Kolkata, December 5, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS) The Cinema of Bangladesh was till recently, confined to noted names like Tariq Masud, Tanvir Mokammal and some others. Of late however, more and more young directors are coming forward with courageous ventures that do not cater to the mainstream cinema of Bangladesh.
Masud, who has made internationally renowned films like Banglar Gaan, Matir Moyna (The Clay Bird) and Antarjatra, said that he would like to trace the history of the cinema of Bangladesh and focus more on optimism and hope for the cinema of the two Bengals (Bangladesh and West Bengal) rather than paint a depressing picture of the same.
Talking about the fragile situation of cinema in Bangladesh, Tariq Masud once said, “We get blocked by iconisation, which makes us forget the importance of continuity which is integral in artistic expression and social statement, the two integral elements of cinema as an audiovisual language of art and social concern.”
He added that the two things a few Bangladeshi filmmakers were currently working on were (a) damage control and (b) preparing the groundwork for a sustainable and creatively productive cinema in the country. A few have also sacrificed their creativity to contribute to the preparation of groundwork and damage control.
“Some problems of Bangladeshi and Bengali cinema are similar and some are very dissimilar thus they have to be tackled accordingly. While similar problems have similar solutions, problems that arise due to differences in contextual and culture-specific frameworks of the two countries need to be handled with caution and difference.”
Like a ray of hope for film lovers in West Bengal, the 16th Kolkata Film Festival (KFF) has three recent films from Bangladesh scheduled within the section Open Window of Contemporary World Cinema. The films are – Love and Repulsion (2009) directed by Morshedul Islam, The Journey (2009) directed by Syed Ohiduzzaman Diamond and Beyond the Circle (2009) by Golam Rabbany Biplob.
Love and Repulsion weaves an intriguing tale of female bonding exploring how women of different socio-economic strata can come together in times of crisis when men back away to help them, including their husbands. Can women together solve their problems in a predominantly male world? Yes, they can says this film.
The Journey is a story about a beautiful girl named Rupa who is forced into prostitution against her wishes. But she dreams of a different future for her daughter. She fails to attain her goal because the three male customers who she requested help from betray her trust, forcing her to commit suicide with her daughter.
But the dome Prakash who is her customer too, refuses to cremate their bodies because the belong to a brothel.
Beyond the Circle is about Haripada who plays the flute purely for personal pleasure. His talent with the flute attracts an entertainment company who want to project and market him for their own profit, networking with other related outfits such as event management, electronic and print media, p.r. companies, audio marketeers and corporate sponsors.
The story weaves its way to explore the contradictions that sprout up and grow when an individual artist who has no professional or financial axe to grind, is converted into a marketable commodity in a cut-throat competition between the individual and the market.
By Shoma A. Chatterji/IBNS