Past screening

Who Will be a Gurkha

Directed by: Kesang Tseten
Runtime: 1hr 15min Year: 2012
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Directed by: Kesang Tseten
Runtime: 1hr 15min Year: 2012
Country: Nepal, United Kingdom, Norway, Finland
Last Screened: Thu 6th Mar 2014

An unprecedented look at the 200 year old British military tradition of recruiting young Nepalese men for The Brigade of Gurkhas.

‘If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha’ (Sam Manekshaw, former chief of staff of the Indian Army)

In the mountain villages of Nepal, a 200 year old British Military tradition still plays out with the rigour of days of old. Teenagers and young men are recruited to the Brigade of Gurkhas, a special British army unit whose soldiers are renowned for their fearless military prowess.

The status afforded to a Gurkha in Nepali society is near unequalled, as is the salary, and year on year the few positions available are competed for with fierce intensity by the thousands of young men who apply.

With astonishing access to the gruelling recruitment process, award-winning director Kesang Tseten lays bare the desperation, hot tempers, caste prejudices and occasional high spirits that characterise these trials. Lucid and poetic, Who Will Be A Gurkha gets under the skin of this elaborate modern-day ritual, and observes the power relations at play for people serving in a foreign army.