Recreating the Spirit of Liberation
from a Different Anglen
the genre, whether documentary or full-length, the Liberation
War is a recurrent theme of Tareque's films. Interestingly,
the run of the mill 'war scenes' are eschewed in favour of
the struggle of the common people in 1971.
Tareque Masud, along with his wife Catherine Masud, has made
three documentary films on our Liberation War-- Muktir
Gaan, Muktir Katha and Narir Katha.
In a departure
from the norm, he does not present a single hero in his cinema,
rather he presents the collective contribution of people during
our liberation. What inspired Tareque to transform these people
into characters? Tareque says, 'A filmmaker can make his directorial
plans in two ways from practical experience and from the intellectual
contrived aspect. I prefer practical experience as my method
of direction. My first documentary on the Liberation War--
Muktir Gaan-- focuses on the contribution and the
struggle of the cultural activists who have made an immense
contribution during the freedom fight. I empathise with these
characters. I have seen their activities and sufferings during
the war. That is why I have taken those characters in my frame.
that only the contribution of frontline fighters was not enough
to emerge victorious over the disciplined Pakistani Army and
their collaborators. The cultural activists of the country
have also played vital roles. In fact, it was our moral victory.
As we fought for rights, we won the battle against evil. And
in Muktir Gaan I have symbolically represented 'Song'
as 'Morality'. As the contribution of the cultural activists
is not well presented in the stereotypical movies on 1971,
I have brought in this element in the film,' he adds.
genesis of Muktir Katha, another film on Independence,
Tareque says, 'When Muktir Gaan was screened in the
remote areas of Bangladesh, it got enormous response from
the common people. Seeing the documentary, the unrecognised
freedom fighters, living miserable lives in those remote areas,
expressed their desire to share their experience on Liberation
War. Subsequently, I portrayed those historical characters
as the artistes of my documentary film Muktir Katha.
And I have presented those honorable but unrecognised people
from a different angle. Their story of frustration after Liberation,
is the backdrop for our freedom fight. Not only have the Bangali
fighters been presented as characters in the documentary but
also ethnic people like Garos who fought against the Pakistani
regime. Moreover, through the chorus songs of those frustrated
fighters, the film recounts the story of the few freedom fighters
who used the post war condition for their own selfish ends.'
this latter segment of characters be the central theme of
a future film? 'I have a very good script on this issue' says
Tareque. But, I think the time is not yet ripe for an analysis
of our freedom fight or the role of some freedom fighters
who manipulated the post-war condition, as the anti-Liberation
forces are still powerful in Bangladesh. If I make such a
film, the anti-freedom force will manipulate the opportunity
to fulfil their desire.'
the few 'war scenes' in his films, Tareque says, 'We lack
the skills and technological support that are needed to picturise
a credible war scene. That is why in most of the movies, 'direct
war scenes' have been infrequent. As a result, the grandness
of war has appeared as melodrama, because of the poor handling
of those movies. Moreover, many outstanding war films have
been made without presenting any war scene. That is why I
like to present war by depicting the struggle of the people.
Likewise, in my other documentary Narir Katha, I
have presented the Liberation War.'
the emphasis on the rural life in his documentaries? 'I lived
in the village during our Liberation War. I have seen their
struggle, sufferings, contribution and postwar frustration.
And I like to portray all these things on the screen.'
we oversimplify the facts of war, which should not be the
ideal approach during making a film on war. Usually, the portrait
of a Pakistani collaborator is presented as an extreme evil
person having beard and tupi. And in most of the cases the
characters of these films are either very good or very bad.
But I believe that the real facts remain in between these
two criteria, as duality remains in every person earth. Sometimes
the situation and time force a person to take a position.
To make a film, having aesthetic value these facts should
be reflected. And these things have been reflected in my film
Matir Moina, which has received many prestigious
awards including the FIPRESCI International Critic's Prize
in Cannes Film Festival 2002 and Official Oscar Submission
from Bangladesh, which is a milestone in the history of our
film and has got nomination to compete in the Oscar.'
story line of Matir Moina was set against the backdrop
of the eventful days '69-'71. And as the film ends, the freedom
fight starts. In that sense it is not a film on freedom fight.
But it presents the facts of the pre-war scdenario. And the
'Kazi' character in the film can present duality of those
people who became Pakistani collaborators later on', he continues,
'If a film can present the duality, repentance, self-realisation
of a person perfectly, it becomes a classic. My 'Kazi' character
in the film Matir Moina has got that quality. And
this is the only Bangladeshi film that has been screened in
the mainstream theatre hall in the US' he adds.
adds that more classical movies on Independence should be
made and screened to grow patriotism amongst the citizen of
Bangladesh. Moreover, he thinks a proper preservation system
should be introduced in Bangladesh Film Archive, so that these
films remain for the future generation.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004