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     Volume 4 Issue 15 | October 2, 2004 |

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Films that Make Fun of Films

Srabanti Huda

Browsing through the internet, one would find many websites portraying our rich Bangali culture. Starting from sites dedicated to our beloved Dhaliwood stars, to sites dedicated to our very own Shakira (alias Tishma), we have it all. Adding to the collection is www.tmafilmstudios.com, the website through which TMA Films Inc., a film studio founded and run by teenagers, release all their productions. For those of you who have not yet heard of TMA Films, or have not yet seen their infamous music video 'Bodna Nai,' here's some background information:

TMA Films Inc. is a film studio based in Dhaka which produces short films, news and music shows, music videos, posters and photos, which they then release on their website, to be downloaded for free by fans worldwide. While it says on the opening page of their site that their "mission" is the "upping of the (Bangladeshi) film industry," it seems their main motto is to make people laugh--most of the productions so far are parodies of mostly bangla 'fillums,' TV shows and advertisements, except their first short film, Samdado I, which is a hilarious parody of Japanese flicks. Now a major form of entertainment for Bangladeshis from all over the world, with about one million fans to date and a download record of 50GB in two months, TMA originally started out as a mere photo shoot of three friends, Tehzeeb, Mikail and Amer; friends since Class V and soon to be completing their A'Levels, they barely had any decent pictures together. Sadly, the decent pictures never got taken, and instead the trio ended up taking Dhaliwood-style pictures, which Tehzeeb doctored up and Mikail mailed to all their friends. The response was so tremendous that they decided to take more pictures and put them on a geocities site. More people joined the team and after a while Tehzeeb figured they should go into making movies.

"We didn't have a camera and we didn't own a site," says Tehzeeb. "Mikail arranged a camera and we started shooting but the project took off only when my father provided us with the website in September 2003. The fact that none of us, apart from me, had any computer skills whatsoever made the work harder but what compensated for that was the brilliant acting skills of every single member of the team. The only other useful person on the team, Amal, helped me out a lot, because he not only makes the flashes on the site, but is also THE most dedicated person in TMA."

Amidst various drawbacks, the team managed to shoot Samdado I and release it as their first movie, which was an immediate success. The release of Bodna Nai raised the download rate of 7GBs per month to 1GB a day, and since then, none of their productions have been a flop. So far, the studio has released Intro to TMA, Samdado I, Friends Cigarette, Bloopers, Saddam on the News, Shongeet Shondha 1,2 and 3 (hosted by their very own VJ Prince), Bodna Nai and Daddy Mineral Water along with numerous pictures and posters. The site also contains profiles of each member of the team, release details of their future productions, links to related sites, a news/gossip section, features/image gallery, Mitthu's advice section and of course, the home page with its unique welcome message!

What makes TMA Films special is that while all the productions have been directed, acted out, filmed and edited by teenagers, their work has attracted not only adolescents but also many adults. In fact, according to Tehzeeb, TMA's following comprises mostly of adults, due to their advanced use of animation and digital imaging technology. What adds to their creativity is the fact that there isn't even a script to follow and the actors are told what to do right before a scene is shot! The actors keep on changing and there are only five permanent members. They are Tehzeeb Ali referred to as the 'Director Shaheb', Mikail Ahmed and Amer Rashid, Ashraful Abedin and Amal Haque. There are also non-permanent members who have contributed to TMA with humorous dialogue and acting skills.

Unbelievable though it may seem that such creativity can go unrecognised, it is true that not enough people have heard of TMA Films. In terms of funding, peer support is nonexistent, and the studio only pulls through with the support of Tehzeeb's father who provides them with all the latest equipment. As for future releases, TMA's next project is Samdado, which follows on from the previously released Samdado I and will be released early next year. Tehzeeb enthusiastically confides, 'It will be the transition of TMA from being funny to super cool. As it is going to feature DTS surround and special effects the likes of which have never been seen before in Dhaka, it is not going to be available for download for the locals. Instead, we plan to release it into the market on DVDs.'

With all that in mind, TMA Films could very well be the ray of sunlight at the end of the tunnel. Its rapidly increasing popularity may even be slowly revolutionising the Bangladeshi film industry as we know it now! So what are you waiting for? While the world waits impatiently for the release of Samdado, do yourself a favour and check out www.tmafilmstudios.com I assure you, the entertainment on offer is too good to miss!

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