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Linking Young Minds Together
 Volume 3 | Issue 25 | June 26, 2011 |


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Call For Future Media Professionals!

Promiti Prova Chowdhury

After the vacuum of middle class, comes the honorary poor who are poor with little money. They are the best friends of the Unquestionably (UNQ) Poor hero or heroine. Duration of their life is very short as they give up lives in order to protect the heroes.

If I ask you -- “What is a frame?” , you would probably answer that it is a metal structure inside which something is preserved, presented or stored. But what if I say “frames” are everywhere, and in everything that you see? Then you might think that I am talking about nature, concrete structures and alike. Now, think about the frames inside your mind which you often create with your imagination.

Yes, this is how the students of the Department of Media Studies and Journalism (MSJ) of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) were motivated to think in the day long forum titled “Framing in Bangladesh” held on June 16, 2011 at its auditorium. At the beginning of the programme, Associate Professor of MSJ, Anis Pervez described the Frame Theory established by noted philosophers and sociologists.

Speaker and students at the forum, "Framing in Baglasdesh". Photo: ULAB

Frames are structured through experiences that we gather in day to day life. We like to stay inside the frames that we construct inside our head and we see the world through them. It's like a map, a schemata or a pattern at the back of our mind-a cluster of our pre-conceived ideas. For instance, if we are to respond to the phrase 'Music of Bangladesh', the first thing that might come to our mind is 'folk'. This is because, that is the base best known to us and has been nurtured through ages. So, it is the core frame, but then again, today we have fusions and different other genres. Similarly, each of us have our own ways of perceiving things around the world.

Apart from these philosophical and theoretical discussions, the forum highlighted how these theories are applied in the Bangladeshi media. Particularly, it focused on the mainstream Bangladeshi commercial films, to say more specifically, the materials of the film industry popularly known as Dhallywood. Here came the legendary character of Dhallywood movies- “Chowdhury Shaheb!!” Now, who is this “Chowdhury Shaheb”? The answer came out through the presentation of Imtiaz A Chowdhury, Lecturer of MSJ, where he discussed the frames used in mainstream Bangla cinemas. He showed the socio-economic structure portrayed in these films: Extremely (Unquestionably!) rich-Almost Rich-(absence of middle class!)-Honourary Poor-Extremely (Unquestionably!) Poor. The very first category is represented by “Chowdhury Shaheb” who is extremely influential, lives in a duplex house where there is a drawing room with sofas and curtains made of velvet, carpet made of deer skin, and a bar. The popular choice of his profession would be industrialist, smuggler, godfather or Matbor/ Zamindaar, if it is a village! And of course, he is father of the hero in “Goriber meye boroloker chele” or the heroine! He is extremely villainous throughout the movie but in the end suddenly turns into a “100% good” human being! This frame is so recognised that even Facebook has a group- “Chowdhury shaheb!! Ami gorib kintu amar ekta status ache!!!”

Let's come to the second category. This category is 100% “greedy” and “evil”! They usually portray the characters of Chowdhury Shaheb's friend or friend's son, business partner of business partner's son, head chela (disciple)of Chowdhury Shaheb if he is a smuggler, or, another potential godfather or godfather's son. This category's role is to manipulate everyone in the movie. In the end, there is 50% chance of their getting arrested, 40% chance of dying, and 10% chance of suddenly turning into “good human beings”!

After the vacuum of middle class, comes the honouary poor who are poor with little money. They are the best friends of the Unquestionably (UNQ) Poor hero or heroine. Duration of their life is very short as they give up lives in order to protect the heroes. After giving the last message of 15-20 minutes they die in the lap of the hero or heroine but the wonder is, why they are never taken to hospital immediately!

Lastly, there was the UNQ poor. They are honest and hard working. Their special traits are high self-esteem, unity, huge body (in spite of lack of nourishment), and a mother with supersonic power that is shown at the end when somehow she protects her son from Chowdhury Shaheb!

The central theme of a mainstream Dhallywood movie always has to be the “Holy prem” (Holy love)! (Of course, with a huge financial gap!). And the greatest threat to this eternal love, Chowdhury Shaheb, is dealt with the dialogue, “Mukh shamle kotha bolun chowdhury shaheb, taka diye apni shob kinte parleo valobasha kinte parben na...!”

Now, the question is why the Dhallywood movies are made like that? Is it because, the frames of the target audience are like that? If yes, then is consumption influenced by production or production influenced by consumption? Takes back to the question: which one came first? Egg or chicken! The answer was given by Head of MSJ, Dr Jude Genilo. After a question answer session he said, there's no escaping from frames, we need frames in order to survive as we are governed by them. But as a media professional, you have to be conscious about the frames of the receivers for bringing the desired effects. At the same time you have to keep upgrading yourself according to the socio-economic changes.

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