Nepal’s social media platform was awash with outpouring of grief at the news of the passing away of the renowned actor Thinley Lhondup Lama from the Caravan-fame. A permanent resident of Saldang-5, Thinley had fallen off a cliff at Chhepka in Phoksundo VDC, on his way back home from Dunai, the district headquarters.
Recently crowned Miss Nepal Asmi Shrestha was one of the many stars who mourned the actor and his craft upon hearing of his death. Writing a heartfelt message of Facebook, Shrestha said, “May his soul rest in peace. An artist may fall, but never his art.”
Thinley passed away on Sunday when he fell along with the horse he was riding after it was pushed by a mule passing through a narrow mountain trail, according to Ram Krishna Regmi, Thinley’s landlord in Dunai. The horse died on the spot while Thinley succumbed to his injuries soon afterwards.
The Caravan actor, who had stomach cancer, lived in Dunai and frequently travelled to Kathmandu for treatment.
Thinley played the lead character in the 1999 adventure film, Caravan, directed by Eric Valli. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Film Award at the Oscars in 1999. Valli met Thinley in the 1980s in Dolpa where he was the village chief.
After the unprecedented success of the movie, Thinley became a household name and was feted as the first Nepali global film star. He also made a mark in the Nepali music video industry through Nepathya’s Sa Karnali.
Many on twitter were quick to point out the cruel irony of Thinley passing away having fallen off a cliff. “RIP Thinley. Sad to hear of his passing, falling off a cliff…full circle?” questioned user @prabeshshr, referring to the most iconic and visually arresting scene in the movie, where a mule, from the caravan Thinley’s character is leading, falls off a precipice.
Others lauded the actor for taking the stories from Nepal to the global stage. “RIP Thinley!,” another user @mohanrppn1 tweeted, “A real hero who introduced Nepal and Karnali civilisation to the world.” On Monday, Thinley’s body was airlifted to Kathmandu. The funeral cost for the actor will be covered by the governement. Thinley is survived by his four children.
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