There will hardly be a Nepali who will not have heard a Kandara song. Their popular songs would play on the radio and the television – and would be embedded in our hearts and minds. Nepalis at home and away till date recall the song when they have to play their favorites – especially Hong Kong Pokhara.
Hong Kong Pokhara was released in 1998 – and made a significant impact on the Nepali Diaspora population. Today, in 2021, its singer, Bivek Shrestha continues to work with, and for the benefit of the Diaspora, and has recently made a decision to head MNTV Australia – a global Nepali Diaspora media organization based in Melbourne, Australia.
When asked for his inspiration behind joining My Nepal TV (MNTV) Australia, Mr. Shrestha says that although the primary decision was based on his wish to connect and make an impact upon Nepalis across the world, he was further motivated to join the organization because of the “shared values and vision between MNTV Australia and his own self”.
He has currently led the success of the second season of MNTV Hall of Fame – a global, online, singing competition. Also a judge of the reality show, Mr. Shrestha shares some gripping views on the program:
“Very often, we (the Nepali Diaspora) are accused of forgetting our motherland. But that is not the case; in fact we are equally attached to our nation. Organising Hall of Fame is an example of mine, and MNTV Australia’s dedication to the Nepali people. Through this program, we have tried to connect with Nepalis living in all parts of the world (including Nepal) –with the power of music”.
MNTV Australia is one of the oldest Nepali Diaspora Media organizations in the world. Over the years, it has informed and entertained its audience – especially in Australia. But as it is with the demand of time, the organization needs to adapt and become better – Bivek Shrestha aims to deliver that. “With proper leadership, I wish to ensure MNTV Australia adds value in the lives of its audience, its partners, and its sponsors”, Shrestha adds.
“Of course there are several challenges, but I, and the team of MNTV Australia are committed towards overcoming them, and making MNTV Australia, a strong brand with a powerful presence in all countries”, he shares his determination.
Born in Pokhara, Bivek grew up in Waling, Syangja. The first member of his family to join the musical industry of Nepal, Shrestha remembers being hooked to the radio during his childhood days. “I used to listen to all sorts of songs on the radio, and try to sing them”, Shrestha shares with his iconic and graceful smile.
He and his friends would later found Kandara band, a musical group who would successfully establish the folk-pop genre within Nepal’s musical industry.
Reflecting on the changes within the industry since then and now, Shrestha while acknowledging that technological advancements have eased career pursuits for aspiring artists, he also contemplates if the same ease of access has contributed towards mass commercialization of the industry.
“Music needs to be born out of passion, but today, I feel, artists chase fame, success, and money, instead of the passion. Fame and money should be by-products, first the musician must focus on making beautiful creations”, Shrestha shares with a deep passion himself.
“Also, earlier the culture was different – a group of friends would get together to form a band, practice, and then finally create a song which was beautiful. Today, each activity is done individually, and then assembled finally – which gives a song a ‘factory production’ feel, he continues.
“Technlogy, I feel disconnects the artist with their creation, but that’s my perception. Others can and have argued against my views”, he concludes.
Shrestha, who has spent 12 years in the UK, and 2 years in Australia also has a message for the Diaspora.
“I have deep respect and admiration for the Diaspora – their love for Nepal is unquestionable. However, sometimes, I feel we are unable to shed certain behaviours – for example, when in Nepal we question the inability of Nepal to come under a proper system, but when we are abroad, and are presented with a system, we do not abide by it”.
“This is also one of the reasons why I have joined MNTV Australia – I believe media has the power and the tools to develop critical thinking within its audience”, he adds.
Sharing his vision for MNTV Australia, Shrestha,while ensuring community news and Diaspora information as the paper’s pillars, also wishes to explore new territories such as sports, music, entertainment, documentaries and event management.
Lastly, he thanks MNTV Australia for their belief, asks his fans to support MNTV Australia as they have supported him, and says he misses Nepal.
“Hopefully, my association will also allow me to travel to Nepal more”, he adds – his iconic smile still illuminating the computer screen as we conclude our interview.
Mr. Shrestha is currently living in Melbourne, Australia with his family. He has recently undertaken the task of leading MNTV Australia, a global Nepali media organization, and will help the group achieve their objectives.