To chase and pocket your stars

Dechen Choki

With her acting debut made in the romance series ‘Chasing Stars’ followed by a protagonist role in ‘DessupMapaem, Dechen Choki is at the top of her game

LHAKPA TSHERING

Thimphu

With films increasingly contributing to shaping the life courses of many young people, 21-year-old Dechen Choki from Chhokhor in Bumthang is at the top of her game to jump onto the acting bandwagon.

Although she was not really keen on acting, she made her lead acting debut in the first Bhutanese romance series ‘Chasing Stars’ which eventually helped get her into acting. Not long after that, she cast the role of protagonist in a new Samuh original movie ‘DessupMapaem’ – a film yet to be screened.

“My friend suggested I try experimenting in a movie that I haven’t thought about. But I thought, well, I will do it,” she recalls, adding that she felt a little anxious in front of a camera being a debut actor in the film.

Now, she is hopeful. Seeing all things working together in such beautiful harmony, Dechen says, she is confident about things working out for her to be ready for the life of an actor.

And the supportive team and perhaps family and friends, that has led to her early successes, she said, was quite an accomplishment. “My team had done a fantastic job of preparing me where my acting abilities grew significantly over time,” she added.

The rising star wants to continue acting but also prepares her to pursue tertiary education. “I completed high school and am yet to enroll in college,” she said. She completed higher secondary education at Jakar high school in Bumthang.

“The future is unpredictable but hopefully by then, I will have made many memories. Even if I am no longer acting I wish to look back on the past years and be proud of myself and have no regrets,” the 21-year-old said.

Besides, Dechen says fantasy has always fascinated her. “There are a lot of imagined things in it, and it’s more fun to make them up. It would be fun to experience such a role,” she said.

While she enjoys every bit and disappointment is inevitable, she is prepared for the commitment and remains enamored with it.

“I wanted people to enjoy it but I also know I cannot please everyone, so I am ready for any backlash. This is acting and I think we never know how the audience would react. All we can do is hope for the best to reach our full potential,” she added.

In her brief period of acting, she said, the best part is about the whole experience of people she met, the places she has traveled, and the mentors who helped her learn more things about acting.

Also, she said that it requires courage, mental strength, and resilience to prepare for her next schedule. “When this is balanced, we are more capable of dealing with negative emotions and thoughts,” she added.

Given the manifold scope for actors, she said, all trying to survive and achieve dreams. “The actors who have worked in films are not competitors but they are people I look up to, especially the female actors I aspire to be like them someday,” she continued. “Everyone works very hard in their own world and so I am.”

Dechen advises those interested in acting to not be intimidated by the lights and keep on trying. “People in Bhutan do not showcase their talent because they are afraid of what people might think about them. I too was hesitant,” she said, adding to be fearless as every actor has gone through the same feelings.

She thinks they are just ordinary youths who happen to do extraordinary things from time to time. “If someone had told me two years ago that I would star in a series I would have never believed them but here I am now,” she said.

Meanwhile, with the emergence of over-the-top (OTT) platforms, she said, it has definitely been a game-changer in the country given the hard times such as the ongoing pandemic. 

“The times are hard right now and people cannot go out for movies like they used to. The digitalization of movies has eased their life and given them something to look forward to. They can now avail themselves of everything with just the touch of their fingers,” she added.

The new movie ‘DessupMapaem’

Dechen Choki has also acted in the new movie ‘DessupMapaem’ that will screen on 17 December coinciding with the national day celebration. She says the movie is free and will be available for streaming on the Samuh app – OTT.

She tells that the story basically revolves around a girl who is a bit on the heavier side and feels the need to lose weight thus ending up with the decision to join the desuup training thinking it would aid in her dream to achieve the weight she always dreamed of.

“In the end, she has an epiphany of everything she thought was important until now. She realizes that means nothing and gains the understanding of why people sacrifice their time and choose to volunteer for the service of the nation,” she narrated.

With excitement, Dechen said the role she is portraying in this movie is completely different from the earlier movie.

“That’s why when I played the role of the main character, it felt different. This isn’t some rom-com focusing on the love life of two people. The movie would for sure spark anyone’s patriotic heart,” she said, hoping all audiences will definitely enjoy the movie as much as they enjoyed shooting it.