Vol. 5 Num 201 Thu. December 16, 2004  

The stellar role of cultural activists in our Liberation War
Keeping alive the spirit of Liberation War on films
Chashi Nazrul and his inspiring creations

Chashi Nazrul Islam is the director of the first full-length movie on our freedom struggle-- Ora Egaro Jon. This mainstream cinema director has also made few other popular films on the Liberation War such as Shongram, Hangor Nadi Granade and Megher Pore Megh.

Commenting on Ora Egaro Jon, Chashi says, 'Ora Egaro Jon is a milestone in our film industry. If this film had not been made the masses would have missed the spirit of the freedom struggle. I got the idea of the theme from the 11-point demand of the students, which motivated our leaders to call for Independence. Moreover, the 11 heroes in the film represent the 11 sectors of our freedom struggle.

'I formulated the plan to make the film during the Liberation War. Most of the performers and crew of the film are freedom fighters. In February 1972, we started work on the film. In those days, it was really difficult to make a film on the Liberation War. We had no dummy ammunition or explosives to picturise a credible war scene. I got huge support from two people-- cinematographer MA Samad and actor Khosru. We did not have much technical support. However, by using his experience and vast knowledge, Samad Bhai could overcome the limitations. Khosru lead all other performers in the war scenes by using real arms and explosives, which is the main aspect of the film,' he adds.

But, Chashi was fortunate to get support from the Bangladesh Army during the making of his second film on our Liberation War--Shongram, which was made in 1973. Shongram depicts the contribution of the military personalities, who made a immense contribution during our Liberation War. And it was a better work than the earlier one.

In Hangor Nadi Granade, based on Selina Hossain's novel, Chashi has presented the freedom struggle from a different angle. The film is basically narrative and few war scenes were shown logically. More than reality, Chashi tried to catch the emotion of the viewers in the film. Hangor Nadi Granade is the tale of an elderly lady who sacrifices her only son to save the life of two freedom fighters. For this movie, Chashi got an award at the national level. Chashi says, 'National award was introduced in Bangladesh in 1976. As I made the other two films before introduction of national award, I did not get an award.'

Recently, Chashi has made another film on our war for freedom. Based on Rabeya Khatun's story, the movie Megher Pore Megh presents the contemporary time, though the Liberation War plays a vital role in the film.

However, Chashi Nazrul Islam is frustrated with the preservation system of these films at Bangladesh Film Archive (BFA). According to Chashi, BFA is a kind of 'warehouse'. He says, 'BFA has no proper preservation system. As a result many good movies, which serve as important documents, in the process are destroyed. Maximum films like Ora Egaro Jon, Shongram and others are not in a position to be screened. After taking the reprint of the negatives of these films, those reprinted negatives should be preserved properly in the archive. Otherwise there will be no documents for the future generation.'

Chashi is currently not making any new film on the Liberation War but intends to do so in the future. He thinks, more films should be made on this issue to generate awareness among the future generation. 'The history of our Liberation War should be regularly screened in the electronic media,' says Chashi.

R-L: Khasru, Sumita Devi and Sabita in Ora Egaro Jon