung
- Aerial Photography – Amrit Gurung
- Art Director – Ashruti Patel
- Camera Assistant – Dinesh Thapa and Suman Saru
- Social Media Manager – Emine
- Social Media Co-ordinator – Biplop Gurung & Maya Gurung
- Brand Ambassador – Pratishtha Raut
- Crowd Funding Co-ordinator – Sanjeev Shrestha
- Fundraising Co-ordinator – Kul Thapa
- Web Developer – Keno James
- OST – Falaamni Pagalinchha – Rabin Shrestha (Vocal and Lyrics)
- – Bishwo Shahi (Music)
- Official Media Partner – HABamoment
- Samir Gurung as Kulbir Thapa
- Stuart Walker as Bill Keightley
- Gaumaya Gurung as Maiya
- Olly Bassi as Capt Alex Baumann
- Surya Gurung as Riddhiman Rai
- Rajan Gurung as Bir Bahadur Gurung
- Agostino Oberhofer as Sgt Max Muller
- Robin Friberg as Pte Mikel Kaufmann
- Charlie Morel as Pte Connor Sefton
- Jack Cronin as Pte Percy Kellard
- Lee Michael as Sgt Stephen Freeman
- Supporting Actors as Sagarmatha Youth UK and 1RGR