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A Scoop of Inspiration

Why tickets for 'JAAGO!' get sold out

BEHIND a long, winding line, yours truly toed her five feet stature to grab the attention of the employees at the ticket counter. Level 8 of Bashundhara City was buzzing with masses of people, with large numbers clustered around the entrance of Star Cineplex. The recent and long anticipated release of 'JAAGO!' and 'Third Person Singular Number' has created a rouse and tickets were selling fast. For both, the pre-release of soundtracks have built up momentum over the months, and it was natural people will be curious to know whether the movie is actually as refreshing as the sound it carries.

On entering a full auditorium (and acknowledging that Cineplex is actually punctual), yours truly found her place and popcorn at a corner. 'JAAGO!' was already on screen with the familiar vocals of Ornob ringing across the packed house. For the next two and a half hours, it was a heart wrenching experience (in a good way) as footballs bolted across the fields and lives of the characters. At the end, while the audience poured out with a smile and excited analysis of what they liked best about the movie, there was no doubt that it was, indeed, worth the cash.

Starring Ferdous, Bindu, Tarek Anam, Rawnok Hasan, Arefin Shubho, Naim and several debuting artists, 'JAAGO!' is the story of hope and inspiration against the odd of situation. A group of boys from an amateur football club takes on the challenge of playing against the finest inter-state football team in India. After a rigorous month-long training, the boys finally meet their strongest competitors and come to understand how limitations can be overcome through teamwork and encouragement. The relevance of the plot to the '71 Shadhin Bangla Football Team in their quest to raise funds to support the Liberation War is interesting; given the fact they're both tied to emotions of patriotism and unity.

What was most significant about the movie is that it took one of the underrated sports of the country at the time when it is in reality soaked in financial crisis, bad performance and corrupt administration. While this very sport was once a popular demand amongst these very people, it has become one of the most neglected ones over the years. The courage and audacity to take the spirit of football as the main theme and intermingle with much needed doses of patriotism, humanity, unity and love is an admirable step by director Khijir Hayat Khan. It is perhaps that difference in concept that made 'JAAGO!' a preferred watch amongst the audience.

It is rare a Bangladeshi movie reaches the pages of RS. It is rarer it received reviews as such. Dhaliwood has never quite managed to provide us with materials or environment worth relishing (unless one has a very twisted sense of humour), and this definitely was an out-of-the-box production from the local crew and cast. Keeping the issues of romance as sub-plots and love of a greater kind as the leading idea has made 'JAAGO!' not only acceptable, but somewhat memorable to its crowd. Sure, there were pints of unrealistic overacting, unnecessary twists, less dramatic cinematography (compared to Monpura) and overuse of OSTs, but if one can look past the flaws (remembering how these very flaws are swallowed with an applaud in Bollywood), one can truly appreciate how 'JAAGO!' is an awakening story, not only for football or sports, but for the entire nation.

'JAAGO!' will be running at Cineplex for a while, so if you can spare a couple of hours and not opt watching Rambo 4 (?!), you might as well give it a shot. Chances are you won't regret it from the bottom of your intestines!

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Book Review

Shopaholic and Baby

FROM London to Manhattan, from a financial journalist stuck in a dead-end job to TV personality, to the happily married wife of a successful businessman, you would think that Becky Bloomwood had her happily ever after two books ago. Author Sophie Kinsella probably reasoned, though, that as long as they're buying, why not keep selling, and thus we have the fifth and final novel in her celebrated Shopaholic series, where the irrepressible shopaholic is back with a bump.

The story opens with everything going swimmingly for Becky, with her husband on his way to closing a lucrative deal that will make him a 'squillionaire', plans to move into this fantastic new house, and of course, a baby on the way. Becky, who cures her morning sickness with shopping sprees, couldn't ask for anything more, when she hears about the latest fad a celebrity obstetrician named Venetia Carter who has all these 'designer births', and of course she has to go for it too.

It turns out to be a bad idea, because Venetia just so happens to be her husband's brilliant and beautiful ex girlfriend, and a few pages into the book is enough to convince everyone that the doctor hasn't quite gotten over her old flame.

What follows is a downward spiral of paranoia and insecurity, peppered with external pressure from the house owners suddenly backing out of their deal, from Becky's own deadbeat job being threatened with bankruptcy. This is the one book where you actually find yourself feeling sorry for Becky. Her doubts and fears, and vehement attempts to cling to her trust in her husband will strike a chord with any girl who's been in a relationship and had to deal with trust issues.

As far as the story goes, this one is fairly formulaic for anyone who's read the other books. The characters are a little more mature, the drama a little darker, but Kinsella's humour still manages to shine through. This is after all, meant to be a light, fluffy read. If there is a bone of contention that yours truly would have to pick with this series, and others of its type, though, it is the message in this book, one that defends, and even celebrates airheads. The villains in stories like these are always smart and successful, the heroines are hapless, and brainless, and that is what the heroes fall for. The fact that this formula sells is no less disturbing.

If you can get past this issue, this is a fun read for you. After weeks of sugar-sweet chick lit, next week, there will be something for the lads, so keep your peepers peeled.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

International Children's Film Festival

DHA dhin dhin dha…the drums bang as children, parents, artists and patrons entered the Osmani Auditorium for the inauguration of the 3rd Film Festival by the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, last Saturday, 23 January, 2010.

The chirping of youngsters, their laughter and merriment set the perfect ambience for an occasion that was truly for children and children alone. It was however, also represented by an August house, countless Members of the Parliament, cultural activists and of course Prime Minister herself, a welcome sign that children occupy a distinct position within the framework of this government. So much so is the emphasis that Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs is overseen by none other than the Head of the Government herself.

The main stage was set keeping the audience in mind- large sunflower blooms and colourful fungi dotted in front of the podium, possibly to represent the budding of talents. Over 100 volunteers, all children, ushered the guests and delegates that flocked the venue from all districts of the country.

Mohammed Mehedi Hassan, Comilla represented his district through writing an essay on the most influential person in his life- Abdullah Abu Sayeed. “I have not made any films till now, but I find the subject fascinating. I was also selected as a delegate in last year's festival, and over the last two years I have learnt a lot on the diverse subject that is film making.”

Mir Aimon Sharaf, is probably too young to make films but in reality, he is hooked. The bespectacled, class two student quite honestly remarked that his filmmaking ventures have not yet begun but also reiterates that he would 'love to'.

Accompanied by his mother, Nazneen Rahman Kanak he enjoyed the occasion through and through, especially the animated short film that presented a humorous depiction on a day in the life of the Sun!

Kanak emphasised the need for such events. “Aimon is only eight but I am delighted that he has already made acquaintances with stalwart figures like Dr Mohammed Zafar Iqbal and Mustafa Monwar. He can learn so much and it also provides a platform for him to excel in the future, irrespective of the field of specialisation he opts for.”

The Prime Minister inaugurated the festival by lighting 'mongol prodeep.' On her speech Her Excellency stressed on the need for events that zeroes in on the needs of children. She said “Bangalis pride ourselves for our literature, culture and creed in the world scene. We have names like Rabindronath, Najrul, Michael, Jibonanondo, Shorot Chandra, Lalon, Hason Raja, Zainul, Sultan, Qumrul, Satyajit and others. We must lead our new generation in the paved way of the stalwarts. They must make their own mark on the global scale through inspiration from the great names.”

The 3rd International Chilren's Film Festival is organised by the Children's Film Society, Bangladesh. Amongst the hundreds of films that will be showcased in 12 venues across the city, 43 has been chosen from children as well as seasoned film makers of the country. Documentaries, animated films as well as short and one minute sketches will be viewed.

A Jury board comprising of five youngsters will review the films in competition and would eventually hand out awards at the closing ceremony on 29 January 2010.

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif



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