শুক্রবার, ২ অক্টোবর, ২০০৯

Jai Bangla: Visual memoirs of a freedom fighter


Shahabuddin Ahmed is one of the most recognised painters of our country who carved a niche in the '70s -- a time when a few artists started to experiment, and some painters were busy establishing a personal hallmark. Shahabuddin profoundly established himself as an ardent and devoted painter over the decades. His signature traits are vibrant figures and their poignant movements. The movements are quite dissimilar from those of his contemporaries. Each movement makes what amounts to a distinct look and language. The language is closely connected to the time of the country's turbulent birth and its significant aspects. His paintings encapsulate ecstasy, affections and torment. He wants to visually document a certain time, moments, and he has a great tendency to mingle an era with others.

বৃহস্পতিবার, ১ অক্টোবর, ২০০৯

A TV show dedicated to stars and their fans


"Tomar Jonno Mortey Pari" will be aired on Ekushey TV tonight at 7:50pm. Anchored by Debashish Biswas, the programme is directed by Salman Mahmud.The programme features a star and his/her fans. The fans are sought out through different competitions held across the country. On the show the fans will have the opportunity to meet their favourite star. The show will also decide who the best fan is. Tonight's featured star is actress Srabonti.Silvana Sadia is the producer of the programme.

বুধবার, ৩০ সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০০৯

Yasmine Kabir wins top award at Film South Asia Festival ‘09


Two documentaries by Bangladeshi filmmakers Yasmine Kabir and Tanvir Mokammel have won top awards at the Film South Asia Festival 2009 held in Kathmandu, Nepal. The festival concluded on September 21.
While Kabir's documentary "The Last Rites," a moving story about ship-breaking yards in Chittagong and the lives of people associated with the trade, was adjudged the best film and won the prestigious Ram Bahadur Trophy, Mokammel's "Swapnabhumi" (The Promised Land), a film about Urdu-speaking 'Biharis' in Bangladesh, was one of the two films which bagged the second-best awards.
The best debut film award went to India's Faiza Ahmad Khan's "The Supermen of Malegaon" which is the story of people of a small power-loom town in the western Indian town.
The three-member festival jury headed by Sadanand Menon and comprising Lalsawmliani Tochhawng and Isa Daudpota heaped praise on Yasmine Kabir's documentary that beat off competition from a package of 35 films.
The jury in a statement said that "at the end of viewing the package of 35 films it was unanimous in its assessment that one of the shortest films eminently qualifies for the biggest award. We name Yasmine Kabir's 'The Last Rites' for the prestigious Ram Bahadur Trophy."
"This gem of a film," said the jury, "fully satisfies the demands of what could be described as a 'complete' film. There is the superb tandem of camera and sound. It is sharply etched and tightly edited. It connects the 'death rituals' of ship-breaking with the struggles for life of a community of people. It treats its extended silence as its strength."
The film reminded the jury of legendary American filmmaker Robert Flaherty's memorable documentary "The Man of Aran" (1934) and, in that sense, connects the origins of the documentary genre with its contemporary practice. The film made us feel proud to be part of Film South Asia 2009."
In selecting Mokammel's "Swapnabhumi" for the second-best film award, the jury was equally effusive describing it as "a very well crafted" film that "deftly captures the festering sore of 'stateless citizens' or 'stranded citizens' in so many regions of our extended sub-continent."
"It powerfully draws our attention to the issue of identities that have become a bane of post-colonial South Asia -- the question 'Who Am I' becomes one of the trickiest questions of our times, as many segments of our population become playthings of current history. The film tells this story with grace," said the jury.
Mokammel, the film's director who is now on a four-week tour of Japan, was understandably happy at his documentary being chosen for the award. In an e-mail response from Japan to The Daily Star, he expressed his happiness

মঙ্গলবার, ২৯ সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০০৯

Chalachitra Mela on Oct 2

To explore Bengali movies and raising these films to all, Channel i is going to organise a day-long film fair titled 'Chalachitra Mela' on October 2 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at Sher-e-Banglanagar in the city. It will be the second consecutive arrangement by the channel authority.All classes of personalities including film stars, musicians and others will take part in the fair.This was disclosed at a press conference at Channel i Siddeshwari office in the city yesterday.Managing Director of Faridur Reza Sagar, among others, were present at the conference. A total of 16 stalls will be set up in the fair featuring documentary screening, dance, music, acting and other performances will be presented in the day-long event. The fair will be aired live on Channel i from 11:05am to 5:30pm.

Shahabuddin’s “Jai Bangla” opens at Bengal Gallery


Evocative paintings move Shabana Azmi to tears

A visibly moved Shabana Azmi said about internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi artist Shahabuddin's works, "Words cannot adequately express the overwhelming emotions surfacing when I saw his works."The actress par excellence, who has earned considerable repute as a social activist throughout the sub-continent, was a vision of grace and sophistication in a saree, with a flower in her hair. As a horde of cameras blocked her from the view, Azmi moved to the other side of the podium, so that the seated guests could see her. She had flown in from Durban, South Africa. Speaking as a special guest at the opening of Shahabuddin's latest solo exhibition "Jai Bangla" on September 27 at Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, the Indian actress who has avid fans in Dhaka, said, "When Luva (Nahid Chowdhury) invited me, I was a little apprehensive, as my schedule was pretty tight, but I believe it's my good fortune that I decided to come here."The actress demonstrated her formidable oratory skills and compassion for arts as she continued, "We, South Asians, have to work together if we intend to make our presence felt on the global stage. No, we're not talking about homogeneity. This is not a melting pot where individual identities get submerged. The sub-continent is a colourful mosaic, and this diversity is our strength.""I was looking at Shahabuddin's works, and I wasn't alone. This was not the best setting to fully appreciate art, but these images stopped me in my tracks. I was immersed in the world of his paintings. When you can give even one viewer this feeling, as an artist you have earned your greatest honour," Azmi said as her voice choked up momentarily and her eyes glistened with tears. Shahabuddin fondly recalled watching "Ankur" (Azmi's debut film) in Oxford and being an ardent admirer of the thespian ever since. The artist is clearly not a man of words, but his paintings speak volumes and beyond to articulate the bedlam, the fire within. Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who was the chief guest, called Shahabuddin "the Jai Bangla artist." According to the minister, "Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin is known for his works on 'manwantar' (the great famine of 1943 in Bengal), and Shahabuddin's muse is the Liberation War. This freedom fighter's experiences during the war continue to stir his artistic senses."Luva Nahid Chowdhury, director general of Bengal Foundation, thanked the CEO of HSBC, Bangladesh, Sanjay Prakash, and the French Ambassador to Bangladesh Charley Causeret who expressed their deep interest in arranging the exhibition. "This is the 153rd exhibition hosted by Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts," informed Luva Nahid Chowdhury.Sumona Hassan, daughter of master artist 'Patua' Quamrul Hassan, presented paintings by her father to Shahabuddin, Shabana Azmi and the French Ambassador as gifts at the event.

সোমবার, ২৮ সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০০৯

Tit Bits , The celebrity name game


How important is one's name? In fact, William Shakespeare in his timeless love tragedy Romeo and Juliet questioned, "What's in a name?" None in Tinseltown, however, believes in that notion. For them, it is a name that creates as well as tarnishes one's image.In the early days of Hollywood or Bollywood, it was common for actors and singers to change their names to boost the image, often to avoid social issues, or just because the name was a 'tongue-twister'.The tradition of aspiring actors and actresses taking on new names is evident in our cinema as well. For instance, does anyone recognise Ratna or Idris? One is sure to be taken by surprise to learn these are the real names of their favourite heroine and hero Shabana and Illias Kanchan.This tradition of changing names kicked off with the first feature film of the Film Development Corporation (FDC), Aasia by Fateh Lohani, which introduced a powerful actress Sumita Devi. Her real name--Hena Bhattacharya--however remained insignificant even beyond the illusory boundary of the filmdom.Aasia also introduced Nandita Basak Jharna, who in her next film--famous filmmaker Ehtesham's movie Chanda, appeared as Shabnam and regaled cine goers with her unique charm.Shabana's career began at the age of nine as a child artiste with the film Notun Sur, credited with her real name Afroza Sultana Ratna. Later, it was Ehtesham again, who gave the young girl a completely romantic and glamorous image in his blockbuster Chakori with the name Shabana. Apparently Ehtesham's magical spell of names beginning with "Shab" was also becoming a trend.When one talks about Dhaka's successful film actresses, another name springs to mind -- Kabori. She also metamorphosed from Meena Pal at the age of 13 in her first movie Shutorang by Soovas Dutt.Kohinoor Akhter, a girl from Jessore, entered the showbiz through a documentary film by Kazi Khaleque. The name changed when she was cast in Soovas Dutt's feature film Kagojer Nouka in 1966 and turned out into the soon-to-be-famous Suchanda.Suchanda's younger sister, Farida Akhter Poppy also discarded her parental name after acting in Ehtesham's movie Peech Dhala Path. She became Babita.Azim-Sujata is well known as one of the legendary pairs of Dhakai films. What very few know is that a small town girl from Kushtia, Tandra Majumder, stepped into the FDC as Sujata.A child artiste--a girl, who played the role of a boy in the film Bablu, under the name Baby Helen, later became popular as Sucharita.Farhana Amin Ratna, a dancer from Kishoreganj, took the name Nutan in the film Nutan Prabhat, while Ifte Ara Dalia of Bikrampur became famous as Doel in Chashi Nazrul Islam's film Chandranath. Another popular artiste of the small and big screen, Sharmilee Ahmed's original name is Majeda Mullick.Not actresses alone, actors are also well into this phenomenon. Through H Akbar's movie Jalchhobi, Farooq stepped into the Dhakai filmdom in 1971. And thus Akbar Hossain Pathan, a young man from Gazipur, metamorphosed into today's Farooq.Soovas Dutt's famous film Binimoy introduced a new hero Ujjal in 1970, whose original name is Ashraf Uddin Ahmed. Mesbah Uddin Ahmed from Comilla came into film as an assistant director of the film Chhando Hariye Gelo and later turned into an actor himself in the movie Rater Por Din eventually changing the name to Wasim.Producer-director Masud Parvez took the name Sohel Rana while doing the movie on the famous secret agent Masud Rana. Tabarruk Ahmed from Dhaka became famous as Bulbul Ahmed.A famous comedian Tele Samad's original name was Abdus Samad, while silverscreen villain Jumbo's real name was Babul Gomes.Among the new age actresses, Shabnaz stepped from her actual name Sabrina Tania into the celluloid name with the film Chandni by Ehtesham. Arifa Zaman from Khulna is the artiste with immense screen appeal, Moushumi.The FDC's search for new faces in 1984 brought Aslam Talukder into the film arena with a brand new name, Manna. With the Bangla remake of a Hindi blockbuster -- Keyamat Thekey Keyamat in 1993, the film industry welcomed another popular actor Salman Shah. However, his original name was Chowdhury Mohammad Shahriar Imon.The top-notch actress of Bangladeshi filmdom Shabnoor's original name was Nupur. She was also christened by Ehtesham.In 1997, through the film Coolie, Sadika Parveen started her film career with the name Poppy. Another popular actress of today Purnima, who was introduced in the movie Ei Jibon Tomar Amar in 1997, bears the parental name Rita Hanif.These name changers have achieved considerable success. So, if you want to follow suit, make sure you have the talent to back it up with, of course, a catchy name.

রবিবার, ২৭ সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০০৯

Life in Bangla filmdom


Shahjahan Chowdhury is a noted film director, scriptwriter and dialogue writer. His highly selective writings delineate our social, economic and political conditions, as well as the Liberation War.Shahjahan is a journalist by profession. During the pre-Liberation period, he worked with the newspaper Khobor. After Independence, he began working with Bichitra. Later, he went on to publish a monthly, Nipun. Its subjects are cinema, literature, poetry, essays and drama. Now he is the editor and publisher of the Weekly Nipun. At the start of Shahjahan's career, he got a chance to work as a co-director with the legendary Pakistani filmmaker Saroor Barabankvi who was then working on “Akhri Station”. As he says, “I learned many things from this veteran filmmaker. In Bangladesh, I was always encouraged by Khan Ataur Rahman and Soovas Dutt. 'Ata bhai' (Khan Ataur Rahman) was my idol in Bangladesh. As a budding filmmaker, I felt confident, thanks to his loving and considerate approach. I learned scriptwriting, editing and various aspects of production from him.”“At one point, I also started writing lyrics. Some of my lyrics earned acclaim. Song writing completely depends on my mood. When I am in a pensive mood, Allah permits me to write,” says Shahjahan. He doesn't write songs frequently though. He believes that lyrics should be significant and insightful. “I was also closely associated with legendary musicians like Salil Chowdhury, Gauri Prasanna Majumdar and Naushad Ali. They persuaded me to write,” he asserts.So far Shahjahan Chowdhury has made four movies: “Pinjar” (1975), “Shatru” (1985), “Uttarer Khep” (2004) and “Ek Khando Jami” (2004). “Uttarer Khep” and “Ek Khando Jami” won several awards in different categories.“Uttarer Khep” is based on Shawkat Ali's novel with the same title. Renowned actress Champa bagged the National Award for her moving performance as the central character in the film. The film received a government grant. “Ek Khando Jami” is based on a poem written by Shahabuddin Nagri. It is an Impress Tele-film production. Champa and Raisul Islam Asad don the main roles in the film. Shahjahan's first movie “Pinjor” was a commercial hit. Besides making films, he has directed many TV plays. Shahjahan is now busy with his upcoming film. The film, “Atmadaan,” is adapted from Imdadul Haque Milon's “Suto-e Badha Projapoti”. The film is based on the Liberation War. As the director says, “During the Liberation War, the Pakistani army tortured the masses. Husbands lost wives, parents lost children... I want to present a complete picture of the war”. Fuji Colour has already provided a grant for the film.