Vol. 5 Num 431 Fri. August 12, 2005  

Tini: A documentary on Mazharul Islam and his works

Mazharul Islam is known as the pioneer of modern architecture in our country and justifiably so. He emerged at a time when 'modern architecture and 'architects' were unfamiliar concepts to the masses. Modernity for him was not a departure from roots. Response to our culture, tradition, topography and climate were all present in his architecture. He was the first one to incorporate ethnic elements into western architectural style.

Tini, a documentary by Architect Enamul Karim Nirjhar, features Mazharul Islam and his remarkable designs. The 46-minute-long film, produced by Bangladesh Architects' Institute, was screened at the Shaheed Zia Auditorium, National Museum on August 10.

Mazharul Islam was instrumental in the commissioning of Louis I Kahn to design the Shangshad Bhaban (Parliament Building). The realisation of this project has put Bangladesh on the architectural map of the world.

Islam has been a jury member for several prestigious national and international design competitions and awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the headquarter building of the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building at Riyadh among others.

Special guests at the event were Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed and acclaimed artist Qayyum Chowdhury. Followed by the speech of president of Bangladesh Architects' Institute, Mobassher Hossain, Professor Sayeed said in his speech, "I still remember those days when Dhaka was in the process of urbanisation and the buildings in old Dhaka looked pretty much the same. I was mesmerised when I saw the Charukala (Fine Arts Institute) Building. It looked nothing like the other buildings of its time. Mazharul Islam's work has never ceased to amaze me. I still remember being obsessed with the ramp at the public library as it was the first one I've seen."

Qayyum Chowdhury said, "We were fortunate that Mazharul Islam designed the building of Charukala. Not only artists, any one with an aesthetic sense would agree that the building is unique in its composition."

The documentary featured famed designs by Mazharul Islam, such as Nipa Bhaban at the Dhaka University campus, Jibon Bima Corporation Building, Jaipurhat Limestone and Cement Project, National Archives and Library, Jahangirnagar University, Chittagong University and Charukala Building. The film also included comments on Mazharul Islam's designs by noted Bangladeshi and internationally reputed architects.

A view of the Fine Arts Institute Building. Mazharul Islam (inset)