During a Task Force meeting at the Motion Picture Association of Bhutan in February, the General Secretary, Sherab Gyaltshen declared that 26 Bhutanese feature films were produced in 2011 alone, out which 18 of them flopped. He added that 10 of the producers may never make films again.
Since the first Bhutanese feature film ‘Gasa Lamai Singye’ was made in 1999, a total 194 films made can be credited to the toddling film industry of Bhutan. But if we consider 2011 as a trend, we are not even toddling. The question is, why are our movies flopping?
This was discussed in February by the Task Force, which was formed to master plan a ‘way forward’ for the Film Industry. Can we prevent the flops? That was the question. The consensus was that it should be left to the ‘market forces’.
The success rate of the films at the box office are attributed generally to the regular film makers and production houses who make high budget films. The flops come from new try-out producers and new directors. With the notion, ‘anyone can make films in Bhutan’, try-out directors lure try-out producers/financiers to make low-budget films, promising success. On the other hand, financiers pick out inexperienced makers and crew to cut costs.
Box office turn-out also is very seasonal and good marketing is necessary. Some good movies released at the wrong time suffer. The on-going movie “Sadhanam” was released as movie-goers had spent their money on children in the beginning of the academic season.
Makers who believe songs should not be there in movies get the number one flop. The Bhutanese audience being premature, hit songs are a must to prevent flops.
Even if a movie is good, and if a person who has seen it makes a wrong comment, movie-goers respond to it and do not go to the movie. After all, at the Trowa theatre it is Nu 1,000 for a family of five. Left to the market forces, many new producers and financiers will face flops. Moviegoers have plenty to choose from and they have developed a taste for good quality.
( The writer is a film maker and a sound engineeer)