Following the sun

By Indira Laisram
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There’s never a dull moment in the life of Sunod Shrestha, an actor, sportsman, graphic designer, entrepreneur—all rolled into one

Actor, model, brand ambassador for a fashion show and a clothing company, sportsman, graphic designer, entrepreneur, government worker —Sunod Shrestha is a product of a culture that does not think talent and circumstances are in opposition.

From being on the cover of magazines to playing the role of a Gurkha in Gallipoli, a seven-part Australian television drama miniseries to being a founder of an events company S-Events and Multimedia to working for the government, Sunod seamlessly blends into the Australian landscape where his talents make him seize the opportunities that the country offers.

When he left Nepal for Australia at the age of 18, Sunod was already into the music scene as lead singer of local band Deafening Silence. He was in Year 10 of high school and growing up in Kathmandu which had lots of rock music, punk and heavy metal influences, he desperately wanted to be a rock star.

“Although still in school, we got into inter-college competitions by faking our signatures as college students,” he laughs. While his band didn’t go on to win, it nonetheless earned them a huge confidence.

“We won the best event company that year, an award given by the Indian Executive Club where former Australian premier John Howard was the chief guest”

Coming to Australia in 2007, Sunod knew he wanted to study multimedia. “After my music gigs, I had some knowledge about music, I also wanted to study acting as I love watching both Hollywood and Bollywood movies. Basically, I had an interest in the world of media and entertainment.”

While studying for his Diploma in Multimedia from Cambridge International College and later a Bachelor’s degree in the same from Swinburne University, Sunod was trying to find work, like most international students. “I wanted to do something where my passion was, so even though I was a student I started doing events as that was my background back home in Nepal as well.”

He felt confident enough to make videos and designs as a freelancer. He enjoyed success hosting a one-time costume party called Express Yourself. Later, he would also do videos of popular Nepali singers such as Sanjeev Singh, Indira Joshi and bands such as Axix and The Buds.

This exhilarating sense of discovery made him get on to bigger projects driven by that sense of community and purpose. So, he started doing events for the Nepali community in Melbourne and invited all the big artistes from Nepal. “There is a big audience for them here.”

Once the Nepali market got saturated, Sunod went on to doing Indian events. His fluency in Hindi, a language he learnt out of his sheer love for Bollywood, worked to his advantage. He brought famous Bollywood singer Udit Narayan, Lucky Ali, as well as actor and director Faran Akhtar to packed audience in Melbourne.

By 2013, his company known as S-Events & Multimedia was a well-established name. “We won the best event company that year, an award given by the Indian Executive Club where former Australian premier John Howard was the chief guest,” he proudly says.

Outlining his eventful career, Sunod says his company produces two events every year, one is called Jatra, which he organises during the month of March when the festival of colours Holi is celebrated particularly among some of the South Asian communities. Jatra is his annual signature Nepalese street food festival with music and colours which he started in 2012. The other is an indoor event, which goes by different names every year.

Sunod at the Indian Executive Club Awards 2013

One highlight in his career is organising an electronic dance music (EDM) international festival in Nepal where he brought four globally famous DJs  to perform at the Deja Vu Club in Kathmandu. The four comprised DJ Brooks best known for his collaborations with Martin Garrix, DJ Da Candy best known for her works in trap, hip-hop, jungle bass, jersey club, moombahton music genres, a singer, songwriter and an artist, DJ The Shadow who is the instrumental hip-hop innovator, and DJ S3RL (pronounced “Serk”), an Australian hardcore DJ and record producer also known as Jole Richard Hughes.

But, as his career progressed, Sunod became more expansive about the narrative power of success and ventured into other careers as well.

“I worked with Vodafone, Telstra, Optus as project manager, while events were on side by side because doing events is my primary passion.”

Soon he got bored of working in the telecom sector and opened his own restaurant called Thamel Food & Bar at Lygon Street which he ran successfully from 2014 to 2016. “I had it for almost three years and then sold it at a good price,” he says.

“The community here in Australia is also very good and has never given me any moment to miss Nepal and the culture I grew up with. I have been working with the Indian community here too, so I am socially culturally tied here”

To use cricketing terminology, Sunod became an all-rounder as he jumped on to another career taking on the role of a client business manager in an education company Expert Education, where he worked from 2016 to 2019. “I got a good offer as soon as I sold my business because of my business, people and customer relationship skills.”

Right now, Sunod works with the government for six months of the year and has, of course, kept his events company alive. He is just waiting for the pandemic to be over so that action starts rolling on that front. “We are planning something big again in Nepal,” he reveals.

In the course of his long career, Sunod says his passion keeps on changing every few years. “The beauty about Australia is it gives you so many opportunities.”

Clearly, Sunod manages to show his repertory is vast. His acting career, for one, is worth mentioning. “I used to do short videos, modelling and was on the cover for magazines such as Kancha Kanchi and Plus 977. I also did a video of popular Nepali singer Sanjeev Singh which garnered more than a million views.”

Based on the success of his music videos, Sunod did a diploma in acting and then started working in the field. “Agencies here approached me after which I joined a company. Then I appeared in TV shows such as Winners & Losers, Wilfred and Comedy Central. I also cherish my role as a Gurkha in Gallipoli.”

Recently, Sunod signed a movie with an Australian producer for a Nepalese feature film.

Sunod’s focus is on all his careers. As an officer for the Australian government for which he works six months of the year, he has the rest of the months for his creative pursuits.

He is continuing with his videos and small skits on Facebook, where he boasts of having more than 50k followers. That has given him the avenue to showcase his own merchandise called Unstoppables. “It’s a hoodie brand, we sell clothing and T-Shirts, and the brand is very popular. Last year we made 500 hoodies and sold it in a couple of days. Thanks to the videos, we are able to sell our merchandise,” he says.

Perhaps it won’t be wrong to assume that Sunod has outpaced many of his peers from Nepal in at least one respect: he has not had a dull moment in Australia.

“I love being called an Australian Nepali, but your heart is Nepalese because that’s where you were born. I fell in love with Australia immediately, and both countries have equal value in my heart. The community here in Australia is also very good and has never given me any moment to miss Nepal and the culture I grew up with. I have been working with the Indian community here too, so I am socially and culturally tied here.”

Refreshingly versatile, Sunod moves through the world with a drive and passion. “For the future, I would like to give something back to the community,” he says, adding, “I am a bit of an influencer, people follow me so I want to give positive information to everyone and be a good role model.”


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