5 January 2006- The burden of taxes on the common people before the monarchy was established and at a time when Bhutan was ruled by petty chieftains forms the central theme of Dangphu, the last local film to be released in 2005.
The film, which is currently screening in Thimphu, tries to depict various kinds of taxes that existed then such as loenthrel, which was paid in kind (rice, butter, wood, grass, cattle, and land) and kamthrel, paid in cash which came much later.
Other forms of taxes like Thoja (tax for rented land), Thaekhu and Nagtsa (taxes in the form of ashes and soot), Shingthrel (in the form of woods), Deythrel (tax for making papers), and Wangyoen (taxes for the annual blessings) are also shown.
Lhachey, played by a newcomer Sonam Zangmo, and her father represent the common lot in a society who have to suffer to fulfill the demands of the rulers.
The movie also portrays the life of slaves, jowo and jam, and their life of discrimination by society.
Actors Phurba Thinley, Nidup Dorji and Rinchen Namgay try to add an element of romance and comedy in an otherwise serious film. While the movie is yet to draw packed houses many who watched the three-hour show said it appeared that a lot of research was done.
Most of the viewers Kuensel spoke to said the setting of the film and the untainted local language impressed them.
The producer of the film, Tobgyel, who is also the scriptwriter, actor and the lyricist, said that if the film informed viewers about the suffering of the past its purpose was served. He said that a lot of time was spent on doing research on the language, houses, dress and tools and utensils used.
The movie was shot in Kabisa and Namseling in Thimphu in 65 days and was directed by Karma Norbu and Karma Deki Dorji.
By Kesang Dema