Living a star-studded life

Phuntsok Dhonden

Phuntsok Dhonden won the best male debut award after starring as the antagonist in the “film Sem gi Bakchha” at the national film awards for 2020

LHAKPA TSHERING

Thimphu

The film industry came as an enormous game-changer for 26-year-old Phuntsok Dhonden from Hongtso in Thimphu, who shot into fame after winning the best male debutant award for his antagonist role in the “film Sem gi Bakchha ” in 2020.

This was his calling to be an actor after he was being exposed to something different in his life and further cemented his acting image when he took up the lead acting in the first Bhutanese romance drama series “Chasing Stars”.

“Although I was quite anxious at first, I was also very curious to experience it, which led me to accept my first project in 2019. It was then that I got passionate about acting,” Phuntsok Dhonden shared why the film meant so much to him.

He realized acting is already changing his life. “Acting has made me explore new places that I think I would have never come across and also meeting new people and getting to know them while experiencing and enjoying the process of acting was blissful,” he said.

He went on to say that acting has helped him grow as a person. “The best part of being an actor for me was the love and support that I received from people,” he continued, adding that love and support from people have lifted his spirit.

Although the screening of “Sem gi Bakchha” had to halt due to the pandemic, he is proud of what the film accomplished. “I was very fortunate to have won the award,” he said, adding the movie is set to be screened in the theaters once it reopens.

“To be recognized and awarded the best debut actor by the film association was just overwhelming,” he added. “Having played a role as an antagonist I did not expect I would win.” 

And with a star-making performance, the romance series “Chasing Stars” fascinated and excited him given that it was a project first of its kind. “I had always been keen on trying something different and that prompted me to take up this project,” the 26-year-old said.

He said the result has been gratifying and the appreciation and love he received were enormous and “it just motivates me more to come up better”.

In his quest to pursue acting, Phuntsok Dhonden is building to play a different character that he said was challenging roles. “Since I’ve just acted in a couple of movies and there are many roles to experience to grow and explore as an actor,” he said.

“There have been a couple of projects that I couldn’t take up and I have still a couple more yet to decide,” he said. “But whatever my next project will be, I will make sure to be another treat for all those Bhutanese movie enthusiasts and for those who have loved my work.”

As a debut actor, however, he thinks it is challenging especially during the initial stage. “There is always a lot of effort we have to put in and in entertaining people, I had to get out of my comfort zone to do things I had never done,” he said.

“Being a reserved person and a newbie, I was nervous about acting. And to be prepared for the shoot regardless of your mood was another challenge. Waking up early and staying up late nights for the shoot was another arduous task,” said Phuntsok Dhonden.

Asked how he stands out amidst competition in the entertainment industry, he described him as a non-competitive person. “As a novice in the film industry, I have no such thoughts about competing. I have my mind on the work and I try to give the best for myself and for all those who believe in me,” he said.

With the entertainment industry growing, he has a dream to venture into movie making while also looking forward to having gained experience and have developed as an actor. “My family has always supported me with every decision I made and acting was no different,” he said.

In addition, he feels the emergence of over-the-top (OTT) platforms has added value to the development of the entertainment industry in the country. 

“It has made it easier for viewers who prefer watching online to access various Bhutanese movies, series, music videos, documentaries, and many more contents at reasonable subscriptions rates,” he said.

During such times of global emergencies, he feels that OTT platforms have opened doors for more opportunities for other talented and aspiring artists and filmmakers into the entertainment industry.

Besides acting, he has been engaged in running his family’s business. “When I enjoy what I do, it doesn’t feel like a chore and I take a break for months before I take on a new project and have that time for myself and my loved ones.

Phuntsok Dhonden completed class 12 from Pelkhil high school in 2012 and continued his tertiary education at Royal Thimphu College and later in Amity University in Delhi, India. However, he could not complete his course due to some personal reasons.

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