Vol. 5 Num 632 Thu. March 09, 2006  

3 International Film Festival Bangladesh

50 years of Bangladeshi Cinema: An overview

Over 3,000 films have been made in the last 50 years since Bangla ‘talkies’ made its debut with Abdul Jabbar Khan’s Mukh O Mukhosh. But, how many of these movies have achieved the international standard of aesthetics? Renowned film critic and cine journalist Anupam Hayat, who is also the author of Bangladesher Chalachchitrer Itihash, a brief history of Bangladeshi cinema, discussed the issue in a seminar titled "50 years of Bangladeshi Cinema: The aesthetic achievement".

The seminar was held at the Begum Sufia Kamal Auditorium, National Museum, as part of the ongoing 3rd International Film Festival, Bangladesh, on March 6.

Hayat used two quotes of film critic Lui Buluel and Abdul Jabbar Khan respectively prior to the discussion: "80 percent contemporary movies should not have been made" and "Nowadays filmmaking is a kind of business. None dare to make films for the welfare of the country, society and the masses, rather they seek personal benefits."

Anupam's paper included several sections: The standard of Bangladeshi cinema in the context of the international movie arena, an overview of the aesthetic value of Bangladeshi films and the present scenario of the film industry.

"In the 110 years of the global cinema, with the introduction of modern technology, presentation and preservation have become innovative and easier. Films are now dealing with diversified subjects for the films. And these movies can now be seen on satellite TV channels and the Internet. Our films deal with a few stereotypical subjects and in most cases these films are made haphazardly, often because of lack of technical know how. In this context, what are the prospects for our film industry?" questioned Hayat.

He further added, "Cinema has a unique quality which is different from other art forms. However, because of the paucity of knowledge on cinematography many of the popular films made by the Bangladeshi filmmakers cannot be considered ‘cinema’ at all. Most of the films are akin to plays made in 35 mm format. The filmmakers regard movies as a means of storytelling, rather than creating visual magic. Hardly any Bangladeshi movie demonstrates the touch of modern techniques such as intellectual montage, expressionism, avant garde, surrealism and others. Most of the filmmakers do not even have social commitment and aesthetic sense to make quality movies.

"In the history of our film industry we can mention only a handful of films which have attained aesthetic value -- Jago Huwa Savera, Aasia, Je Nadi Maru Pathe, Shurjosnan, Dharapat, Kokhono Asheni, Kancher Deyal, Anwara, Jibon Theke Neya, Stop Genocide, Shurja Konya, Shimana Periye, Shurja Deghal Bari and others."

Though the Film Development Corporation (FDC) was established in 1957 and National Award on filmmaking was introduced in 1975, only a few Bangladeshi films -- Jago Huwa Savera (1959), Shutorang (1964), Abirbhab (1968), Shurja Deeghal Bari (1979), Dahon (1985), Agami (1985), Chaka (1993), and Matir Moina (2003) have bagged awards in the International Film Festivals.

Hayat feels that there has been a gradual decline in the standards of our contemporary films. Many popular movie theatres are being transformed to shopping malls. To prevent vulgarity in movies, law enforcement agencies have taken some initiatives. However, Hayat finds room for hope in talented directors such as Sheikh Niamat Ali, Morshedul Islam, Tanvir Mokammel, Tareque Masud, Abu Sayeed and others.

Chinmoy Mutsuddi was the moderator while Rafikuzzaman was the panel discussant at the seminar.

Anupam Hayat (2nd-L) speaks at the seminar. PHOTO: STAR