WHERE IS SHANGRI-LA? IMAGINING KATHMANDU IN FILM

Dikshya Karki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Shangri-La, a mythical kingdom in the Himalayas, continues to fascinate tourists, writers, and artists since John Hilton first wrote about it in his novel Lost Horizon (1933). This chapter explores the imaginative geographies of a utopian Shangri-La in Euro-American cinema. More specifically, it argues that Shangri-La has most enduringly been located in Nepal, with its capital city Kathmandu providing many of the features that have come to be stereotypically associated with a Himalayan form of eastern mysticism. Films such as The Night Train to Kathmandu, released in 1988, and Doctor Strange, released in 2016, disclose a world of transnational imaginaries and colonial fantasies. At the same time, the warm reception of these films in Nepal indicates the role of Orientalist mythmaking and popular culture within tourist economies and local aspirations to gain a share in global markets.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Asian Cinemas
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages156-164
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781040038048
ISBN (Print)9781032199405
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

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