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Few people outside fiction can claim to have fought with crocs and survived to fight yet another day. And all this while deeply enjoying every minute. The khaki clad 'Crocodile Hunter' and respected nationalist, who made a worldwide name for himself handling dangerous wildlife, was killed when a stingray barb punctured his chest. This happened while filming a documentary off the coast of Australia on 4th September. According to reports, paramedics flew out to the Great Barrier Reef - the scene of the tragedy - to treat him but it was too late.

Steve has left behind a wife, 42-year-old Terri, and two children - eight-year-old daughter Bindi and his son Bob, two.

Fans have flooded internet message boards devoted to the 44-year-old star to pay their tributes. On the Animal Planet site, Whitney Colbert wrote: "His compassion for the living things around him was and is truly remarkable. We've lost a great man."

Steve - who was renowned for his daredevil antics on his 'Crocodile Hunter' TV series - hit the headlines in 2004 after he was caught holding baby Bob, who was just one month old at the time, while he fed crocodiles.

Later that year, he was cleared of charges claiming he got too close to penguins, a seal and humpback whales while filming a documentary in Antarctica.

He was perhaps more famous in the United States even than in his home country of Australia. Steve Irwin created a huge fan base and a multi-billion dollar business from his risk taking showmanship.

Here's couple of quotes from the great man himself and his take on life:

Steve Irwin on 'Australian Story': Here's a weird thing most of us humans have is, you know, Steve Irwin is all pretty interesting on the telly or in the movie and that, but by crikey it's great when he gets bitten. These spitting cobras, they're highly venomous. Spit! And as luck would have it every now and again I do get bitten but I haven't been killed and it's that, you know, that sense of morbidity that people do have.

Steve Irwin on his childhood catching crocs: And that was absolutely the most incredible time of my entire life, for me, my dad and my family, running around up in north Queensland catching all these crocodiles.

Bengali Film Review

The journey into a family oriented Bengali Film in Dhaka

Tareque and Catherine Masud's latest film venture has many of us struck with vision and inspiration and at the same time, addresses a number of unanswered questions about culture and a person's roots. Ontorjatra, the latest and most talked about alternative film of the year premiered several weeks ago on the silver screens of various theatres around Dhaka. This time however, the British Council, who helped in making the film, arranged for the general masses and students to get to see the film for a cheaper price in its own auditorium. I was one of the lucky few who were invited to the opening ceremony of the film showing in the BC on the 1st of July.

Alongside screening the film, BC also arranged for the major actors and Tareque and Catherine to be present at the venue to answer questions about the film. So it was a good opportunity to probe into the objectives and mistakes of the film right after the first impression. I will not spoil the fun for those who have yet to see it by revealing the plot. But in a jiffy, the film is about a mother and her son who had been uprooted from their family and the son from his father, a pair who come back after many years to attend the father's funeral. As they arrive, they realize that Dhaka has changed leaps and bounds in the last decade and relationships have become estranged. Can the boy form a bond with his family at home whom he hasn't seen in years? Can the widow overcome her differences with them now that the ex husband has died? Through these conflicts and questions, the story reveals itself.

Ontorjatra was filmed in Digital Video and then converted to 35mm. The film texture is so crisp (the BC boasted a computer projector instead of a regular 35mm film projector) and the colours so vibrant that it made worthwhile the experiment conducted by the Masuds. I was personally inspired to just go out with my handy-cam and start shooting a film! The sound was also authentic. Tareque Masud confirmed that the team had taken great effort to create the realistic soundscape by capturing live sounds, like those inside a moving train. The editing was impeccable and the lack of any kind of tracking shots made life easier for Catherine.

Whatever the subject matter of the movie it is quite apparent that the director was trying to portray the inner journey of the young boy at the death of his father. The son's role was successfully portrayed by Rifaqat Rashid, who had no prior experience in acting. Such was his success that after the showing, people were thinking of him more as Sohel than Rifaqat. He too answered some of the questions that the movie raised during the question answer session. The other eye catching performance was by Raisa Nawar, playing Rini, the kid's half sister. I think she was the crowd's favourite. Harold Rashid as the uncle was also great. Sara Zaker resurfaced after years to do this project but I thought she was so busy donning the Sylheti accent that her acting suffered. Nevertheless, it was good to see her back.

The movie is essentially low priced so that younger generations of film enthusiasts like us can get to go out and watch a quality Bengali film. I don't know if it is still being shown in BC, but if you can afford it, I would suggest going out and getting the original DVD.

By Tanvir Hafiz


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