Good Karma Hospital is set in Kerala, but filmed in Sri Lanka. It was while on location there that she was reminded a visit to Nepal was long overdue both to see the land she grew up in, and also to visit ChoraChori.
“I like how ChoraChori hosts children in a safe environment, provides them with education and skills, and makes them independent, and that is what drew me to help them,” she says. “A lot of people know me, and I want to use that fame to shed some light on the issues of Nepal’s children and the efforts by charities like ChoraChori to address them.”
On this trip, Acharia also trekked to Ghandruk, visited Butwal, Bhairawa, and Arghakhanchi to meet her father’s side of the family. She does not remember the Nepal of her childhood much, and her impression of this trip is that Nepal is a little busier, but otherwise the same.
Does it feel like home? “I have lived in so many places that I adapt easily,” she answers. “So I am always partly at home, and partly an outsider everywhere. In Nepal, I found there are still people who think of me as family. And that feels good.”
Raised in Britain and Norway, Acharia calls herself multilingual and multicultural, but has not been typecast as someone from a minority community in films. She says: “I don’t look like a typical Asian. I could be cast as anything, from Caucasian to Latina to Asian. So being of mixed race is actually an advantage for me.”
Acharia’s parents spoke to each other in Ukranian and Russian, so she lost touch with Nepali. But she says she enjoyed being immersed in Nepali everywhere on this trip. In Godavari, Acharia asked in halting, accented Nepali what the girls learnt in tailoring class.
She has never watched a Nepali movie, but says she is open to acting in one if she likes the project. “But I do not like my voice to be dubbed, so I must first learn Nepali,” she adds in English. “Maybe next time I can answer your questions in Nepali.”