Cinema of Bangladesh Cinema of Bangladesh

Cinema of Bangladesh Cinema of Bangladesh

14 March 2018 12:32 pm

The cinema of Bangladesh comes from Bengali language-based film industry, and revolves around Dhaka (Bangladesh). It has been a significant film industry since the early 1970s. The industry is frequently referred to as "Dhallywood" (Bengali: ঢালিউড) - a portmanteau of the words Dhaka and Hollywood. The dominant style of Bangladeshi cinema is melodramatic cinema, which developed from 1947 to 1990 and characterizes most feature films to date. 

Cinema was introduced in present-day Bangladesh in 1898 by Bradford Bioscope Company - credited to have arranged the first film release in Bangladesh. During 1913–‘14, the first production company i.e. Picture House was opened. A short, silent film Sukumari (The Good Girl) was the first film produced in the region (1928). Then followed the first full-length film - The Last Kiss (released in 1931). In 1956, The Face and the Mask was produced – as the first Bengali language Bangladeshi full-length feature film. 

Throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80s and the first half of the 90s, the Bangladeshi film industry witnessed its golden period; and produced many successful films. Some of the films are still adored beyond borders. Directors namely Fateh Lohani, Zahir Raihan, Alamgir Kabir, Khan Ataur Rahman, Subhash Dutta, Ritwik Ghatak, Ehtesham, Chashi Nazrul Islam, Abdullah al Mamun, Sheikh Niamat Ali, Gazi Mazharul Anwar, Tanvir Mokammel, Tareque Masud, Morshedul Islam et al made significant contributions toBangladeshi mainstream cinema, parallel cinema, art films and won global acclaim. In more recent times, Humayun Ahmed, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, Zahidur Rahim Anjan, Kamar Ahmed Saimon, Bijon Imtiaz, Amitabh Reza Chowdhury, Fakhrul Arefeen Khan, Dipankar Sengupta Dipon, Abu Shahed Emon, Rubaiyat Hossain have made their mark and caught attention of global cine-scenes, Festivals.

Since Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971, Dhaka has emerged as the center of Bangladeshi film industry; and generates the majority share of revenue, production and audience.

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Film Screenings

1‘Doob: No Bed of Roses’ directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki in 2017. 
Screening on 23rd March at 5:30PM  & 25th March at 10:30AM
Successful movie director Javed Hasan finds himself in a midlife crisis, questioning whether marriage and career have demanded too much from him. A tryst with Nitu,his daughter’s childhood friend, turns into a national scandal. Javed’s loving family is torn apart. He eventually divorces wife Maya and is estranged from daughter Saberi and son Ahir. Javed and Nitu marry, but it’s no bed of roses for the couple as they receive the wrath of judgmental Bangladeshi society. Once close friends, Saberi and Nitu become vulnerable to public shame. Saberi realizes that Nitu has competed against her since childhood. Saberi must now regroup herself and push her mother to explore the grace of independence. In desperation, together they seek strength.


2‘Anil Bagchir Ekdin’ directed by Morshedul Islam in 2015.
Screening on 24th March at 10:30AM
Twenty six year old Anil Bagchi has been a timid person from his childhood. He works in an insurance company in Dhaka and lives in a house with others. His school teacher father and the only elder sister Atoshi live in their village Rupeshwar. His mother had died at his birth. The idealist and honest father has tried to imbue his ideals in Anil. The old man loves nature and believes that there are certain manifestations of nature that no artist can capture in paint these can only be felt at the depth of ones heart. Atoshi loves a young man who is a Muslim, but cannot tell anyone about it. She keeps it as a secret to herself.


3‘Bhuban Majhi’ directed by Fakhrul Arefin Khan in 2017.

Screening on 24th March at 3:00PM

It is a Journey of 4 decade with love, passion and independence of Bangladesh.

Things  arrive as certain threat while characters are moving through a real history.

End turns to endless.



4‘Aynabazi’ directed by Amitabh Reza Chowudhury in 2016.
Screening on 24th March at 5:30PM
Ayna is an actor and the prison is his stage. He slips into the characters of the powerful convicted in exchange of money and take their place in prison. This strange profession is borne out of a society that doesn't give him a chance to follow his passion of acting, but forces him to act in the real life. Falling in love with the girl next door changes his life equation and he decides to end this career with one last performance. But this one takes him too deep in the rabbit hole. The story unfolds on how an underdog survives in a society that is merciless and struggles his way out from the clutch of crime game in which he is a part too.


5‘Television’ directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki in 2012. 
Screening on 54th March at 3:00PM
As a leader of the local community, Chairman Amin (Shahir Huda Rumi) bans every kind of image in his water-locked village in rural Bangladesh. He even goes on to claim that imagination is also sinful since it gives one the license to infiltrate into any prohibited territory. But change is a desperate wind that is difficult to resist by shutting the window. The tension between this traditional window and modern wind grows to such an extent that it starts to leave a ripple effect on the lives of a group of typically colorful, eccentric, and emotional people living in that village. But at the very end of the film, Television, which he hated so much, comes to the rescue and helps Chairman Amin reach a transcendental state where he and his God are unified.


6‘Under Construction’ directed by Rubaiyat Hossain in 2015.
Screening on 54th March at 3:00PM
Struggling to find herself in the sprawl of urban Bangladesh, Muslim theater actress Roya suffers from her husband's wish for children and traditional life. Not interested in motherhood, she decides to reconstruct a famous and politically minded play for modern times, reclaiming her identity, her freedom and her sexuality in the process.



Featuring Bangladeshi Directors.

FarookiMostofa Sarwar Farooki is a Bangladeshi film director, screenwriter and film producer. Farooki is considered one of the leading figures to bring modernism/realism in Bangladeshi Cinema, those who have bridged the gap between escapism and reality. "Mostofa Sarwar Farooki could be the next South-east Asian filmmaker to break out", The Hollywood Reporter wrote in the review of his film Television. Variety's Jay Weissberg wrote. "Mostofa Sarwar Farooki is a key exemplar of Bangladeshi new wave cinema movement". He is also the pioneer of an avant-grade filmmakers' movement called "Chabial".

Morshedul Islam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 1, 1958. He made his film making debut in 1984 with the short film "Agami" while he was a student. He completed his Bachelor and Master degree in Pharmacy from the University of Dhaka. After participating in a film appreciation course organized by Bangladesh Film Institute & Archive, started making his first film "Agami" (Time Ahead), a short fiction, in 1982 about the Great War of Liberation of Bangladesh, when he was a student of the University of Dhaka. 'Agami' won the 'Silver Peacock' award for best direction in 10th International Film Festival of India, New Delhi in 1985. It also won the National Award for best short film and was shown in many international film festivals. The success of 'Agami', the first independent short film of the country, performed a leading role to establish an alternative film movement in Bangladesh.

KhanFakhrul Arefin Khan is an independent filmmaker. He first released his documentary Al-Badar in 2007, which traces the course of war crimes committed by the local collaborators of the Pakistan army during the Liberation War. The documentary has been screened in different districts in 2009 and received a huge response for its boldness and credibility. It also won the maker an award in 2011. And for its credibility, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) used it as an authentic document for investigation. He came in touch with films while he was a student in the History Department of Jahangirnagar University in the late 1990s. “I have great interest in photography and I have a soft corner for the history of our Liberation War. I used to watch a lot of films but did not have any intention of stepping into filmmaking,” he said. His debut feature film is Bhubon Majhi (2017).

Amithab NewAmitabh Reza Chowudhury is a prominent advertisement- and film-maker in Bangladesh. In his career, he has directed nearly fifteen hundred television commercials (henceforth TVCs). Amitabh has also directed few television films to critical acclaim. He founded the production house 'half stop down', which mainly produces TVCs. Amitabh's directorial debut in theatrical feature film is Aynabaji which was released in 30 September, 2016.


RubhayaRubaiyat Hossain is one of Bangladesh's handful of female filmmakers, known for her critically acclaimed debut feature film Meherjaan (2011) which faced political and cultural wrath in Bangladesh for its anti war narrative, and its critic of masculine nationalism from a feminine point of view. The film was stripped down from theaters across Bangladesh only one week after its release, and is still prohibited from being screened. Rubaiyat has completed her B.A. in Women Studies from Smith College, USA and M.A. in South Asian Studies from University of Pennsylvania. Currently she lives between Dhaka and New York making films and attending Tisch School of Arts at New York University in Cinema Studies.

Her next film, Under Construction, was released in 2015 and tells the story of an urban middle-class woman in an unhappy marriage who plays the role of Nandini in Tagore's play Red Oleanders (Raktakarabi). It has been screened at film festivals around the world and received several awards.

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