Vol. 5 Num 539 Fri. December 02, 2005  

Bidrahi Padma set to make big waves on small screen

Filmmaker Badal Khandokar's new venture, Bidrahi Padma is set to hit the small screen soon. The film will be premiered on Eid-Ul-Azha on ntv. This is the first film production of ntv. The film has an impressive star cast with Ilias Kanchan, Popy, Riaz, Shams Shumon, Dr Ejaz and Shahidul Alam Shachchu, among others.

Bidrahi Padma, a novel written by Askar Ibne Shaikh, narrates perhaps one of the most remarkable stories about the rural Muslim and Hindu communities of East Bengal (now Bangladesh) in 1925. Shaikh is particularly remembered for writing social plays. He has closely observed the livelihood of a rural community living in the chars of the riverside. This group is dirt poor and does not have the resources to buy properties on the mainland. Rioting, killing and abuse of women are regular features in the char areas. Many live in fear of the zamindars and their lathial bahini. The film also deals with teachers, fishermen, farmers, weavers, boat-makers and folk-singers.

Talking about his unique approach and directorial techniques, Badal says, "My intention was not to differentiate this film from that of the others. The aim is to convey the script to the viewer in the best manner. I've tried my level best to capture what the author had etched out in the original story."

Adds Badal, who has had a long and successful innings in the Dhallywood film industry as a director of romantic films, "Bidrahi Padma has all the ingredients of a commercial entertainer -- star value, social issues and mushy romance. In the film I have tried to capture the scenic beauty of the river Padma. I've also tried to depict the on screen relationship between Riaz and Popy in a passionate way. For the first time Popy has enacted a widow's character in this film. To my contentment, she skillfully underplayed the character. Shams Shumon reveals his acting skills, while Riaz delivers an outstanding performance. I consider people as my main subject. It was really a good opportunity for me to work with the people who live on the banks of Padma."

Asked about the technical angle in the film, Badal says, "We have very few post-production facilities in the country. Filmmakers often have to go abroad to develop their films and for the subtitles, so that they can have a quality print. Bidrahi Padma, is a slick production in that sense -- made with a sizeable budget and an impressive star cast. This film is replete with high quality picture and sound, something that is unfortunately not noticeable among most commercial Bangla films. The special effects were done on the sets. In addition, we have even changed the style of taking the shots. I used hi-tech wide grade lens camera, which is not available in our country. The digital cinema technology delivers pictures with incredible clarity and vibrant colours, thus provides a quality viewing experience. The advanced digital cinema sound technology recreates true movie theatre sound."

Not surprisingly, Badal is upbeat about the response to his latest oeuvre. As he says, "I love to work on realistic issues and genuine concerns of the masses. In a nutshell, Bidrahi Padma contains wholesome entertainment in a glossy package. This movie will hopefully make a favourable impact on the audience."

Riaz and Popy in a dramatic scene from the movie