Many new generation Bangladeshi expats have carved a firm place in the art and cultural firmament overseas. Although born and brought up in a different environment and cultural milieu, they have successfully portrayed the Bangladeshi social and cultural life quite naturally and impressively.
Recently, I had the opportunity to view sequences of a movie titled “Shimanaheen”, being shot in Chicago, USA and targeted for global release within a few months. The movie is being produced in NEQUA studios, Chicago. Based on a story written by Rahsaan Islam, and directed by Kevin Dalvi and Ria Mahtab, all the major roles of the movie are essayed by young Bangladeshis.
The story draws inspiration from the romantic classics of yesteryears. The film hinges on the eternal search for love viewed through two relationships in two different eras. The title song of the movie sung by the diva Runa Laila is another major attraction of this new venture by a few American born Bangladeshi youngsters. Rusho Mahtab, a Bangladeshi musician, is the music director and his performance was impressive.
The lead role is played by Rahsaan Islam, an American born Bangladeshi immigrant. Born and brought up in a typical American environment, Rahsaan managed to stay connected to his roots. “My parents instilled strong values in me and always kept me connected to our culture and language; we have always been involved in artistic and cultural events,” he told me. Rahsaan, although a fresh new face in the cultural field, comes from a family that is no stranger to the arts. His grandfather, the late Nurul Ismam Patwary, was a well-known writer and editor of Dainik Bangla and Ittefaq.
The South Asian and the global audiences today are quite selective. They are clear in their tastes about what they like and what they don't, what they want to see and the kind of on-screen chemistry they enjoy. It's not just about pretty faces. After seeing “Shimanaheen”, I am personally of the view that with its release, a new standard of acting and a new concept of romance will be in place.
The Writer was Women's Page Editor of the Bangladesh Observer and The Independent.