Gurkha Warrior: the Untold Story of Jungle Survival during the Malaya Emergency

A new war film following the untold story of Gurkha soldiers cut off from their platoon behind enemy lines is set to have its international premiere in Leicester Square, London, this September.

Gurkha Warrior, directed by award–winning Milan Chams, is set during the Malaya Emergency, when British troops were deployed to combat a Communist insurgency against colonial rule.

The film is based on a true story from memories passed down through the families of survivors involved in the original mission, corroborated by historian and author Gordon Corrigan MBE, FRAS.

The director, executive producer and leading actor are all former Gurkhas.

Gurkha Warrior director, Milan Chams, said; “This story is one that had to be shared with the world before it is lost to history.

“We have a saying that ‘Gurkhas are born in Nepal but made in Britain’ – so it’s only fitting that we have the worldwide premiere of this new feature length film here in London.”

The film follows the untold story of an event during the Malaya Emergency, where Gurkhas fought alongside the British Army. Corporal Birkha Bahadur Rai is played by ex-Gurkha Ritesh Chams, who was himself shot whilst on patrol in Afghanistan in 2010. Driven by the love of his family in Nepal, his platoon embark on a mission to rescue comrades who are missing following an ambush by the insurgents.

When asked about lead actor Ritesh Chams, the director said, “I wanted to cast a real Gurkha to portray the character in the story.

“During the research we contacted the families of former soldiers who served at the time to bring this incredible story to life,” said Chams. “The film showcases the unique history and culture of the Gurkhas through an extraordinary story of love, sacrifice and survival.”

During the Malaya Emergency, which lasted from 1948 to 1960, tens of thousands of Gurkha soldiers were deployed. The Gurkhas’ expertise in jungle warfare proved invaluable in overcoming the insurgency.

Ritesh Chams, who takes on the lead role, said; “It’s a privilege to be part of this film that gives viewers an insight into the bravery, integrity, loyalty and honour that defines the Gurkhas.

“Following over 200 years of history, and having served in the Brigade of Gurkhas, we all felt a great responsibility to share with the world this incredible story of the Gurkhas.

“There is still an air of mystery around the Gurkhas. This made it more important for me to embody Birkha’s character.”

The East India Company recruited Gurkhas after being impressed with their fighting skills during the Anglo-Nepalese war of 1814.

They have since then been part of the British Army and fought in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, both World Wars, since then almost all wars that includes Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gurkha Warrior, in Nepalese and Hindi with English subtitles, was shot in Nepal and Malaysia by London Cine Eye and Chams Entertainment.

The film is being launched in partnership with four charities, with proceeds going to Film + TV Charity, The Gurkha Museum, Walking with the Wounded and The Gurkha Welfare Trust.

Milan Chams finished by adding; “After the premiere, the film is set for public release at Vue, Cineworld and Showcase Cinemas across the country on November 10th, just in time for Remembrance Day.”

Gurkha Warrior is directed by Milan Chams, produced by Suman Rai and the executive producer is Prasant Thapa. It stars Ritesh Chams, Vijay Lama, Rebika Gurung and Kabita Ale.

by Andrew Drwiega