Sometime ago, I went to watch a Bhutanese movie at a local theater. Along with my bunch of troublesome crazy friends, I booked tickets. I was excited, though. I was quite excited because I was watching the local production after long time back. Perhaps, the second reason could be I was fed up of watching Hollywood, Bollywood and Korean movies. The last reason could be Karma Wangzin, the film I was watching then was starred by my favorite local actor Chencho Dorji.
The story of the film is based on the protagonist, Karma Wangzin (Chencho Dorji) who falls in love head over heel with a married woman. And due to his true, platonic love to the keti (heroine) who is another man’s wife, Wangzin reaches heaven after his death. That’s the story.
Wow! A stealer of another man’s wife goes to heaven! A fantastic story line….
After watching this film I was very much tempted to steal others’ wives because there is no harm or sin in doing that until you show your true-mad love. Secondly my best local actor (hero) who is also my role model steals another man’s wife in the reel life. So why not me? Thirdly I can go to heaven after my death if I steal others’ wives. Now, definitely I will also start stealing others’ wives and go to heaven after my death. Ha! This is the impact of the film for me.
This film teaches a wrong morale to the already wife-stealing society of ours. Due to wife stealing or husband-stealing we have been seeing numerous cases of family disasters like domestic violence, child abuse, resorting to alcohol, mental trauma, divorces and family degeneration in Bhutan.
I appreciate the way the film portrays the love of the keta Karma Wangzin, so passionate, so true, and abstract. But I feel that the director of the film had misjudged his protagonist’s act and given wrong verdict by sending him to heaven after his death.
How can a wife stealer deserves heaven?
Karma Wangzin, the protagonist of the film is a dreadful sinner. He commits sin at first instance by falling in love with a woman who already belongs to another man. Secondly he commits even graver sin by intruding others’ private conjugal life and bringing interferences to them. Wangzin’s intrusion in her married life brings never-ending misunderstandings, frequent fighting and family disharmony.
Even Buddhism strongly defies stealing others’ espouses calling it a grave sin. So isn’t the protagonist deserves hell, despite his Bollywood kind of love and romance.
We may accept that the keti and her husband are not compatible and they are having some differences on which they fight every day. But the way the director uses the strategy of creating another crazy lover, Wangzin and making him to snatch the keti from her husband is morally wrong solution to solve this chronic relationship. May be the director of the film likes the idea of Karan Jahor, one of the Indian leading film directors, in his film Kabhi Alvida Na Kehena. But Karan Jahor received huge criticisms for encouraging adultery among the married people in this film, KANK.
The director of the film, Karma Wangzin should have taken another angle in the story to benefit the society and the problematic relationship he is portraying in this film. He should have tried to work out problems of the married life of the keti and her husband by sorting out the ingrained differences of the couple in a logical way or more practical manner. Compromises, sacrifices and giving time for each other are essential to a healthy relationship and they lack these qualities in their married life. These kinds of lessons should be portrayed to the audience through a masterly crafted action of the film characters.
Respecting the problems and concerns of one another is very essential in a healthy conjugal life. Or shouldering the responsibility of conjugal life seriously like giving each other full commitment and love and care should be the logical mantra to solve the problems of the chronic married life of the film heroine instead of dragging Wangzin to intrude into their married life and stealing her away from her husband. This story only encourages the viewers to steal others’ wives.
And for the keta, Wangzin, who deliberately tries to intrude into others' married life and steal a wife of another man despite knowing she is already married, should be punished by sending him to hell. This is how a film teaches the audience responsibly to respect others’ married lives, their relationships, their happiness and their privacy.
Now we would like to call BICMA’s attention to strictly filter the content of every film before their releases. It should thoroughly study the impact of the content of the film to its viewers and general public.
Since the Bhutanese film industry is more like a profit-making business to many local film makers. They go for more of entertaining the audience by screening beautiful ketas and ketis and portraying their undying love. Other ingredients include romance and beautiful songs.
To attract audience to make profit, undeniably to sustain their stand, most local filmmakers go against their ethics and disregard social responsibility of teaching audience a good morale through films. Every film makers should understand that their film content has huge impact to their viewers.