Contemporary Nepali Literature: Drama and Theater

Mukul Dahal (mukul[email protected]). Editor: Pen Himalaya (

This essay is part six of the author's "Contemporary Nepali Literature: A Bird's Eye View."

Drama is an old genre both in the West and the East. Dramas used to be written in Sanskrit in ancient times in the East and in Greek in the West. But in Nepali literature dramas appeared quite late. During Bir Shamser's reign Darbar theatre was established in 1893, and dramas had an opportunity to open its eyes. Balkrishna Sama (1902-1981), who wrote 17 plays in Shakespearean style, breathed life into Nepali drama. He lifted Nepali dramas to new height with social background, philosophical depth, logicality and poetic dialogues. Bhim Nidhi Tiwari used commoners' language and Gopal Prasad Rimal provided a focus on realism. The element that makes modern dramas different from the earlier ones is their use of psychoanalysis.

In contemporary times the pace of drama writing has slackened. A small number of writers are committed to dramatic writing. There may be many reasons behind it. One most apparent reason is the lack of an established culture of theatre. A few plays were staged successfully in the past but they did not produce a dramkatic culture in Nepal. Staging of Dr. Abhi Subedi's drama last year was a welcome success. It was a remarkable event and has instilled hope in the direction of renovation of drama and culture of theatre.

Yet there are writers who have been actively involved in it and contributing powerful plays for years. The dramas of the present times are simple and at the same time full of intellect, experimental and at the same time purposeful and conscious. Sometimes the themes are conveyed in realistic and satiric way and at other times through the use of humanized fantasy. Experiment in expression has been the latest trend of the Nepali drama. Mohan Raj Sharma, Ashesh Mala, Saru Bhakta, Gopal Pariajuli, Abinash Shrestha, Dhruba Chandra Gautam, Abhi Subedi, Roshan thapa Nirab etc. are some of the major writers of contemporary Nepali Drama.

Contemporary Nepali Literature: A Bird's Eye View

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Last Modified: 11 March 2004