Samdrupjongkhar was one of the first dzongkhags in the country to get a cinema hall in 1950s, where people mainly watched Bollywood movies.

But when the Bhutanese film industry is growing today, the town does not have a cinema hall, as the then-popular cinema hall is turned into a warehouse.

Bhutanese movie producers, who come to screen movies in the town, have to use multipurpose halls of schools.

Jangchub Gyeltshen, 22, who came to screen a movie in Samdrupjongkhar, said he announced in local channels thrice that he was going to screen a movie, ‘I am Sonam Kuenga Namgyel’, from August 10 to 12 at Samdrupjongkhar middle secondary school’s (SMSS) multipurpose hall but he didn’t get the hall, as it was occupied for other events.

“The expenditure I have spent for announcement went in vain and I made another announcement saying the movie will be screened from August 14 to 16.”

“If there is a cinema hall, I would not have faced such issues,” Jangchub Gyeltshen said.

He said that he brought the chairs from Samdrupjongkhar primary school paying the transportation charges, as there were no chairs at SMSS’s multipurpose hall. “I paid Nu 2,000 a show for the hall.”

He said people do not turn up to watch movies in school multipurpose halls. “Many people prefer to watch in cinema halls because of the infrastructure.”

Jangchub Gyeltshen said it would help both movie producers and the people if the government or private individuals could build a cinema hall in the dzongkhag.

A Samdrupjongkhar resident, Pema Lhaden, 30, said only one or two movies are screened in the locality every year. “We love to watch Bhutanese movies but we do not enjoy in the multipurpose halls.”

Another resident, Nidrup Zangmo, 40, said Samdrupjongkhar is a hot place and they cannot watch movies in school halls and makeshift huts where there is no air conditioning.

Meanwhile, the president of the Film Association of Bhutan, (FAB) Karma Tshering, said Samdrupjongkhar would soon have a cinema hall, as His Majesty The King granted land kidu to FAB for cinema hall construction in Samtse, Bajo in Wangdue and Samdrupjongkhar.

He said that Construction Development Corporation Limited will execute the constructions works and the government is funding the construction.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar