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    Volume 9 Issue 3 | January 15, 2010|

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Of Love and Patriotism

Shahneela Shahrine

Ferdous and Afsan Ara Bindu in Jaago.

In every person's life, there comes a time for redemption, a time when we have to step up and take a stand. There comes a time when we have to do all we can to fight for what is right, even when it seems like all the odds are against us, even when it feels like all hope is lost.

Jaago, a film directed and written by Khijir Hayat Khan, produced by Interspeed Production House, and music direction by Arnob, is a film that reminds us how important it is to believe in our dreams, regardless of how impossible they seem. In the midst of all the negativity surrounding our every day lives in Bangladesh, Jaago brings us back to the core of the matter -- that anything is possible if you love your country and have faith in who you are.

The film centres around the boys from the Azad Boys Football Club, and their mentor and senior football player, Shamim (Ferdous), who has been selected as the captain of Comilla XI. Shamim, who is married to Maya (Afsan Ara Bindu) is seen as the 'older brother' of the neighbourhood. The entire town is getting ready for the football match between Comilla XI and India's Tripura XI. As per tradition, every two years Tripura XI comes to Comilla to play two friendly matches with the home team. Unfortunately Comilla XI has never been able to beat Tripura XI. This year however, because Shamim is captain and his team is so strong, the people of Comilla are hopeful that their team might be able to beat Tripura XI. When unforeseeable and unavoidable circumstances make it so that Shamim and the rest of the Comilla XI team cannot play, the Azad Boys decide to play in lieu of Comilla XI. And thus starts the journey of Tuhin (Rawnak Hasan), Rafi (Arefin Shubho), Joy (Nayeem Sobhan), Mesba (Palash) and the rest of the Azad Boys. Each of these boys comes across many obstacles along the way, whether it is a disapproving older brother, like Mesba, or a rich father who has no time for his son, as is the case with Rafi. Because the original team is no longer playing and the Azad Boys are not a professional team, the sponsors have dropped out, leaving the new Comilla XI team with no money and no support. Regardless, headstrong and determined, the boys come together under the leadership of Coach Saffu (Tarek Anam Khan), a no-nonsense former team-member of the Shadhin Bangla Football Team. The tension is taken to a hilt when the two teams finally meet on the football field in Comilla Stadium for a breathtaking climax.

A scene from Jaago.

The film is a great mix of old and new, with more experienced actors such as Tarek Anam and Ferdous, and the fresh faces of the youth, such as Bindu, Rawnak, Shubho, Nayeem and Palash. While Tarek Anam and Ferdous have done justice to their reputations as versatile, powerful actors, it is worth mentioning that Nayeem, playing the love-sick Joy, has done an amazing job capturing the playfulness and sensitivity of his character. In addition Shubho and Palash, who were playing the roles of boys from troubled families, gave great performances and certainly made the audiences tear up from time to time. Bindu, a newcomer, had a small, but powerful role, for which she gave a noteworthy performance.

In the last few years, Bangladesh has seen a subtle change in the film industry. Films such as Monpura have changed the face of Bangladeshi cinema, striving to make the standard of film quality higher, in terms of content, acting and production. Gone are the days of over-acting, formulaic films and shoddy post-production. We are now in a new era of filmmaking. Jaago is riding with that new momentum, featuring a soundtrack that has hit songs such as Shomoy Churi, Jhum Jhum Brishti, and of course the title track, which will make anyone listening want to stand up and cheer, ‘Jaago’. The post-production of the film was done in Prime Focus, in Hyderabad, India.

This movie is not just about football. It is a story that encompasses everything that we hold dear. It is about brotherhood, friendship, love, patriotism, and above all, believing in oneself. Apart from changing the face of Bangladeshi cinema, Jaago will also change the way we see our country. It will take us through a journey in which hopefully the end result will be to love ourselves, our country and above all, our fellow beings.

Jaago is going to be released at theatres across the country today


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