Kagbeni is a 2008 Nepali movie, adopted from W. W. Jacobs' 1902 horror short story The Monkey's Paw. Kagbeni is the directorial debut of Bhusan Dahal. The name of the movie is taken from a tourist place Kagbeni situated in the valley of the Kali Gandaki, which is a 2-hour side trek from Muktinath.
The tagline of the movie is when wishes comes true.
The next morning, they find the hermit is gone without even notifying them. They resume their journey and reach Marpha where Ramesh does his business work and Krishna meets Amo and gives the blanket to her. Amo tells him to bring wife next time.
While returning, they see come across a bhatti (small alcohol shop) where they meet Pema (Pooja Gurung) and drink for a while. Krishna flirts with the girl. He also talks about marriage and that he’s got a photo of the girl with whom his parents are talking for his marriage. Pema tells them that the girl in the photo is Tara (Deeya Maskey) and that she knows her and that someone else also wants to marry her. When Ramesh sees her photo, he frowns for he is the guy who wants to marry her. He is distressed and doesn’t talk much.
That night, they do not move ahead. Ramesh wakes up in the middle of the night, takes the paw from Krishna and makes a wish to get Tara. Meanwhile, a mysterious girl cries somewhere.
While getting back, Ramesh doesn’t talk much and he dreams of killing Krishna with a knife and throwing him off a bridge. He is soon waken up by Krishna. Sometime later, as Krishna takes the monkey’s paw in his hand, he loses his balance when the asses tremble when they see it. He falls off the hill in spite of Ramesh’s efforts to save him with a rope. Meanwhile, the mysterious girl runs, taps the door and when no one opens, she cries and whines.
The story then moves nine years later. Ramesh is married now with Tara and has got a son Bardaan (Vivek Gurung). Their business has grown up. One day, Ramesh is offered a contract by a trader from the town. He demands 5000 bottles of liquor in three months. In return, he assures Rs. 1,37,000 in advance. Tara insists to hire two three guys for the work, but he tells her that he’s going to buy an apple crusher from town.
Ramesh brings machine from town, teaches Tara to use it and crushes apples and is able to make some 500 bottles in two and a half months. One day as they are ready to sleep, Tara tells Ramesh that there is some friend to see Ramesh. Ramesh is surprised to see Krishna. Krishna tells him that he survived unlike everyone thought.
Krishna asks Tara to get a cigarette and a lighter from his bag, but she is scared to find a monkey’s paw when she takes the cigarette out. Ramesh is amazed to see the paw still with him. He explains to Tara that the paw had power to fulfill one’s wish. Meanwhile, Tara’s watch stops running.
That night, Ramesh remembers everything again and the next day, they are amazed to see Krishna not in his room. The main door is locked from inside. While sweeping the floor, she finds the paw under the bed and keeps it with her.
That night, there is a big storm and heavy rainfall that causes all the apples in his field and the whole village to fall down before ripening. So, he worries that he won’t be able to make the remaining liquors as per the deal. When the trader comes back, he asks him one month time for the remaining bottles, but the trader gives him only two weeks and tells him that he’d have to return the money given in advance if he can’t make it.
Seeing the deteriorating situation at home, Tara makes a wish to solve the problem. The next day, their son Bardaan is run over by a tractor and dies. Both Ramesh and Tara are very much saddened by the incident. They get 1,50,000 as a compensation from the owner of the tractor. Ramesh is able to give the trader all the money he owes through this. One day, while gong to bed, Tara tells Ramesh that the paw works as she’d wished to solve the problem. She cries and demands her son back. Ramesh fights with her not to use the paw again, but she makes a wish to return their son. Suddenly, there is a tap on the door. But Ramesh struggles to get the paw from her and wishes they don’t want their son back. When Tara opens the door, there is no one.
Ramesh throws the paw outside, which is picked up by Bardaan. With a flash, he disappears.
The mysterious girl now walks somewhere as if her mission has been accomplished.
The camera is as big as a CCTV and does not use tapes for recording. It saves everything on a hard disk. There were some technical problems in the making of the film as it was the first time the film makers were using the camera. They had to walk a few hours to a cyber café to ask the company for instructions.
"Superbly crafted, seductively acted, meticulously directed. No longer will we have to be embarrassed about Nepali movies." — Kunda Dixit, Nepali Times
“It is not easy to bring out an impressive film with new faces, but Bhusan did it brilliantly. All the three protagonists, Saugat Malla (Ramesh), Deeya Maskey (Tara) and Nima Rumba (Krishna) are new faces but nowhere in Kagbeni are they seen as novices... It provides you with the taste of western films including the love scenes which are free from vulgarities.” Bishnu Gautam, The Rising Nepal national daily
"This movie sets a benchmark for Nepali movies." — The Himalayan Times '''
Kagbeni was expected to be a trend-setting Nepali film with new taste of technology and story for Nepali audience, which it did to some extent. Although the cinema halls didn’t see the response as was expected, it started off really good with new director and actors. Dahal was a music director and this was his debut film. Similarly, Saugat Malla and Deeya Maskey are well known theatre actors. Nima Rumba is a popular singer. The movie was hyped for its sizzling kissing scene between the two lead actors.
After Kagbeni, there have been some new movies of the same quality in the pipeline. “Sano Sansar” by music video director Alok Nembang is based on youths in urban city and “Mission Paisa” is an action movie.
Meanwhle, Dasdhunga, an investigation based movie on mysterious death of Madan Bhandari and Jiv Raj Ashrit in 2050 BS and 13246, a documentary-cum-movie on the decade long Maoist conflict in Nepal are set to release soon. Dasdhunga is directed by Manoj Pandit and 13246 by Apil Bista.