Its been a long time since I last watched a Bhutanese movie. Gasa Lamai Singye is the the last I watched in the 90s. After a long gap, last evening I watched a recently released Bhutanese film in Samtse cinema hall. The movie quite surprised me by it's excellent visual and sound effect. Compared to Gasa Lamai Singye they were too good. I started to appreciate Bhutanese movie makers.
However my appreciation was soon marred when I noticed that the movie wasn't much the Bhutanese way. There wasn't any Bhutanese scent about it. It rather sent out an aura of a Bollywood or Hollywood film.The acts, dialogues, dresses, dances, hairstyles, songs, the story and the theme, practically everything were but aping of Bollywood and Hollywood movies. (Here I must make a point clear. I don’t mean to undermine Hollywood and Bollywood movies in anyway. They are absolutely great film industries doing a great job)
If Bhutanese movies pick such trend, it would be detrimental to the health of our tradition and culture. In fact, I didn't have to wait long to see it's effect. It was already taking toll on people who watched the movie that night. As everybody came out of the hall, people talked about how they enjoyed the film. Some of them talked about how the hero fell in love with the girl, eloped, fought villains and eventually got married. Some talked about the agility of the hero in pant and shirt attire in dance. Young girls talked about the beauty of the scene in one of the songs done in a foreign country. Boys talked about how beautiful the actress looked when she wore pants and skirts and the acrobatic, Kung-Fu like fight style of the hero. When they talked about such stuffs they are bound to try them because often we do whats in our minds.
I wanted to check with other Bhutanese movies and the next day I bought some Bhutanese film CDs and watched them. To my surprise, they too were tainted by Bollywood and Hollywood influence. Moreover, the movies centered around one theme i.e.love. As most love stories end on a pleasant note by way of marriage or reconciliation, it doesn't leave anything much for the viewer to think beyond, thereby teaching nothing. There is more to learn in life than just love. Duty, sacrifice, racial abuse, substance abuse, commitment, health, education, you name it.
Bhutanese film industry should produce educative movies, touching various themes. In doing so they must be mindful of the culture and tradition of our country. It should learn from movies like Gasa Lamai Singye, the old one NOT the new one; from Ap Wang Drukgyel, the old one, NOT the new one. They reflect true Bhutanese culture. The dialogues, the dress, the story, the songs, the act, everything is just so Bhutanese and thus worth emulating. The only shortcoming is in the visual and sound effect but that’s fine because back in 90s we didn't have much tech and even if we had, there weren't many technology savvies. Movie makers must be conscious of keeping the films consistent to the values and principles of Bhutanese tradition and culture.
PS:This is a personal opinion. Some may want to rebut my opinion. That'would be fine. because we would be starting a discussion over the issue because it needs to be looked into before our unique, age-old culture gets diluted any further.