Gross National Happiness

Amar and Gunaraj are not only close friends, but also Happiness Agents who work together for the Happiness Ministry of Bhutan travelling door to door measuring people’s happiness level while searching for their own among the remote Himalayan mountains. On their mission, they encounter various people chasing their dreams. This satirical road movie through a mosaic of different stories discovers the real desires of a society behind a national identity created by the Happiness Ministry of Bhutan, a closed country for centuries.

In a small Himalayan country Happiness Agents are working for the Ministry of Gross National Happiness (GNH). They are collecting data for the Happiness Survey in order to create 5-year-happiness plans to increase the Happiness Index of the society. It is hard to imagine that a country like this really exists in our modern world. But in Bhutan, considered to be the last Buddhist Kingdom, everything is about Happiness!

The film follows two Happiness Agents, Amar and Gunaraj, who are like an odd couple, the Bhutanese Laurel and Hardy. While Gunaraj is a serious family man, Amar is a relentless romantic, who dreams about finding a wife. His day job is to document happiness in others’ lives while he is in search of his own. Through their journey, we encounter everyday people from different social classes, and we also get to know their personal stories and aspirations. Meanwhile through the national TV we see GNH history from the kings’ speeches, the often cheesy GNH songs and the endless educational programs about GNH. This film is a heart-warming, multi-layered exploration of what happiness means to individuals, as opposed to what it means to a nation. On a broader level it questions happiness rankings, but on a personal level it searches for happiness in the smallest of places.