Nargis Akhter talks about her latest film "Abujh Bou"
Filmmaker Nargis Akhter has carved a niche for herself through films that usually convey significant social messages. The debut film Meghla Akash, dealing on the subject of HIV/AIDS, was highly acclaimed and won six National Awards in 2001.
Though Akhter's films usually highlight social issues, they cannot be categorised as 'alternative' cinema -- a genre characterised in our country by films made by Tanvir Mokammel, Morshedul Islam, Tareque Masud and others. Akhter calls her films 'mainstream' -- a combination of wholesome entertainment and social awareness. Her films have all the basic components of conventional commercial cinema like songs, dance, comedy, and melodrama. The cast too is made up of popular mainstream actors.
According to the filmmaker, "Majority of the cine-goers in our country are from lower-middle class and they want clean entertainment, suitable for the whole family. I want to focus on their preferences."
Akhter's latest venture Abujh Bou, is based on Tagore's short story Shamapti. The film focuses on the coming of age of a tomboyish 14-year-old rural girl, Mrinmayee, and her 20-year-old husband, Apurba.
Akhter has kept the story intact but changed the time and setting to give it a contemporary feel.
In Tagore's story Mrinmayee and Apurba met by a river. Nargis, however, introduces them in a mango orchard in her film. Newcomer Priya plays the role of Mrinmayee. Popular actor Ferdous plays the role of Apurba and seasoned actress Babita plays Apurba's mother.
Nargis Akhter completed a course on video media from Centre for Development of Instructional Technology in Ahmedabad, India.
Besides Abujh Bou, Akhter is working on three other films. Megher Kole Roudh is the sequel to Meghla Akash, which is now in the censor board. Poush Masher Pirit is based on Norendranath Mitra's short story Rosh. Shortcut-e Barolok is the other film Akhter is working on.
Nargis Akhter (C) with actors Babita (L) and Ferdous