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!