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     Volume 7 Issue 48 | December 5, 2008 |

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A Stereotypical Eid

Ershad Kamol

The Eid holidays in urban life provide a good time to meet up with friends and loved ones who remain mostly on the receiving end of occasional text messaging. Also missing from our busy daily lives is a good dose of television entertainment. Eid gives a lot of us that opportunity, to become a couch potato for a few days. Many do go out for the limited outdoor entertainment that is available, but most people watch TV as the small screen has emerged as the main source of entertainment for the masses. Each of the existing private and public TV channels organises five to seven daylong special programmes for Eid. TV plays, telefilms, musical programmes and talk shows are common features of such arrangements. A few films are also released on the occasion of Eid.

Not many changes have been found in the Eid special programmes, which are scheduled to be aired on one public and nine other private channels in the upcoming Eid-Ul-Azha. BTV, ATN Bangla, Channel-i, ntv and Bangla vision have organised six-day programmes while Ekushey Television, Rtv and Channel 1 have arranged five-day Eid festival programmes.

Unfortunately, most of these channels have chalked out very run-of-the-mill programmes for this Eid. Like the previous special arrangements TV channels have arranged five/six daylong programmes. Single episode TV plays are the main attraction for the viewers. Over 150 TV plays will be aired in these channels. However, a good number of talk shows and musical programmes are included in the special programmes, since these genres are getting more popular these days. But, the number of telefilms, full-length films and magazine programmes has decreased.

So why have these programmes been designed in such a run-of-the-mill way? "Eid programmes remained almost the same when there was only one public channel BTV till the mid 1990s, though so many private channels are operation in the country," Head of Programme of ATN Bangla Noazesh Ali Khan says, "Still we focus on television drama, since the genre is very popular as per the Television Rating of Programme (TRP)."

"Over 150 TV plays will be aired in the next six days in different channels and we are getting sufficient sponsors for these plays. But, offbeat programmes are scheduled considering the entertainment for special section of people such as children and women, though there is less TRP demand for such programmes. We've not yet been able to popularise something innovative during the Eid festivals. In fact, TV channels don't experiment much on the Eid arrangements considering it to be a business loss" he adds.

But, it is true that the standard of plays aired during Eid is better than the usual standard in terms of theme, content and treatment. And these plays are high-budget productions, since high-profile actors are the major cast members of these plays. But, the question is do we have so many playwrights, directors, actors and technical crews to present over 150 plays to be aired in five/six days. Previous experience says that viewers will have to watch the same faces repeatedly.

"In fact, the time constraint is a major problem for chalking the plan for Eid-Ul-Azha compared to Eid-Ul-Fitr. However, the best possible effort is always given during selection, since all the channels want to attract as many viewers as possible. So, I would say the standard of the plays and other programmes are always upgraded. Special treatment is evident in the grandiosity of the programmes" says Mostafa Kamal Syed, head of programme of ntv.

One major change evident in this year's Eid-Ul-Azha arrangement is that the number of in-house programmes featuring offbeat topics has increased in each of these private channels. Head of Programme of Rtv Hasina Ahmed says, "Seeing the criticism in the newspapers for the last few years for featuring TV play based programmes in the Eid arrangements we have focused on including more offbeat programmes having diversified themes for the Eid entertainment of the viewers. But, it's true that there is lack of directors and sponsors for such programmes. Which is why TV channels have to produce such programmes."

Airing movies on the TV channels are attractions of the Eid programmes in these days. Each year, a few channels premiere new movies on Eid. This year Channel-i will premiere Swapnopuron. Many channels will also air old Bangla hit movies for the entertainment of the viewers.

Besides airing Bangla films in the TV channels about seven films are expected to be commercially released at the theatres, confirmed Bangladesh Film Producers and Distributors Association (BFPDA). This year the number of movies is comparatively less than previous years. Most of the mainstream films for this Eid belong to the romantic genre featuring the popular contemporary duo Sakib Khan and Apu Biswas. Sources in the film industry confirmed that most of these films are expected to be box-office hits. These sources also confirmed that the only film featuring recently demised hero Manna would be a big attraction.

"About seven films will be released of the 12 films that got BFPDA clearance to be released in the coming Eid," informed Mahbubul Islam Mantoo, office secretary of BFPDA, "These movies will be released around the 150 theatres including 25 halls in Dhaka."

"Until Eid day we can't confirm which movies would be ultimately released, since it depends on the interest of the hall owners. Hall owners will usually go for the big-budget movies featuring leading actors such as Manna and Sakib Khan. And then a few low budget movies featuring less popular actors will be released after completion of booking of the big-budget movies," he adds.

Already a film produced by Manna titled Pitamatar Amanot featuring Manna, Purnima, Apu Biswas and Razzak, and directed by FI Manik has been booked in over 50 halls. Pitamatar Amanot is the last feature film in which recently demised popular Dhaliwood star Manna performed.

Romantic movies featuring popular duo Sakib-Apu such as Tumi Amar Prem directed by Shaheen Suman, Amar Jan Amar Pran directed by Sohanur Rahman Sohan are also expected to be hits. Big budget movies such as Shomadhi featuring Sakib Khan, Shabnur and Amin Khan and directed by Shaheen Suman, Tomake Bou Banabo featuring Sakib Khan, Razzak, Shabnur, Misha Sawdagar and directed by Shadat Hossain Liton Ekbuk Jala featuring Emon, Apu Biswas and directed by Ispahani Arif Jahan are also expected to be box-office hits.

Other movies got approval to be released in the Eid are Ki Jadu Korila (Riaz Poppy and Mir Sabbir), Toke Ami (Riaz, Purnima and Ilias Kanchan), Bhando Nayak (Alek, Sahara, Poly and Misha Sawdagar and Jamidar Barir Meye (Amin Khan, Nipun).

The films that will not be released during Eid for not getting response from the hall owners will be premiered later.


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