Vol. 5 Num 587 Sun. January 22, 2006  

Book launch
Recalling Alamgir Kabir -- the doyen of our films

Munira Morshed Munni's book, Chalachchitra Acharya Alamgir Kabir was launched on January 20, marking the death anniversary of the local film guru, Alamgir Kabir. The programme was inaugurated by Professor Mumtazuddin Ahmedheld at RC Mojumdar Arts Auditorium amidst due enthusiasm and fervour. Present at the function were Morshedul Islam, Tanvir Mokammel, Manzar-e-Haseen Murad and other film authorities and enthusiasts.

Alamgir Kabir was one of the best teachers on films, said Morshedul Islam, along with being a film organiser and filmmaker. "He had the power to motivate young people in filmmaking. After the Liberation War he taught us how to make films in the modern context and how to use the film language through his films. He was the only filmmaker who could correctly react to the historic events of his time. He had a particularly eager and receptive audience." "Many filmmakers have been guided by him," said Islam, "and the reason that we have come as far as we have in Bangladeshi film making has much of its source in his efforts." The batch he taught included Tanvir Mokammel, Manzar-e-Haseen Murad and Tareq Masood and himself..

Tanvir Mokammel said, "Alamgir Kabir was the doyen of the quality film movement in our country. His tragic death, when the alternate cinema was just taking off, was a national loss. As a filmmaker, he was very exceptional, being much ahead of his time in this country, where our cinema is lagging 30 years behind the international standard." Mokammel said that Kabir brought about new ideas in filmmaking, as he introduced the cinema verite style -- where the story is distributed through different images and does not follow the stereotyped narrative. "He had a definite message to convey," Mokammel said, "in all his various films. He spoke of the sense of values of the local people during the Liberation War, of a secular and democratic Bangladesh with a modern and progressive society that we dream of."

"I believe that Alamgir Kabir occupies the same position in our local film world as Zainul Abedin does in Bangladeshi Fine Arts. In Bangla language there is only one such acharya, which is Jagadish Chandra Bose, a scientist. Thus the naming of the book Chalachchitra Acharya Alamgir Kabir is apt, as he has contributed in every sphere of film culture," said Manzar-e-Haseen. "A quarterly published by Alamgir Kabir titled, Sequence was also a success and if one combines all his activities, his influence on Bangladeshi culture is indeed remarkable," he concluded.

Munira, the young editor of the book, said she had included 22 articles from "little magazines" and other sources of information on the filmmaker. Munira had the opportunity to attend Kabirís classes in filmmaking. Her own life had been so intertwined with that of the great filmmaker, she said, that she was in the same car, when it sank near the ferry ghat to Bogra, that fateful day. She herself was miraculously saved on January 20, 1989.

A portrait of Alamgir Kabir