Dayahang-Miruna: Eight films in two years and still going strong

Susmita Bajagain 08 Jul 2024
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Dayahang-Miruna: Eight films in two years and still going strong

KATHMANDU: The on-screen pairing of Dayahang Rai and Miruna Magar has been involved in eight films since their first film ‘Kabaddi 4: The Final Match’ released in May 2022.

While Dayahang was already established, ‘Kabaddi 4: The Final Match’ was Miruna’s debut film. The fourth film of the popular ‘Kabaddi’ franchise, which built on three previous hits, was an immense success collecting over Rs 213 million at the box office. It made the couple fan favorites overnight and spurred a demand for the pair which went on to sign seven more films. Five films of this pair have already been released, except for one, Rangeli, all have become successful at box office.

The success of this pair has led to comparisons with the iconic on-screen duo of Rajesh Hamal and Karishma Manandhar who dominated Nepali cinema in the 1990s and 2000s.

Jaari, which is based on the Limbu people of the far-eastern Nepal, was the pair’s second release. It celebrated 100 days at the box office and became the highest-grossing film of the year, collecting Rs 170 million. Their third film, Nango Gaun, a political satire, underwhelmed at the box office despite good reviews, earning Rs 49 million. Although their fourth film, Rangeli, which was based in the southern plains of eastern Tarai, bombed, their fifth film, Mansara, received praise from both audiences and critics, earning Rs 40 million against a budget of Rs 15 million.

Dayahang and Miruna’s sixth film, Ghar Jwai, a film about a tradition of Magar people which requires the son-in-law to live with the girl’s family, is set to release this weekend. Additionally, they have signed two more projects, Local Hero and Gaun Nai Ramailo, which are in the production phase.

Here we look at Dayahang and Miruna’s cinematic journey so far.

Kabaddi 4: The Final Match

In Kabaddi 4: The Final Match, Dayahang’s character, Kaji, who has struggled to find a wife throughout the series, finally marries Shanti, played by Miruna Magar, a new teacher in the village. This film marked Miruna’s debut, and the audience quickly fell in love with their on-screen chemistry. The movie was an immense success, grossing Rs 213,823,462, the highest earnings in Nepali cinema history. Initially marketed as the final installment of the Kabaddi series, the immense popularity of Dayahang and Miruna’s pairing led to the producers to announce the fifth film in the series.

Jaari

Released in April last year, Jaari is the second film to feature Dayahang and Miruna as leads. It was a major success, celebrating 100 days at the box office and becoming the highest-grossing film of the year, with earnings of Rs 170 million. Directed by Upendra Subba, the film explores the Jari tradition of the Limbu community. Dayahang and Miruna play a couple who face challenges when Miruna’s character remarries after five childless years. Her second husband, unable to pay the Jaari (compensation), ends up working as a servant in Dayahang’s house. The compelling storyline and the success of the film has prompted the production team to announce its sequel.

Nango Gaun

Nango Gaun, which was released in September last year, is the third collaboration between Dayahang and Miruna. Directed by journalist-turned-filmmaker Dipendra Lama, this film is about village politics. Dayahang plays a political leader and Miruna as his wife. The film is a satire on leaders who make empty promises during elections. Despite its strong social commentary, the film’s earned a modest Rs 49 million in the box office.

Rangeli

In Rangeli, which released in March, Dayahang and Miruna portray the characters of Bijay and Junakiri in the story of power and love set in Rangeli village of Morang. The film, directed by Arjun Subedi, revolves around three gangsters vying for control over Rangeli. The film failed to meet box office expectations and is considered a flop.

Mansara

The pair’s fifth film Mansara released in April. Dayahang plays the character of a  foreign army recruit and Miruna his girlfriend. The film explores the challenges of an inter-caste relationship which ends with the couple reuniting after a long separation. Despite a modest budget of Rs 15 million, Mansara performed well, earning around Rs 40 million at the box office.

Upcoming Releases

Ghar Jwai

Set for a nationwide release this Friday, Ghar Jwai centers on the matrilocal tradition in the Magar community. Directed by Anil Budha Magar, this film is expected to explore the dynamics of a love challenged by cultural obligations. The film is produced by Janak Gharti Magar.

Local Hero

Local Hero will see Dayahang and Miruna in leading roles once again. Directed by Biswas Timalsina and Raj Sigdel, and produced by Saroj Neupane under Ananya Films, this film is expected to be a romantic comedy social drama.

Gaun Nai Ramailo

Another upcoming project of the pair is Gaun Nai Ramailo. The film is directed by Dinesh Raut and written by Bikash Subedi. Produced by Himal Kadariya under the Club Work Creation banner, this film will explore village life and is slated for release next Dashain, according to the production team.

Published On: 08 Jul 2024

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