Someone Has to Initiate
Syed Salauddin Zaki
Let us visualise a scene, a game between the GOOD and the EVIL: The situation is highly tensed as just one run is needed by the Evil's batting side to win the match. A bowler, say a leg spinner, comes up to the stumps to deliver a ball to a formidable batsman, a demon from the '71 slaughter house. The bowler is well versed in all the theories of spin bowling and of course all the philosophies of googlies to deceive a batsman. As he runs to bowl, a whirlpool of theories baffles him. He abandons his attempt and walks back to start and repeatedly fails to deliver as he is prompted by another theory. Warned by the umpire, in his utter desperation, the theory obsessed bowler literally throws the ball to the bat. “NO BALL” shouts the umpire. The opponent EVIL gets a run to win without even hitting and running between the wickets.
Right from 1972, we are compromising and trying to bake breads with long-winded verbose oratory only. Some half-wit, half-baked agents of a global philosophy even provoked our Father to commit suicide (sort of, that is my understanding.) We never delivered the simplest of the simple balls.
After about 40 years, he delivered a simple straight ball with no jugglery. And the crooked evil, this time, tempted by the simplicity of the delivery, might be caught unaware and might make a faulty hit. The ball will be up in the sky. Catch it or you are doomed forever.
RUNWAY SCENE ONE
They captured the runway on the 25th night. A plane took off stealthily under the cover of darkness, carrying a man who was painting multifarious images of a nation with a noble vision and proposition. No sound of the aircraft could be heard as machine guns roared all around killing millions. The heinous mission accomplished?
NO. The bamboo sticks, the wooden boat paddles, the ploughs, the flutes, the chorus singing voices were quickly transformed into solid weapons of resistance. We felt the wall on the back, so no turning away. No time to theorise. It was the time to organise and fight back, fight till last to repel the locust. The innocent millions engulfed and encircled the runway and virtually made it non-functional. The control tower became their self-dug grave. We won.
RUNWAY SCENE TWO
On the 10th of January 1972, a plane kissed the hurriedly repaired runway of the historic Tejgaon airport, carrying the same man, a bit stressed and anxious but definitely not withered. He was destined to use this runway, rebuild, to mark the take-off of a nation with proud wings. Forgiven by the over-joyous kind and oblivious Bengalis, sheltered by the Meerjafars, some dubious elements smiled and waited for the opportune moment. Shots smeared the stairs of the Road 32 within years. The body of the man fell, leaving the spirit behind for us to initiate a fight again.
RUNWAY SCENE THREE
Since then mighty aircrafts landed with a shrieking noise, wheels scratching the surface with bleeds. Inside the control tower of the runway sat the satanic elements.
In Nirmalendu Goon's voice we once again hear “Amar shomosto ghreena protishodhey obiram juddhya rata”, The fight continues.
The control tower falls. But even today we hear an ominous voice, the audacious irate voice of a lady who spent her leisure time inside the pleasure house of the so-called Uttar Para during the fierce days of our freedom fight. She opposes the trials of those who committed crimes against humanity. This is a clear reminder that her mentors are still alive and conspiring. The cat is out of the sac.
RUNWAY: TAREQUE MASUD and CATHERINE
Monstrous huge prehistoric birds take off and land with routine monotony.
What matters is the 'life' just beneath the wings.
To make the Runway safe forever for take off and touch downs with the wings of Doel or Balaka, we have to rebuild the other side of the fence where more than 90 percent of us live. Tareque's mini Bangladesh consists of a cow, an upright mother, a crippled grandpa with no orthodox attitude (but performs Taiyemmum though), a daughter with her meagre lunch box and a son with a changing face and a susceptible mind, a family quantised but homogenous-all depicting a vast canvas, an eternal picture of my land beyond any fence. And all their lives are loaned out against a cow (the holy mother cow!). And just outside the arena we find our simple eternal “mama” with a symbolic scientist's portrait behind him (Einstein with all his innovative genius was a Jew! Tareque?). Simple souls suffer most. Goutam did suffer. So did our mama. And we see the internet world offering free access to universal information, unguarded and un-filtered, a perfect breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes with beard. The sandy Char of the dried out mighty rivers are like the spiritually empty deserts offering a vast ideal training ground for the equally empty headed, dehumanised elements hypnotised by a fanatic's philosophy. Careful crafting, Tareque. One thing I admire most is that your brush did not paint with gimmicky strokes, over dramatising the reality. You did not paint the characters with absolute black or with absolute white, rather with infinite shades of grey associated with any earthly character. That is great! Ray's Protidondi kept me guessing but Tareque's Runway kept me wide awake.
Mishuk Munier's aesthetically soothing photography, the use of the lenses and the intimate lighting captivate the audience. The cutting pattern is very simple and the exposition is straight. It never forces the viewer to follow the line painstakingly.
A genuine Chalachitra Boddhya (I respect him) quipped : Oh! Tareque should not have used a split image “cliché” to depict the split conscience or the mental condition of the son. My reaction: No! The technique is no longer cliché as no one today uses this simple delivery to make a point clear, rather the ease of digital techniques allures them to complicate the issue creating a smoke of confusion. It was Tareque's rejuvenation. One of the striking fleeting characters is the child with the catapult: the message was clear. Beware of the catapults. The innocent child with the toy might roar if we fail to hit the stumps or fail to catch the opportune moment.
And the Mother! The source of all our strength! With her soft fingers of 'momota', she purifies the petrified face of her son, the greatest ablution ever pictured for the screen after Anthony Quinn's (as Auda Abu Tayi) ablution scene in Lawrence of Arabia. Our mother “jeno nikoy uthan”, the disillusioned face of the son, the soil... with milk from the mother cow...
We have to save this mother. Now.
The ball is in the air. Catch it. Do not fumble. Do not clash or collide and drop....So that we can shout with joy;“How is that?”
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