First day first show: Richard Gere is my hero
Saturday, 19 May 2007, 10:47 a.m.
By Dhundup Gyalpo
“A JUMBLED MIX of conflicting emotions and contradictory realities that are part and parcel of daily life in exile,” I scribbled on a piece of paper, slightly taken aback by the request for my comments on “Richard Gere Is My Hero”.
I am not a film buff, nor do I ever pretend to be one. A stroke of luck had landed me at the film’s exclusive premier for writers and activists, following the one for the top echelons of Tibetan dignitaries, which included Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche and Speaker Karma Chophel.
In all honesty, the film was my first in a long, long time that I had watched as “a full-time job”. (I believe in multi-tasking my leisure hours. So when I am watching movies at home, I am used to doing other things simultaneously, like reading, writing and so on. )
For those who are eagerly looking forward to its release, the wait ends today. Its first public premier is slated for this evening at the Yongling school hall. As there is no system of advance booking, sources say that the queue to the ticket window could be extremely long. So, brace yourself for the long haul ahead.
“This film marks a new milestone in the careers of young Tibetan filmmakers,” the person next to my seat proclaimed his verdict, and I kind of agreed in part. Compared to Phun Anu Thanu, this was a giant leap forward. Lest you misunderstood, I must say the previous films or documentaries by Tibet Motion Pictures and Arts, including “Democracy in Exile” and “The Great Tibetan Laughter Show”, were also believed to have been quite popular in the exile community.
“Richard Gere Is My Hero” is a romantic comedy of 1:45 hrs length that revolves around the lives of four friends in exile–one of whom is a Richard Gere fanatic. It took six months for the duo filmmakers, Tashi Wangchuk and Tsultrim Dorjee, to shoot the entire film in and around McLeod Gunj, with a miniscule budget of eight hundred fifty thousand rupees.
Unlike the romantic comedies that we have been so used to, in order to enjoy this film, you need not leave your common sense back home. With such amusing characters as Acha BBC, Love Guru, etc., there are moments when you just can’t help laughing until your stomach and jaws began hurting. The film I think will be best remembered for its sheer entertainment value, that will lead audiences by their nose to the theatre.
To cut the long short, the duo directors have deftly squeezed in all the right ingredients for what could have been a flop-proof Bollywood hit: romance, action, drama, tragedy, and above all, a triangle love story. Exciting promos of the film on the local cable TV has already created some momentum. The organizers are therefore expecting over 600 people to show up at the premier this evening, when the chief guest, Deputy Speaker Dolma Gyari, will also honour the film’s cast and crew.
Although, in the larger scheme of things, the young Tibetan filmmakers–including Sonam Wangdu and Tenzin Gyathar (Metse), Kelsang Tsering (The Joy of Living), Thupten Nyima (Following Kunsel) and Sonam Tsetan (Tsampa to pizza)–may have much to catch up before they could stand comparison to the seasoned, senior Tibetan filmmakers like Tenzin Sonam (and Ritu Sarin), Tsering Rithar and Kesang Tsetan, the gap between the two is closing in by leaps and bounds. The day may not be far when in order to review a Tibetan film, you will not start by running a mental inventory of 101 things that could have gone wrong or short during the making of the film. Given that the creativity of our young filmmakers has to be confined within a shoestring budget, we habitually lap up their end produce.
They say Hollywood, or Bollywood for that matter, is run by a system of stars, i.e. when a film gets the backing of good stars, everything else trickles in, including the finances. I wonder about the day when we would be having our own system of Dollywood stars. Can you imagine?! It’s surreal, but very nice.