Date of Birth: 1964 June 9
Age: 56 years old
Birth Nation: Nepal
Height: 6 Feet 1 inch
Nick Name: Rajesh Dai
Birth Place: Palpa,Tansen
Star Sign: Gemini
Working For: Nepalese Film Industry
Special Title: Maha Nayak
Married to: Madhu Bhattarai
Education: Master's degree in English literature
Rajesh Hamal: the son of a diplomat, a scholarly man with a master’s degree in English Literature, a Goodwill Ambassador and recurrent contributor to charity. But you may know him better as the ‘Great Actor’ of Nepal, starring in award winning films such as Deuta (1992), for which he won the first of many Best Actor Awards by the National Film Award, the most prestigious cinematic awards association in Nepal.
Since his film debut in the late 1980’s and his seemingly overnight rise to stardom, he has become one of the most, if not the most, iconic figures of Nepali cinema. His roles ranged in character and variety from light hearted romantic comedy,to seat-gripping action and adventure. His cinematic success has not gone unnoticed; he’s the recipient of three decades worth of Best Actor awards and nominations, in addition to numerous other achievements. It seems as if there is nothing that Mr. Hamal cannot do.
Rajesh Hamal has become common household name in Nepal. His dedicated acting career has redefined the classifications of what it means to be a Nepali actor. His near record-breaking number of films and acting achievements have not only inspired actors (aspiring and seasoned actors alike), but has given Nepali cinema an unparalleled level of credibility, and has changed the country’s cinematic culture towards higher standards of professionalism and quality.
Early Life Before Acting
Hamal was born on June 4, 1964 in Tansen, in the heart of Nepal. Though he has starred in a staggering number of films and television shows, his fruitfulcareer in film did not begin until his adult years, his mid-twenties, in the early 1990’s.
He spent the majority of his childhood in hometown in Nepal, attending private school until the eighth grade.As an early teen, he accompanied his father on a cross-continental move to Moscow. At the time, his father was a political diplomat for Nepalese government. Hamal and his father remained in Russia for a number of years. Hamal even began attending college in Moscow. However, he returned to India to finish his formal education in Lahore, at the Punjab University. It was there that he graduated with a M.A. in English Literature.
Hamal’s introduction to the camera began upon his return to India in his college years. His exposure started not in cinematic film, but rather in modelling. His infamous modelling career was relatively short-lived, lasting only for a couple years in the mid 1980’s, buthe became one of India’s most popular male models at the time. His characteristic long black hair and striking good looks did not go unnoticed. He appeared sporting the latest clothing fashions on runways in Kathmandu and New Delhi, and was featured in the renowned Indian fashion magazine, Fashion Net.
While he was quite successful as a model, earning the titles of Best Ramp Performer and Model of the Year in 1989, his aspirations for something more would not be satisfied with modelling. His time in the modelling spotlight soon transformed into something much bigger. Altering not only his life, but the entertainment industry of Nepal as well.
Rajesh Hamal’s Rise to Cinematic Success
Shortly after his modelling career, he took advantage of a familial tie to the movie industry. His uncle Deepak Raymajhiwas a successful director, andas such, Hamal landed a leading role in his first film YugDekhiYugSamma, in 1989. The film was met with great success.
Hamal starred alongside the young and beautiful actress Kristi Mainali. Their onscreen chemistry was irresistible to audiences, intrigued by this new handsome young actor. The classic, tragic love story was carefully crafted so as not to seem over-done, and helped Hamal earn credibility as a budding young actor. The film was met with such admiration from critics and viewers alike, then-amateur actor Hamal was awarded with Best Debut Actor by the Nepali Actor Awards that year.He was also deemed the “Superstar of Tomorrow” in 1990, in large part thanks to his uncle’s movie.
YugDekhiYugSamma was the movie that started it all. Hamal then dove headfirst into acting. He and Mainali would go one to star together in another film Chino, the following year. He poured himself into film after film, and went on to act in an average of ten movies per year. In 1994, he worked on 14 different films, the highest number of movies he worked on in one year in his entire career. He received at least one, sometimes more, notable awards or nominations for Best Actor each consecutive year starting in 1990. Hamal’s acting success was unstoppable.
Cinematic Career From 1990 to Early 2010’s
Hamal has earned an unprecedented number of recognized accolades from many different film organizations.
His other notable breakout role took place in the 1992 film Deuta, which many people argue to be Hamal’s best role. He earned Best Actor for his role as Shankar, the village-dwelling love interest to his female counterpart, Srijana Basnet.
1993 and 1994 were equally good years for Hamal, as he earned the National Film Awards Best Actor again. In 1995, he was nominated for his role in the film Sadak, but he did not win. He did however win Best Actor in another movie that year, Prithyi.
He received Star of the Year and Entertainer of the Year in 1996 and 1997, respectively, thanks to his National Film Awards Best Actor in films such as Prithvi, Semana, and Bandhan.
In 1998 and 1999 Hamal was nominated for a number of Best Actor awards, including a nomination for National Film Award for Best Comedian (Mr Ram Krishne, 1999), and went on to receive Best Actor for his work in Jun Tara (1998).
At the turn of the century, the year 2000, he had been declared Best Actor of The Decade, already having acted in over 100 films. He went on to earn the title of Star of the Year and Entertain of the Year again for the years of 2003-2005.
Not surprisingly, Hamal had by now become a beloved character, decorated with so many awards and nominations. By popular demand in 2006, “Rajesh Hamal Day” was created and to be celebrated each year on October 10 in Nepal. Quite a feat aside from his acting career.
Hamal continued to act in numerous films each year, and continued to be recognized for his efforts. He did not begin to slow his acting career until the early 2010’s, when he turned his focus towards charitable organizations. His last Best Actor Award and nomination was in 2012 for his role in the timeless love tale Bato Muni kophool, and hiscomedic role inChabilalKanjusChaina.
Hamal did not limit his career to strictly film, he also began appearing on television in TV shows and on advertisements in 2004. His first television appearance was on the popular Nepalese show Wai Wai Quiz Whiz. He appeared on another popular Nepalese show seven years later in 2011 as comedic support for the show Merri Bassai. That same year he had a guest appearance on the Miss Angel Program.
During the early 2000’s Hamal was endorsed by a number of companies to appear in advertisement commercials, and he was seen alongside a number of products including soap, steel, cement, and even an investment company.
His main focus however, was still cinema. Though he made a few appearances for television, he never strayed from his acting career for long.
Starting in the late 1990’s, after he was nationally recognized for his important impact on Nepalese culture, he began receiving official honors and recognitions from organizations other than film related ones.
1998 marked the year the Nepalese government honored him for his contributions in cinema. From 2000-2003 he received honorable mention from the National Human Rights Commission, the late King Birendra and the Armed Police Force. He continued to receive official honors from government officials, the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, Federation of Nepali Journalists, also including a National Citizen Golden Award from RastriyaNagarikSwornaSamman in 2006. His latest honor was given by President Dr. Rambaran Yadav in 2015.
Hamal’s tireless acting career lasted for decades. Hamal kept quite busy for his thirty plus years of acting. He only recently married at the age of 50, to Madhu Bhattarai, in May of 2014 in Kathmandu. As of now, they have do not have any children. Hamal has few known hobbies or other interests besides acting. He has shown extreme dedication to acting.
Response to the 2015 Earthquake
April 25, 2015 was a devastating day for Nepal. The severe earthquake that shook the very foundations of Kathmandu and the devastating aftershocks took thousands of lives and severely injured tens of thousands more. Hundreds of historical and religious sites were destroyed and many more severely damaged. The rampage of the Gorkha Earthquake is by far one of the most extensive and extreme that the world has witnessed.
In response to the earthquake, Hamal joined the Building Back Right initiative, acting as Goodwill Ambassador. The initiative is sponsored largely in part by Oxfam, a global confederation of non-profit organizations, and aims to alleviate the plight of the many women and children left without a home or without property. The initiative aims to aid in the restoration of Nepal in the destructive aftermath of the tragic earthquake and its numerous aftershocks.
Nepal’s Cinematic Legend
It is often said that the most successful people follow in the footsteps of their parents; meaning they pursue the same career path as their parents. Rajesh Hamal is a shining example of an exception to that belief.
While he continues to act, Hamal has given no indication that he has retired for good. He perhaps has chosen to settle down since marriage, but his name and his success will carry on for generations to come. He has set the standards high for a number of reasons. For one, he has the capacity to act in a wide array of roles. Though many of his movies are romantic or light comedy, he definitely did not limit himself to those characters, displaying many award-winning personas throughout the decades. Secondly, he has acted in over 230 films to date, astronomically more than the average actor who didn’t start his career until his mid-twenties. And thirdly, Hamal has raised cinematic standards by his quality of acting. He is decorated with so many awards, nominations, acknowledgements and honors from a number of different film organizations and non-film related organizations alike, there’s no denying his skillful acting.
His dedication to his acting career is unprecedented, and has hardly been achieved since. Definitely, he was, and still is, at the forefront of Nepalese cinema. Never before had any actor or actress accomplished nearly as much as he has in his thirty plus year long career. Prior to his quick rise to celebrity status, there had been no such precedent for actors, or really anyone, involved in Nepal’s film scene. Hamal single handedly changed the film industry, and altered the course of history.
Rajesh Hamal has become an icon for any Nepali film enthusiast, actor, director, etc. He has become an iconic figure in other countries as well, not just Nepal. His years of success are living proof of his dedication.Rajesh Hamal’s film career may not be as active as it was in the 1990’s, or even just five years ago. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t made a lasting impact on the Nepalese film industry. Hamal’s impact hasn’t just affected Nepal, but a wider scope as well, earning the respect of many other influential people in the film industry. His movies are favorited in households throughout the world. His name has become legend.
Who knows what Hamal has in store for the future of Nepalese film. Whatever it may be, the man is a living legend. Whether he continues to act in award winning film, perhaps shifts his focus to directing, or turns inward away from the public eye, Nepal’s film culture will be forever transformed by his career.