Dhaari Nhaaba is a film about modern Bhutan, of a changing society and Bhutanese parents struggling to balance their time between work and family. Because the film is about parents, it is also significantly about children and the challenges they face at a time when traditional values are fast flying out the window.

If modern films have lost their principal role in the society, to help hold mirror up in our face, this one is a little different in a way that it succeeds in calling home the importance of being respectful, compassionate and caring towards elders and others. It urges us, especially working parents, to look at the way we bring up our children. The message hits us hard in the heart.

Sangla, played by Gyem Dorji, comes to live with his son and daughter-in-law, who have in between a daughter (of about nine years), only to realise that modern families in the fast growing urban centres have little time and respect for traditional family structure, much less space.

The film begins with daughter-in-law Namduel, played by Sonam Choden Rinchen, entering the mansion late after a night party someplace else. Tension builds in the family.

Sangla tries his best to adjust to the new life in a new environment with commendable acting. He is compassionate and takes what he gets by way of treatment from Namduel in a way that is sometimes painfully accepting. Sangla breaks a vase upon a day, accidently, and Sangla must look at the world beyond the walls of a happy home. The symbolism is powerful.

Actors inhabit in their characters well and segue professionally into the plots. Juxtaposition of times gone by and that of the cinematic present comes out bare and raw. Misfortunes have their curious ways to visit us every now and then, but it is love, respect and care for each other that hold us together. Wealth and lifestyle changes may be important in a rapidly changing socioeconomic space, but they do not necessarily bring peace and contentment in the hearts of an individual.

This is the principal message of the film.

Directed by Kesang P Jigmee, the film bagged eight awards at the National Film Awards 2018,.  It also won one of the Prime Minister’s Award.

The two and a half hours film is showing in Trowa Threatre in Thimphu.

Rinchen Zangmo