Ladakhi filmmaker plans telefilm on wife-sharing

Leh, Sep 18 (IANS) Dechan Phyang, 40, is one of only two female filmmakers here. Not one to be afraid of addressing important societal issues through her craft, she has decided to make a telefilm on the "unpleasant" concept of wife-sharing.

"It's very sad that wife-sharing still happens in some parts. Two, three brothers share one wife. It still exists, and it doesn't feel good. So I have decided to make an hour-long telefilm on it," Phyang said told IANS.

Phyang's first telefilm "Miphm Othisl" was telecast by the Leh station of public broadcaster Doordarshan.

The gleam in the 40-year-old's eyes shows the happiness within her for having beaten all odds and ignored vile comments to become the artiste that she is today.

She studied only till the ninth grade, started working as a theatre artiste at 22, performed as a folk dancer, and got married at 25. Now a divorcee, she and has a 16-year-old daughter who studies in Delhi.

Phyang says she was looked down upon when she started working in the "entertainment" field in this Jammu and Kashmir district, where filmmaking is a niche and nascent art.

"When I used to walk around, people used to say, 'Dekho, dancer aa rahi hai, actress aa rahi hai (Look, the dancer is coming, the actress is coming)'. People used to backbite about me, and sometimes when I used to reach home at 10 p.m. or as late as 1 a.m. in getting back home, you can imagine the kind of comments I had to hear. I used to feel like crying," she said.

But the wagging tongues didn't stop her from pursuing her dreams.

Times have changed now.

"Now many people want me to cast their daughters in my films, and there is also another female filmmaker by the name of Disket Shay. I believe people will slowly improve and open up," Phyang shared on the sidelines of the recently concluded Ladakh International Film Festival (LIFF) here.

Post the 2010 flash floods across Leh, Phyang also began training a group of 15 boys and girls in local cultural activities.

"I thought it could be a means of earning for them. Children have impressionable minds, and I did not want them to indulge in any wrong activities due to lack of activity or funds. It turned out to be good," recalls Phyang, who says she always found strength in the thought that "whatever I was doing was to keep my local culture alive".

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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