He's a monk from Ladakh, who was sent to Darjeeling when he was all of two and later to Bhutan for his further studies. Thuksey Rinpoche didn't know Ladakhi and his native culture, but he credits local films for teaching him the language and traditions.
"I feel movies are the one thing from which you can learn," Rinpoche said during the inauguration ceremony of the third Ladakh International Film Festival here Friday.
He is the spiritual regent of His Holiness Gwalyong Drukpa, the head of the Drukpa Lineage that has 267 monasteries in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
"I left Ladakh when I was two. I was sent to Darjeeling to study for 12 years and then went for further study to Bhutan. I came to Ladakh only three years ago and I realised I couldn't speak Ladakhi. Now I'm comfortable with it and I learnt the language through Ladakhi films.
"We have a small film industry but we used to get DVDs, so I picked the language from films and songs. I also didn't know the traditional dress, the wedding ceremony, I learnt it all from films. So, from my experience, I can say films can be a great learning experience," he said.
He even said he is happy that Ladakh has a small group of people interested in filmmaking and that events like LIFF could help the keen ones "learn and improve".
"From there on, we can preserve our rich culture. I have a dream to help the youth of Ladakh and to serve the Buddha dharm."
The Ladakh region has a handful filmmakers, who are hoping that financial support, government aid and the availability of right infrastructure will someday change the course of their life. There are no proper avenues for film screenings as well. However, plans are underway to build a Ladakh Film and Culture City to nurture talent.