What a person watches and listens to, reveals a lot about his/her character and attitude as well as perspective. So here is a brief on the teams all time favorite movies in their own words.
Kinley Wangchuk (Bjob Ganchu) – The one with the vision to set the course, the man behind it all.
Dances with the wolves
I watched it when I was in my early teens and the movie was so enchanting that it made me start to worry that the movie would end. But to my sheer delight the movie went on for almost three hours. Immediately after completing the movie, I told myself that this was going to be my all time favorite. I must have been around 16 years old at that time. Also, I always connected with the Native Americans and at times I wonder if I was one of them. The bison hunting scene in the movie is what I remember the most and I could almost feel the excitement, like a déjà vu; as though I went through the same experience once – probably in my previous life. And I wonder. But I am yet to stumble upon the answer.
Kunga Tenzin Dorji (Supe) – What you get when God blesses someone with the whole package, except for the ability to stop the biological clock from ticking.
For a person who watches less than a dozen films in a year, it is still difficult to choose a favourite film. That’s because I am very selective. There are many films I consider memorable. Most of them are obscure. So lemme pick a better known from among my favourites. I’ll go with the cultish Pulp Fiction, which I have watched more than 10 times. Even by today’s standards, Pulp Fiction would be considered avant-garde. For the mid 1990s it was truly groundbreaking. It is essentially a crime story told through four discrete stories of a hit-man, a crime boss’s wife, a struggling but deranged criminal couple and a boxer. Four stories that trundle and suddenly jumble together through a twisted plot that one struggles to make sense of. Eventually, everything falls together and in place. The film is a puzzle in that sense. That’s why it gets better each time I watch it.
Pulp Fiction blew my mind because it is a seething cauldron of quality in story-telling, plot construction, characterisation, dialogue, humour and brilliant acting. This is the film that relaunched the careers of John Travolta and Uma Thurman while catapulting the name of Samuel L Jackson into the top tier of stars. The film is just stellar from every angle. Like many other Tarantino movies, Pulp offers scenes that can be taken in isolation as study samples for film students. If there is one I had to pick from this film, I’d recommend you watch the one scene about a prized family heirloom, a watch. We never see a flashback story but learn about the unparalled importance of the watch through the words of an army veteran played by the inimitable Christopher Walken. YouTube it. If you get the humour, chances are you will like Pulp Fiction as much as me. For the average movie buff, Pulp Fiction is not easy to watch. Appreciating it takes a higher than average level of intelligence and an ability to read jokes that take an hour to tell. But once you get it, it’s a fun ride… every-time.
Kunzang Choden – The yakkiest and the yelliest.
This for me is one of the saddest films of all time. The thing that makes it even more devastating is that it is a true story. A successful businessman Oskar Schindler risked his own life in order to save the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. Even thinking about it I am having tear flashbacks.
This film has the power to shock, to make you feel sick to your stomach, to fill you with anger and leave you devastated. No matter how much we think we know about the Holocaust, the brutality and horror shown in the movie truly allows us to witness the destruction and murder of an entire race. Some scenes are very difficult to watch and yet we must watch in order to get hold of the nightmare those people, men, woman and children went through. The film offers us both hope and a chance to see the power of human kindness, not from some superhero but from a flawed man, who saw what was happening around him and did something to help. It is beautifully shot in black and white and near the end, when Ishtek hands Oscar the ring and letter signed by the survivors, is much powerful than any scene I have ever watched on film.
Kinley Dorji (Shengap) – Looks like a kid but acts and talks like an old geezer.
A Vested Astrology/ Tsip chelo
Tsip Chelo depicts our age old tradition of astrology. Directed by Kinga Kinley Tshering in the year 2018, the story revolves around the actor Nedup Dorji who is a madman but claims to be an astrologer. He, without any knowhow on what astrology is all about, plays around with the basic concept of astrology and dupes people claiming he is a great astrologer and extorts money and jewels from people. Overall, the movie depicts how strong our tradition is and teaches us not to meddle with something we don’t have any knowledge about.
Jigme Thinley Dorji (Aku Teedruk) – The silent joker.
It is the movie which made me lose totally interest in 2D movies. It totally blew me. The characters in the movie were unique and it was really amazing to witness the creation of unique characters and culture from those creative minds and make us believe in the possibility of different beings around the universe, which is way too bizarre even to just imagine.
Kinley Phyntsho (Crazy, Weird & Kinley in between) – The sharpest wit.
Choosing your “all time favorite” film is like choosing your favorite child (it’s obviously the eldest one and me being my parents first born has nothing to do with this statement). Many films come to mind but the one constant is the scene of Sandra Bullock tumbling and spiraling endlessly in space from the film ‘Gravity.’ The film stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney who play astronauts trying to survive in space after their spaceship is destroyed. The film does an amazing job of making the viewer feel the terror that astronauts, particularly Sandra Bullock’s character, are going through. It doesn’t help that most of the film is agonizingly silent with only a few odd sounds every once in a while. Personally, silence has always been a cause of anxiety for me. When I watched the film in theatres and again recently it made me uncomfortable. The sound of rapid and frightened breathing, the feeling of horror over not being able to communicate with someone, talking to yourself to break the silence, and it does not hurt that the actors do such a great job in immersing the viewers in their current state of panic.
‘Gravity’ is not my all time favorite, I don’t think I have an all time favorite but it is definitely a film that has had an impact. It made me nauseous, it made me uncomfortable and it also gave me an existential crisis because much like Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s characters we are all just small, insignificant dots living on a small blue dot that is floating in an infinite void and that realization much like the movie is terrifying but amazing. P.S- SPOILER ALERT but I think George Clooney saying “You should see the sun on the Ganges, its amazing” is one of the best final words ever.
Dawa Drakpa (Baby Boomer) – Our very own Mozart.
The story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, through the eyes of rival composer, Antonio Salieri. The film is complete with an insightful script, magnificent acting, wondrous sets and costume designs, incredible choreography, and, above all, the glorious music of Mozart himself. The movie is told in flashback mode, beginning in around the year 1822. An old and perhaps emotionally disturbed Antonio Salieri attempts suicide, and in doing so, apologizes for killing Mozart some 31 years earlier. He survives and is admitted to an insane asylum, where he tells a young priest his tale of jealousy and mediocrity. A tale told beautifully which won eight Academy Awards. It is a masterpiece that must be viewed multiple times to receive what the film has to offer. The emotions of humanity, through the eyes of the troubled Salieri, indeed speak for all of mediocrity.
Ratna Maan Tirwa (Adm Saar) – Cannot handle his booze.
Thor: The Dark World
I like the concept of the hammer that Thor uses to subdue evil. Even in our religious history, similar themes resonate. I grew up listening to and reading about how our spiritual masters used to subdue demons with their spiritual power. Interestingly, in the movie Thor uses his primary weapon – his hammer to subdue dark characters which I personally found very intriguing. I like the movie for the concept as well as the characters.
Tashi Pelyang Lhendup (Kasharepa) – Among the oldest but still the rowdiest.
Rang De Basanti
The movie which kicks off with the monologue ‘I always believed there were two kinds of men in this world, men who go to their deaths screaming, and men who go to their deaths in silence. Then I met a third kind…’ sure did awaken the patriot in me. It touches upon and pays tribute to the lives of martyred soldiers who fought for and continue to fight for us (which is something that we can very well relate to). In a rare departure from the regular patriotic Bollywood movies, this is not one that sings grossly exaggerated praises of the country.
Rang De Basanti showed me reality. It showed me India through the eyes of innocence. It shows a clear difference between Patriotism and Nationalism. Even in our case, the former is what we need – respecting and admiring our culture, and making sure that it stays respected, even if it means questioning the authorities so that our people can co-exist in peace. Nationalism is simply blind devotion to the country. A Nationalist believes every decision that is made is good, and that no one should be allowed to question it. Personally I subscribe to Mark Twain who said ‘Patriotism is supporting your country always and your government when it deserves it.’ So I guess that makes me a ‘Not-A-Nationalist.’ This movie helped me come to the realization that true patriotism means loving one’s country, but not blindly. True patriots would constantly want to improve their country… but only by understanding and coming to terms with its shortcomings.
This is a movie way ahead of its time; it also pays tribute to our mothers (a theme that resonates strongly with me). It is an emotional ride into the life of a mother, who loses her son while he was serving his country. There is no other movie that matches the boldness and youthful energy of this movie. It has it all, the blood, the suppression, the fascism…..the effect of globalization of industries where ordinary people are trampled upon for profit, and lives are lost for just for the sake of a business agenda. Rang De Basanti is a masterpiece and synonym of perfection…a perfect blend of everything – actors who canvassed every single emotion beautifully and with such flair, direction, music, cinematography, choreography, screenplay, storyline, narration, romance, friendship, humor, patriotism, politics, emotions…et al. Everything is just…wow!!
Usually, Bollywood uses a lot of songs to create emotions which reduces the subtlety of a situation and adds more drama. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that. But the songs in this movie continue to give me Goosebumps even to this day. They are all (yet again) a perfect blend…of faith, anger, sorrow, violence, misery and aspiration. The soul in the songs are un-definable. Mere words cannot encompass its worth. No one else in the Indian music industry could have done justice to a movie of this caliber other than the living legend and music wizard A.R. Rahman…..a true gem, the rarest of the rare kind. All the songs in the movie, which set the tone for the narrative, were extraordinary compositions indeed; those were proud moments for Indian music. Just to put matters into perspective as to how soul-stirring the songs were, Lata Mangeshkar, who was known for recording songs in one go, is said to have taken upto four retakes just to even start the first line of the song Lukka Chuppi, which is a song during which the mother realizes that her son is no more. It is said that Lata Ji was rendered so emotional due to the lyrics that she cried four times, each time she uttered the words ‘Lukka Chuppi.’
For the record, Lata Ji was seventy six when the song was recorded and therefore age just might have something to do with what happened during the recording. But, like in the movie, I wish that people all over the world would, forget all the boundaries created by the barriers of religion and politics and come together just once, for the sake of Humanity. But then again, I KNOW that that’s just wishful thinking.