Sunday, May 2, 2010

Shhh… Galuya Malab

I went for the premiere of a new movie – Shh.. Galuya Malab. It is another movie by my friend Tshering Wangyel but with Tsokye Tshomo Karchung in the lead and also executive producing it. Knowing both Wangyel and Tsokye, I had a huge expectation from the film. Especially because of Tsokye’s sensitivity to social issues we face in this country.

The film tells the story of Deki (played by Tsokye) - a successful career woman but who contracts the deadly virus. Tshering Phuntsho plays her arranged fiancée who accidentally infects her. Her career and her life come to a halt only to be rescued by her jobless and happy-go-lucky childhood friend (played by Karma Chechung).

I must say, all in all, I was not disappointed. There was, of course, the “necessary” dose of commercialism in the first half, with disjointed sub-plots and dance numbers, that does not take the story forward. But I know, and Wangyel tells me, without these the film won't sell. And there is no use making a film that won't sell. The wonderful tweaks by Phurba Thinley and Gyem Dorji keep you going though.

But once the film moves beyond the turning point, every scene, every plot and even the song sequence is powerful enough to move the hall. Tsokye is brilliant in her role and so is Karma. Tsokye, Karma and Tshering Phuntsho together with other younger likes of Chencho Dorji and Tandin Bidha are whom I call the “young guns of the Bhutanese cinema.” Hopefully they would take our cinema to the next level. They are young, they are energetic and they are in the industry because they are passionate about films.

Shhh... Galuya Malab is a must-see. For one reason. It is brutally honest in depicting a major flaw in our character – the hypocritical behaviour of our society that is quick to act on ignorance rather than on sound reasoning or logic or on jampa dang ngingzhi (compassion and altruism) that we proclaim to have as Buddhists. Film is a powerful mass medium that is also supposed to make you think, contemplate and discuss. This film did make me think.

If I have to coin a one-liner for the film – It is a movie with a meaning.

If you have never seen a Bhutanese film, start with this one!


  1. tashi delek... to Bhutanese films

  2. I have never seen Bhutan or otherwise never visited North East India. The photo graph you have taken are marvelous and its own class describing the peace, gorgiousness and confidence of Bhutan.

  3. well, then thats good. sounds interesting. and that too from a person who hv won awards from international societies for making documentary movies.
    well, generally speaking, bhutanese movies, i watch because its a bhutanese movie. qaulity wise, of course not mentioning technical parts, even a story part, and directional part, bhutanese movies are just some replication of hindi flick. sheer bollywood; right from the way a hero woes a girl. of course i am not making any comments here on bt movies. i dont know anything about movie making. i am just a cinegoer.
    i feel like bht movies lack originality. it doesnt show much that that is bhutan except for the places. i wonder even the place will end soon with people starting to shoot in foreign lands. i appreciated only three bhutanese movie so far; Golden cup, tsering meto, and Chepai bhu. i feel these movies have a real sense of originality and practicability. it somehow relates ourselves to the culture. otherwise, rest movies are sheer bollywood style. even songs nowadays are some replication of hindi musics. we keep on talking about piracy, and we forget that piracy starts from our own industry.
    hope bhutanese people make movies with issues that portray bhutan, and add to the contribution of solving it. as of now, movies sounds so commercial. making people sit for hours with some songs, and dances.
    i take pardon if at all i have written something that doesnt make sense in the very context.

  4. I rarely make any public reviews of Bhutanese movies because it would have a discouraging effect on them. But when there are few good ones, I take time to write about them. This was one of them. Not because it was anything great or original but because I could see the sincere efforts put by the filmmakers to address the issues - HIV and stereotyping.

    But you are right in your observations. Our movies lack originality except for few you mentioned - plus I would add Perfect Girl, Lengo and Ratho Namgay (made by Phurba Thinley). Turning the issue around it also got to do with our (middle class) apathy towards our films. Meaning if our middle class can support them by going to the theatres, then there are filmmaker wanting to move away from Bollywood copy cats. If not, then our mass (as Tshering Wangyel told me) wants Bollywood copy cats only.

    I do make my complaints directly to the filmmakers though and since now I am in a position to do something, my office is supporting a award for the best film on youth and values. Hopefully there would be few films imparting our values to thousands of children who are great fans of Bhutanese films