Home-Grown Gurkha Recruiting Documentary

Discussion in 'Gurkhas' started by Tawahi-50, Dec 15, 2012.

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  1. The locally made documentary "Who Will Be a Gurkha" has been reviewed in the Nepal press by Kathmandu based Indian author and journalist Peter Karthak.

    I found it an interesting review which unusually, gives a lot of space to his perception of the differencies between the British and Nepali officers involved, but I am a bit puzzled by his suggestion of HM Queen being buck-toothed.

  2. The author probably failed selection!
  3. I saw the documentary while I was in Nepal this spring. The dialogue is 50/50 between English and Nepali but everything is captioned so you can understand everything.

    It was a very good watch, though limited in scope. It focuses purely on fly-on-the-wall style film of the training at Pokhara. There are no interviews or attempts to put everything into any kind of context. For example, some members of the Maoist party in Nepal (the biggest party) want an end to recruiting. Issues like that are not discussed at all.

    The opening scenes are very powerful. Black and white shots of recruiting from around the 1940s (?) are intercut with near identical shots of same things happening today - chest measurements, that kind of thing.

    Some of the filming is a little amateurish - some poor sound and out of focus camerawork - but the editing is very tight. There are no boring stretches. The film follows several people but there are no attempts to focus on 1/2 individuals and it never feels emotionally manipulative. Seeing the old fashioned 'doku' (sp?) race is great.

    The Gurkhas come across very well. They are clearly very determined but also very funny. That was one struck me - the recruits come from such a large pool that the people who make it through really are the best of the best.

    While I was in Nepal, you saw lots of adverts in the papers and posters for private companies that train you to pass the course. The film shows lots of officers warning the recruits to stay away from these companies as some are scams or make false claims.

    Many of the recruits are clearly from poorer, hilly areas of Nepal. At one point, several discuss whether they will be taken to England by bus. That raised a laugh from the urban, educated, fashionably dressed Nepalis that were in the cinema.

    I went to a few of the poorer places in Nepal - including Rolpa and Rammechhap - and a lot of people in those places still had very hard, physical lives, despite improvements like better water and electricity provision. You could see that Gurkha recruitment would still offer a route to a better life. Loads of Nepali people go to work abroad every year - something like 500,000 people. So getting one of the 182 or so British Gurkha slots is much better than driving trucks in India or being exploited on a building site in 42C in a gulf state.

    From speaking to people in Nepal, reading the papers, and seeing the Facebook posts of new Nepali friends, it seemed people in Nepal were very proud of the Gurkhas. The film went down well there, from what I read.