Sonam Chophel’s remarkable journey began as a dedicated flim crewmember, steadily ascending the titles to become an accomplished cameraman, and ultimately flourishing as a talented movie director. Notably, he even helmed the direction of the music video ‘Gaw mey Gaw may,’ in collaboration with the exceptionally talented Guinness World Record holder “Suchetha Satish”.
Currently, Sonam Chophel is orchestrating a reality show under the banner of ‘Melodious of Bhutan,’ in collaboration with a group of like-minded friends. This endeavor promises to showcase the nation’s rich musical talents while captivating audiences with its enthralling content. With his unwavering passion for the arts and a drive to foster creativity, Sonam Chophel continues to make a profound impact on Bhutan’s entertainment industry.Dorji’s remarkable ability to touch souls through his music.
Q. How did you initially venture into the film industry, and could you kindly elaborate on your very first enthralling role and the responsibilities that set the foundation for your illustrious career?
A. Towards the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, I found myself delving into the captivating world of the film industry. The path that led me there remains a mystery to this day, and I can’t help but attribute it to a fortuitous combination of luck and unwavering faith. As a mere student during those days, the thought of embarking on a journey in the film industry and immersing myself in its captivating essence never even crossed my mind. I used to collaborate with my sister, who has since passed away, and it was during this period that I had the serendipitous encounter with Phub Dorji. He was fervently engaged in creating a documentary film for the esteemed television, and fate had me participating in this remarkable project, marking my entry into the film industry. In this enthralling endeavor, I assumed the role of a supporting actor, and the experience only fueled my passion further. Subsequently, my journey took a new turn, as I embraced the role of an assistant director, immersing myself in the creative process and absorbing the essence of filmmaking with unwavering enthusiasm. This was just the beginning of what would become a deeply fulfilling and enriching career in the enchanting realm of cinema.
Q. Having served as a crew member and taken on the role of an assistant cameraman, among other responsibilities, we are curious to know about the hurdles you encountered during this journey and the effective approaches you adopted to overcome them.
A. I must admit that while serving as a crew member or assistant cameraman, I didn’t encounter any substantial challenges. My upbringing on a farm and my experience working in the fields prepared me well, and the film industry’s demands felt less strenuous compared to the physical toil in the agricultural world. Moreover, having experienced seniors to guide us provided a valuable safety net. However, when I took on the role of directing movies, a whole new set of challenges presented themselves. As a director, the weight of showcasing the movie to the public filled me with constant contemplation about whether I had done justice to my creation. This newfound responsibility demanded a profound shift in mindset, always aligning with the ever-changing times. Understanding and catering to the current trends and preferences of the audience became a crucial aspect of my creative process.
Q. When did you embark on your journey as a director, and could you kindly share with us the number of movies you have skillfully helmed to date?
A. For an impressive span of 8 to 9 years, I honed my technical expertise in the film industry, tirelessly dedicating myself to its enchanting world. It was in the transformative year of 2015 when I undertook the role of an accomplished assistant cameraman, further refining my craft and embracing the intricacies of visual storytelling. However, it was not until the remarkable year of 2021 that I finally stepped into the director’s chair to bring forth my creative vision, marking a significant milestone in my illustrious journey.
Q. Could you share your experience as the director of the music video ‘Gaw mey Gaw mey,’ featuring the Guinness World Record holder, Suchetha Satish? Additionally, could you tell us how you came across this incredible opportunity to collaborate with such a talented artist like her?
A. In crafting this exceptional music video, the gifted composer Lhab Tshering skillfully weaved the lyrics, while the melodious vocals of Tshering Dorji harmoniously complemented Suchetha’s enchanting voice. Collaborating with her was an absolute delight, as her vast experience in the industry made the process remarkably comfortable and seamless. Notably, the unwavering support from her parents further added to the positive ambiance of the project. Moreover, this creative endeavor served a higher purpose, as it aimed to not only celebrate the existing strong bond between India and Bhutan but also to forge even deeper ties, fostering a harmonious relationship between the two nations through the universal language of music.
Q. Have you acquired formal education or training in film directing, or did you gain your expertise through hands-on practical experience?
A. Despite a remarkable 13-year tenure in the Film Industry, it’s intriguing to note that I have traversed this creative landscape without any formal training or structured education in my chosen field.
Q. What, in your perspective, are the transformations and distinctions you have observed between the film industry of the past and the current times? Additionally, based on your insights, what measures do you believe should be taken to further enhance and improve the film industry?
A. Undoubtedly, a stark contrast exists between the past and the present in the realm of filmmaking. During my tenure as an assistant cameraman, I vividly recall lugging around an extensive load, comprising a 30kg bag housing the camera, batteries, and related equipment, along with an additional 8 or 9 kg tripod. The cumulative weight of nearly 40kg demanded immense physical exertion. However, as I reflect on the current state of affairs, I am compelled to question the necessity of an assistant, considering that today, all essential gear can be effortlessly contained within a single bag, which scarcely exceeds 5 kg in weight. This transformation, in many aspects, has undeniably made the process of filmmaking considerably more streamlined and manageable compared to the challenges of the past.
Q. What do you have in store for your future as a film director, and could you also share information about your upcoming projects?”
A. Presently, I don’t have any concrete plans set in stone, as my unwavering commitment to the film industry has been the driving force of my life for an enriching 13-year journey. As I envision my future, it is crystal clear that my passion for this captivating realm will continue to steer my path. In tandem, an exciting endeavor is underway, as my close-knit group of friends and I are actively engaged in crafting the Bhutanese reality show ‘Melodious of Bhutan,’ a project that is eagerly anticipated and soon to grace the airwaves with its melodious essence.
A significant number of our youth are unfortunately entangled in the destructive grip of alcohol and substance abuse. As the torchbearers of the future, it is imperative for the youth to steer clear of such harmful indulgences and instead channel their energy and potential towards endeavors that would enrich and enhance their lives. By avoiding these detrimental habits, they can pave the way for a brighter and more promising future, one that not only benefits their own well-being but also contributes positively to the prosperity and progress of society as a whole.