Neighbour’s niche

Apart from sharing borders,they also share the creator of their national anthems. The only two countries in the world to adopt national anthems from Rabindranath Tagore's treasure trove ...

Written by Shashi Priya | Published: February 18, 2009 1:49:35 am

The first-ever Bangladeshi film festival in the city will introduce Puneites to their cultural counterparts

Apart from sharing borders,they also share the creator of their national anthems. The only two countries in the world to adopt national anthems from Rabindranath Tagore’s treasure trove,India and Bangladesh once again will have a lot to share and this time it is the platform where the luminaries of cinema from both the countries will come together. For,the occasion will be the first ever Bangladeshi film festival in the city where over six Bangladeshi films will be screened,at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and the National Film Archives of India (NFAI).

From the art cinema of the country will be films and documentaries to transport the audience in the land that continues with its quest to search its roots. Eager to fit in the pieces of the jigsaw that the country’s history is,the Bangladeshis continue with their quest of putting the missing parts at the right places. A reflection of their pursuit,their films too cling to the threads of history. Perhaps one of the many reasons the films in some way or the other deal with a historical time period is that their quest continues. “This is very characteristic too of the art cinema in the country. All films will deal with some time in the nation’s history and the reasons that led to making that period a historical one,” says Gayatri Chatterjee,faculty,FTII,while introducing the art house in Bangladesh.

Gracing the three-day festival will be a long list of art cinema artistes from Bollywood. “Shabana Azmi,Amol Palekar,Pankaj Kapoor and Deepti Naval have confirmed their visit to the three day festival and so has Tanuja,” says Chatterjee.

The FTII,that started working on the concept some five months back initially aimed to have a SAARC film festival where films from SAARC countries would have been screened. “We wanted to have a SAARC film festival but due to recession,it melted down to just Bangladesh. The films have tremendous social relevance and will compel one probe its own deeper emotions,” Pankaj Rag,director,FTII.

As the country faces the undercurrents of political turmoil,the films mirror the abject trauma. According to Rag the documentaries and films are acutely political. Where Muktir Gaan (Song of Freedom) puts forth gradations of fundamentalism,Swapna Bhoomi (The Promised Land) paints the plight of Bihari Muslims who are yet to be granted their full citizenship rights in Bangladesh.

Set against the background of Partition,another 119-minute feature film revolves around the life of Tithi,a girl torn between her integrity and faith. Tithi grows in age with every scene in the film and so does her plight,a story of isolation to solitude the film stirs one’s emotions making one feel deeply for the victims of partition.

The three-day festival will have award-winning documentaries and feature films being screened at the FTII and NFAI. The screening will be followed by a 45-minute discussion. A critically acclaimed film,Tareque Masud’s Matir Moina (The Clay Bird) has won the prestigious FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes film festival. ” In the year 2002 the prize was given for Director’s Fortnight Category,” says Chatterjee.

The festival will also have on display a photo exhibition on Tapan Sinha. The uncompromising director outside the orbit of parallel cinema will be remembered once more through the stills of the director “The exhibition will feature equal number of stills from his films and while he is at work,” says Rag.

11:30 am to 1.15pm – Matir Moina – Tareque Masud

04:00 pm to 6:30pm – Nirontar – Abu Sayeed
(Film screenings on February 20 at FTII main theatre)

9:30am – 11:30 am – Chitra Nadir Pare – Tanvir Mokammel

2:30pm – 4.30pm – Itihaash Kanya – Shameem Akhtak

5:00pm – 7:30pm – Swapna Bhoomi – Tanvir Mokammel

(Film Screenings on February 21 at NFAI auditorium

2:00 to 5:00pm – Muktir Gaan – Tareque Masud
(Film screening on February 22 at NFAI auditorium)

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