Tanvir Mokammel is a film-maker and an author of books from Bangladesh. Born in 1955, he has made five full-length feature films and twelve documentaries. His films, some of which have received national and international awards are “The River Named Modhumoti” (a deconstruction of the Hamlet-story on the backdrop of Bangladesh’s liberation war against Pakistan in 1971), “Quiet Flows the River Chitra” (plight of a Hindu Family who after the partition of India in 1947 refused to migrate from the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), “A Tree Without Roots” (based on a novel by Syed Waliullah about a Mullah who established a false shrine), “Lalon” (A bio-pic of the famous baul song-composer of the 19th century rural Bengal) and “The Sister” (a filmised deconstruction of the Greek play ‘Antigone’ by Sophocles).
Tanvir Mokammel’s prominent documentaries are; “The Unknown Bard”, a bio-pic of Lalon Fakir and his baul ideas; “Teardrops of Karnaphuli”, about the political conflict between the Chakma and other ethnic peoples of the Chittagong hills against the Bengalees; “Riders to the Sunderbans”, a documentary about the journey of the poor fishermen’s wives through the mangrove forest of the Sunderbans to reach the sea; “A Tale of the Jamuna River”, a journey-film about the Jamuna river depicting the condition of the river and the relationship of the river with the people living beside it; “The Garment Girls of Bangladesh”, a documentary which follows three garment girls who came to work from village to the big city Dhaka and through them depict the condition of this billion dollar export-oriented industry in Bangladesh, the price war and the wage factor of the workers; “Tajuddin Ahmad : An Unsung Hero”, a bio-pic of Tajuddin Ahmad, the first prime minister of Bangladesh who in absence of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib led the Bangladesh liberation war and was later killed inside the jail; “The Promised Land”, depicts the plight of the Urdu-speaking Muslims from Bihar, popularly Known as the “Biharis” who had migrated from India in 1947 to live in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh); “Images and Impressions”, a documentary about the International People’s College (IPC) in Helsingor, Denmark where the film-maker taught for few months.
Tanvir Mokammel’s important books are “A Brief History of World Cinema”, “The Art of Cinema”, “Charlie Chaplin: Conquests of the Vagabond” (a book on the life and art of Charlie Chaplin), “Syed Waliullah, Sisyphus and Quest of Tradition in Novel” (a literary criticism), translation of Maxim Gorky’s play “The Lower Depth”, “Grundtvig and Folk Educaiton”, a book on the alternative educational ideas and Grundtvig’s educational concepts.During his youth, Tanvir Mokammel worked as a progressive journalist and spent few years as a left-wing activist helping landless peasants in their struggles. Mr.Tanvir Mokammel is now the director of “Bangladesh Film Institute” (BFI) and “Bangladesh Film Centre” (BFC).