First Bhutan-Bollywood Film Collaboration - Rolong: Make the Dead Walk In The Making


The film is expected to hit the theatres by the middle of 2020.

(Source: Facebook/Sonam Maekay Penjor)


By Sonam Pem BBS

With the aim of expanding the reach of Bhutanese films in the international arena, an ambitious movie project - Rolong: Make the Dead Walk, with a production cost of over Nu 100m is underway.

Touted as Bhutan’s biggest film project ever, Rolong is also the first Bhutan-Bollywood International film collaboration.

Expected to hit the theatres by the middle of 2020, the film is slated to be screened in over a thousand cinema halls across India as well as in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.


Photo: Facebook/Sonam Maekay Penjor


Filming began on 18 July, with a cast of two Bollywood actors alongside some Bhutanese actors. Rolong: Make the Dead Walk will be shot entirely in Bhutan.

More about ‘Rolong: Make the Dead Walk’

Unveiling the first look of the collaborative film project at a press conference on 17 July 2019, Faisal Saif, the Director of the film said that Rolong is a thriller.

“It’s very difficult to make a genre which is a thriller because you have to keep the audience hooked to their seat till the end and that’s a very big challenge. The film is not only a thriller, but it’s also a scary thriller, it talks about greed, betrayal, it talks about a country which is a very peace-loving and spiritual country, Bhutan and how an outsider who comes in the country and does certain demonic crimes. That is the reason why I opted for the subject. The subject is actually based on a popular myth,” said Faisal Saif.


Sonam Maekay Penjor's first day on the set of “Rolong-Make The Dead Walk” with Ace Director Faisal Saif.

Photo: Facebook/Sonam Maekay Penjor


Director Faisal Saif has directed Bollywood blockbusters such as 'Jigyaasa' which was based on the life of Mallika Sherawat and 'Paanch Ghantey Mien Paanch Crore' that has been listed as the top ten films of 2012 by The Times of India.

To cater to both regional and international audience, the actors in the film would be seen conversing in Dzongkha, English, Hindi and Bengali.

“It will be an entertaining potboiler as there will be lot of drama and thriller elements and the audience can expect a world-class film,” said Sonam Maekay Penjor, an actor in the movie and producer of Blockbuzster Productions.

He also revealed that the movie will have lots of twists and turns and will realistically portray Bhutanese culture and life.

Bhutanese actor, Tenzin Jamtsho will also play in the movie along with actresses Sonam Choki, Cheki Lhamo, and Karma P Wangmo.

In addition, a Russian-American composer will create the background score and post-production work will be done in Korea.

This will be the only Bhutanese film production company to shoot with a very sophisticated and high-end camera - The Red Epic Dragon on the 6k raw version.

Benefits which the Bhutan-Bollywood collaboration will bring

The project is expected to greatly enhance the expertise of the Bhutanese cast as well as to build the technical capacity and production value of the local Bhutanese films.


Photo: PaSsu Diary


“We have professionals from Bollywood in prominent positions as actors, artists and stars. We also have a director from Bollywood, a very well-known director known as Faisal Saif. He is a very popular director there and we also have a technical crew and cast from Bhutan in a very important position also assisting the director and we are learning from each other. It’s a capacity building on the job endeavour and this will only make the Bhutanese film industry go to a higher level. And hopefully, in the very near future, we will make such films that are comparable worldwide,” said Sonam Penjor, actor/producer of the film.

Challenges faced by the Bhutan Film Industry

Today, Bhutan’s film industry faces inadequate infrastructure, technical expertise as well as limited market share at the regional and international levels.

Yet the industry has made commendable progress in terms of improvement in the quantity and quality of films produced every year.

With this collaboration, it is likely to further raise the standard and expertise of the Bhutanese Film Industry, in the hope that it will garner both local and global attention.


This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.


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