A perfect guide for the perfect Bangla cinema director
are considered by many to be an oddball. The very mention of titles
of films such as "boma hamla" and "danda mere thanda"
make the red and white cells of your blood tango to the tune of porey
na chokher polok. You ardently believe (and wonder how anyone can think
otherwise) that Munmun and Alexander Bo are the best duos on the silver
screen after Uttom-Shuchitra (not that you think they are anything special
when compared to your preferred pair), and the walls of your room are
adorned with psychedelic posters of Dhallywood film actors and actresses.
You spend many an afternoon (but never on Friday's, for it is then that
you gawk with unblinking eyes at the Bangla movies aired on BTV) daydreaming
about becoming a illustrious director like Badol Khondoker, but know
not which path to take in order to reach your far-fetched goal. Ah...fear
not, worthy mortal, to assist you in your valiant quest, we have partaken
to sketch a 100 percent foolproof guide that would, correctly followed,
enable you to become a 100 percent (foolish) Dhallywood director.
# 1: Look, act and talk the part.
Shakespeare had articulated, " I take this world but as
the world, a stage where every man must play his part..." Whether
or not you have ever heard of Shakespeare is irrelevant to the topic
under discussion--sufficient to say he wasn't a Bangla Cinema scriptwriter.
To begin with, stand in front of the mirror and critically inspect your
appearance. If you have an oafish (in other words, khaet) sense of dressing,
then there is nothing to worry about. You are a natural. If, however,
you are not, then immediately discard your branded refined outfits (they
are nothing but a nuisance in your chosen profession). Select a brand
new wardrobe consisting of chipa jeans, multicoloured coats (yellow,
mustard, gold, maroon, purple, pink, turquoise…), golden bracelets,
rings, chains, and so on. These are the items you will always use in
Once you are satisfied with your outside image, you must turn to perfecting
your personality. Develop the aura and air of a person who has seen,
done and knows it all. This might take some time, and a considerable
amount of hard work, but don't let that hinder you from your objective.
Bear in mind how Ilias Kanchon works in the factory day and night to
pay for the education of his younger siblings, and yet gets a first-class-first
in English, a prize for his kokil konthi voice AND a black belt in karate...
Or how Omit Hasan becomes an eminent industrialist (garment factory
owner, in most cases) from a mere clerk in a few months' time to show
the father of his beloved that he is worthy of her hand... Ah...I see
the determination on your face too...
# 2: Select a catchy name for yourself, and for your first movie.
The afore-mentioned Shakespeare had also said, "What's in a name?
That which we call a rose, / By any other name would smell as sweet,"
We, at the showbiz, fervently disagree. If you call a rose "s***"
it might smell the same, but it won't SELL the same, will it? Since
our objective is to sell YOU, an appealing name is a must, if you or
your movie is to be a hit. Once the selection process is over, direct
your attention towards naming your movie.
This might be harder than you think, as all the eligible names--Baba
keno chakor, shami keno ashami, meyerao mastan, rani keno dakat, etc--
have already been used. Use the little gray matter that I am hopelessly
hoping you possess to come up with mind-boggling and heart-tetchy titles,
like: Kala Kaphon Jinda Laas, Ami keno Harami, Bodna Niya Dowradowri/
Chandi Raatey Bodna Haatey, Gadha-rao manush, Bush-er kosom....
# 3: The story itself, with twists and turns... dance sequels, action
shots, comedy scenes, etc.....
Now that you look the part, have chosen a josh name for yourself and
your movie, time has come to decide on the story line of your first
film (keep in mind that the storyline is not THE most important feature
of the film, as long as you manage to get people to spend their money
on tickets and into the movie theatre). It can be a romantic-comedy,
an action-romance-comedy, shamajik- action-romantic-comedy, and so on
and so forth. Don't be misled by the different categories that I just
mentioned--they are same sides of the same coin (like calling Bush a
dim-witted nut, a heartless dim-witted nut, a sadistic heartless dim-witted
nut...). All Bangla Cinemas fundamentally comprise of:
1) A plot, which is a skilful creation of a number of recent blockbuster
Hindi movies, previous smash hit Bangla movies, and a minuscule number
of out-of-the-world original ideas.
2) An honest police inspector, who is out to avenge the death of his
parents. The villain must essentially be the father of the heroine.
A poor guy in love with the daughter of the rich industrialist who had
robbed his parents of all their property (and preferably killed his
father in the process)
3) A comedian, the hero's best buddy, who'll try to make the audience
rock with laughter by making weird expressions, cornier than corny jokes
and is head over heels in love with the heroine's shoi (best friend).
In some cases, the comedian is the servant, his beloved being the bua.
4) Dynamic action scenes, with the hero (although he has never taken
a karate class in his whole life) being an expert in karate, judo, boxing,
and every other form of combating you can think of. When he fights,
though, you see no karate kicks; rather you hear a lot of dishum dishu/
dhishkiyao noises, accompanied by visually enhancing haat pa chora churi...
In seconds, the hero single-handedly takes care of a dozen or so armed
gundas but he almost always waits for blood to flow from his lips, before
striking anyone. (NOTE: the gundas conveniently wait for their turns
to attack, meaning that the hero gets to fight the gundas one at a time…while
they are in line, the remaining gundas like to snap their fingers in
a perfect beat)
5) Heart-rending songs and dance sequels every 15 minutes with the rhino-sized
heroine leaping and thumping like an escaped lunatic from you-know-where,
accompanied by unidentified strangers who appear out of thin air, wearing
identical clothing, and start dancing along with the heroine and hero,
are musts in a Bangla chobi. There must compulsorily be two or three
brishti scenes, with explicit and vulgar movements of the torso and
rest of the body (if the scene becomes too vulgar, BTV had its own unique
way of censoring: a close-up shot of a rose, or a "shorishar khet"
out of nowhere to cover up the "rated R" scene.). There should
be a disco scene at a club (with songs like "I am a disco dancer..."),
a botanical scene (where the hero and heroine come sprinting from opposite
corners of the park and stop inches before one another until back-ground
music of pore na chokher polok starts), and a scene where the heroine
dances in front of the villain until her betrothed comes to rescue her....
# 4: money...money...money... (I guess I don't have to go on repeating
that to emphasize its importance!)
is arguably the most crucial stage of your career, since at this point
you have to convince someone to actually finance your film. First of
all, make a list of the daftest and the silliest directors in the business;
then try to develop an affable liaison with the chosen candidates. After
you have struck a friendly relationship, you shrewdly tell them how
you have always wanted to make a movie in your life, but never had the
money, how harshly life has treated you, yada yada yada. Make a poignant
account of your pathetic life that would not only bring tears to the
Hopefully, and I say this with my fingers crossed, at least someone
would be dense enough to fall for the stunt!
Nevertheless, there ARE other means of obtaining the money. But alas...
I am not at liberty to discuss them here for reasons I am not at liberty
to discuss (though a few lakh taka may well open my mouth... contact
me at email@example.com!)
Lesson # 5: The cast
Choosing the cast is like choosing wallpaper for your room
(I have no idea how they are linked though, but one good thing about
being a Bangla Cinema director is that you don't need to make sense
at all!). This shouldn't be too tough for you, since you practically
grew up worshipping Bangla films, and hence have sufficient knowledge
about the different actors and actresses that would suit the designated
roles. Here are a few tips to refresh your memory:
The actress: Should weigh at least a few hundred kilos. Remember, our
motto is: the fatter, the better, the more beautiful. She must be willing
to be kholamela to suit the role, i.e., she should be a clothing minimalist.
The hero: If he is a romantic hero, like Riaj, then he should be able
to bring tears to the eyes of the audience with his oratory abilities
("Ma, ami .....). If he is a macho man, then he should posses (invisible)
bulging muscles, a strong face cut and preferably no emotion in his
voice (refer: Ostad Jahangir, fight master)
The villain(s): The chief villain must have an evil moustache that he
can twist when he's sadistic, a mu-ha-ha-ha auttohashi that scares the
devil out of the audience, and bulging eyes. His right-hand man, Jumbo,
has to be a jumbo-sized rogue, either bald or with a curly mane of hair
and tattoos all over his body.
The innocuous, wise mother: A once-upon-a-lifetime-famous actress, with
a silver streak in the hub of her fashionably tied hair. Of course,
the silver streak is, you guessed it (and I must say you amaze me with
your intelligence), artificial and hence of no specific significance.
Note: Nobody has to know how to act.
# 6, the final examination: The making of the movie itself
This is it. The thing you have been waiting for so long. The ultimate
test. The lessons, the efforts, the hard work. All coming down to the
crucial finale: the DIRECTION.
Unfortunately, you're on your own from here on. I have done extensive
research to make this article as fruitful as I intended it to be, but
I found nothing (absolutely nothing.) on this particular category, which
left me with the feeling that direction might not be the ultimate challenge,
the crucial finale after all. Come to think of it, as mentioned before,
as long as you can attract audiences with titles as suggested, and get
them to spend money on the tickets, it doesn't matter what content comes
up on the screen when the lights go out. Remember that under any circumstances,
the audience would never be able to reach you (physically) in spite
of their deepest desire to make you pay back their money. Start working
on what you have already, (which would be this article and the Dhallywood
posters adorning your walls) and who knows? You might actually have
something with a lot of potentiality, possibility.
And even if all doesn't go that well, trust me, it can't get worse than
the rest of the films out there. Trust me.
zoos and mules and wishful thinking
last time I'd probably been to a zoo was a couple of years back when
I had just started working for the Rising Stars. Within two days of
getting appointed, I had fled to Chittagong and returned three weeks
later, with the editor unable to recall if she had ever appointed someone
by the name of H..... (It was definitely not suggested in my CV that
I'd turn out to be so irresponsible so soon!)
Anyway, that's a different story altogether. I was talking about a visit
to the zoo. The Chittagong Zoo is right beside Foy's Lake. Foy's Lake
is a thousand times better than the Dhanmondi Lake and other lakes we
find in Dhaka. But they've all got something in common, something I
soon found out. All lakes appear to be a popular dating place. I found
couples occupying every nook and corner of the area, a very familiar
scene to any resident of Dhanmondi. Anyway, as I was saying, I went
to the zoo and don't quite remember anything significant about it. Well,
there was this python hiding in a stack of hay and everybody was poking
the serpent to come out and show itself. That was the very first time
I felt sorry for a snake. (You don't need to be a Parseltongue to feel
that way.) Then there was this guy with a horse (as he claimed it to
be), one that could be hired for a ride. I tried to talk sense into
him, explaining that it was a mule not a horse while he was trying to
talk nonsense into me, arguing it was genuinely a horse and not a mule.
Well, I know my mules because I'm a gifted "mule-rider". Some
people may have argued that it was a donkey and not a mule, which would
have been wrong. Donkeys look a lot more stupid; the creature at the
zoo looked only half as stupid as I do, ensuring that it was nothing
else but a mule.
Anyway, I started talking about zoos since there's a unique zoo near
our workplace i.e. at Karwan Bazar. Yes, the Mirpur Zoo is not the only
zoo in Dhaka, there are other zoos too. The zoo I'm speaking of is the
Film Development Corporation, better known as FDC. This is where they
develop Bangla films, the ones that they show in those unpleasant cinema
halls covered all over by posters of heroines looking like elephants,
villains looking like baboons and men looking like mules.
Now if FDC is just a normal (!) place where they made movies, why do
I call it a zoo? Well, like any zoo, this one has visitors too. If you
ever go past FDC, you'll see a large number of people crowding at the
gate and looking on with great interest and enthusiasm. They keep looking
in the same style with which people stare at the zoo monkeys when they
hunt for lice in each other's fur and later chew the lice away casually.
Yeah, FDC is a zoo alright! Monkeys and mules and elephants work there
all the time.
When people have nothing to do, they go to a zoo. When people have nothing
better to do, they may go on standing hour after hour in front of FDC.
Even while going that way at around 9 p.m. the other day, I saw several
people standing with those same intent, curious, hopeful eyes. It was
the same way vultures eye corpses, loan sharks eye money, Romeos eye
Juliets. (These were all mere figures of speech!) The utterly divine
sight of a heroine (elephant) in multicoloured tights, heroes (monkeys)
clad in pink or violet see-through shirts or a half-naked over bulging
villain (any given primate) engaged in obscene verbal abuse makes them
stand for all eternity and yet eternity always seems to be short. I'm
not sure that they even look at tapirs and warthogs the same way they
look at the FDC gates for a glint of something remarkable, something
they have always seen only on discoloured screens in filthy stinking
cinema halls. As a matter of fact, they do deserve to be optimistic:
the zoo premises (the area around FDC) doesn't stink that much!