Film Maker & Author

TANVIR MOKAMMEL

Tuesday
Apr 23rd

Video Gallery



Quite Flows the River Chitra (Chitra Nadir Pare)

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After the partition of India in 1947, Shashikanta's family, like millions of other Hindu families of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), faced the dilemma whether to migrate from the land in which they have been living for centuries. But Shashikanta Sengupta, an eccentric lawyer, stubborntly refuses to leave his motherland. Widower Shashikanta has two children, Minoti and Bidyut. Anuprava Devi is an affectionate old aunt who lives with the family. The family has a house in Narail, a small provincial town on the bank of the Chitra river. Some Muslim neighbours eye Shashaikanta's house. But the family refuse to migrate.
Shashikanta's children Minoti and Bidyut are friends with the neighbouring Muslim children— Badal, Salma and Nazma. Minoti and Badal become more than friends.
The children grow up. Badal goes to Dhaka University. Those were the days in 1960s when the atmosphere of the universities was charged with political radicalism. Badal got involved in anti-military student movement and while participating in a demonstration for democracy was killed by police firing.
Shashikanta's brother Nidhukanta is an idealist doctor who lives in their ancestral village on the other side of the Chitra River. During the 1964 riot between the Hindus and the Muslims, his daughter Basanti, a widow, is raped. Basanti commits suicide by drowning herself in the Chitra River. Nidhukanta's family migrate to India.
All these untoward incidents happening around affect Shashikanta's failing health. He suffers a heart stroke and passes away. Minoti and Anuprava finally leave for the border en route to Calcutta.
* The film received seven national awards including the best film and the best director of the year 1999. Other awards were best Story, best Script, best Art-Director, best Side Actress and best Make-up Man. Shown in London, Oslo, Fribourg (Switzerland), Singapore, Delhi, Calcutta and Trivandrum film festivals.

 

Teardrops of Karnaphuli (Karnaphulir Kanna)

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Comprised of three districts of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachari, Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is situated in the south-east of Bangladesh bordering Myanmar and India with an area 5,093 square miles. Twelve ethnic groups i.e. Chakma, Marma, Chak, Tanchangya, Tripura, Bom, Pankhu, Mrung, Lushai, Kheyang, Mru and Khumi live here who together like to be known as the "Jumma" people. The Chakmas, Marmas, Tanchangyas and Chaks, the vast majority of the Hill people, are Buddhist in religion.

The first crisis in the peaceful life of the Chittagong Hill Tracts took place in 1959-1962, when as part of the Kaptai hydro-electric project, a dam was constructed on the Karnaphuli river and the artificial Kaptai lake was created. 54,000 acres of arable land submerged and about one hundred thousand people were evicted.

Another severe crisis took place in the lives of the hill people when, since 1979, the Bangladesh government, by its own initiative, began to bring plain land Bengalees from outside and settled them in an artificial manner in the CHT. After two decades of armed conflict a peace accord was signed in 1997 between the Bangladesh government and the Shantibahani the armed wing of the PCJSS, the political organization of the Hill people. But many clauses of the peace accord have not yet been implemented.

Though having resources and having immense possibilities, not much development has taken place in CHT. The region has still remained as the most backward area of the impoverished Bangladesh. The Chittagong Hill Tracts remains as a sad example what happens to a people and a region if kept outside the main "national" sphere.

 

Lalon

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Lalon Fakir (? -- 1890), a doyen among the Baul-Fakirs of Bengal, composed few hundred songs of profound depth and an excellent sense of music. Buddhist Tantricism, Hindu Vaisnavism and Islamic Sufism all have their shares of influence on Lalon. Throughout the decades Lalon's songs, depicting asceticism and transience of life, have expressed the pathos and pangs of the caste-ridden subaltern rural populace of Bengal. Lalon's secular ideas and enchanting lyrics left deep influence on the subsequent generations of the different trends of Baul-Fakirs of Bangladesh and India. Though Lalon died only a hundred years ago yet not much details of his life is clearly known and some aspects are still shrouded in mystery. By portraying the milieu of Lalon who was a kind of a Guru during his life-time, the film aims to catch the social ethos of his period. Some historical personalities, who were prominent in the cultural history of Bengal of that time and came in touch with Lalon, like Jyotirindranath Tagore, Kangal Harinath and Mir Mosharraf Hossain, also figure in the film. The film tries to portray Lalon's life, persona and ideas mainly through the lyrics of his songs.

* Shown in the Fukuoka (Japan), London film festivals and in the competitive section of Goa (India) and Dhaka international film festivals.

 

A Tree Without Roots (Lalsalu )

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Based on the novel "LALSALU" (A TREE WITHOUT ROOTS) written by Syed Waliullah and published in 1948, is perhaps the most significant novel about the rural Muslim community of East Bengal(Bangladesh). The brief storyline is;

In a remote agrarian village, suddenly a haggard-looking Mullah named Majid appears. He cleans up an old dilapidated grave and by declaring it as the shrine of a famous Pir (a holy man) begins to worship it. The villagers, of course, have no clue who the holyman was, and though it is a hoax, gradually give in and begin to believe in the myth.The mystery of the grave, the red fabric spreaded over its oval shape, the glowing candles and the Quranic chants that Majid recites beside the grave, create such an aura in the ambience that the villagers, mostly simple peasants, completely succumb to Majid's spell. They start to bring rice and money as offerings to the "holy shrine". The shrine, over the years, provides Majid not only economic solvency but psychological domination over the community as well. From a vagabond desperado, he becomes a man well rooted in society. He marries Rahima, a not-so-young but hard working peasant woman who though robustly built, remains a docile wife. But as Majid's wealth and power increase he feels the need of a younger wife. He marries Jamila, a teenage girl who has no fear either for the grave or for Majid himself. Majid helplessly remains infatuated to his young sexy wife and gradually loses his composure and the myth about the 'holy' grave becomes threatened. Jamila, inadvertently, becomes the nemesis for Majid. And Mother Nature, in the form of a deluge, finally strikes as Majid oversteps the boundary of humanity.
The film received eight national awards including the best film and the best director of the year 2001. Other awards were best Story, best Script, best Cinematography, best Sound, best Actor and best Side Actress.
Besides, received Jury's special mention in 1st International Film Festival, 2003, Dhaka and has been shown in London, Rotterdam, Montreal, Quebec, Cinenouvo (Belgium), Jeonju (South Korea), Fukuoka and Delhi International Film Festivals.

 

A Tale of the Jamuna River (Oie Jamuna)

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Descending from Tibet and crossing the whole Asam valley the Brahmaputra river, after entering into Bangladesh, has taken the name— the Jamuna. An off-shoot of the mighty Brahmaputra, the present Jamuna, created by an earthquake in the eighteenth century, now itself is a major river of the world. The Jamuna, a braided river rather than a meandering one, becomes full of shoals during dry season and looks more like a lake than a river. Only in monsoon the whole of the Jamuna becomes one river. The film-maker, along with his crew, followed the course of the Jamuna on a boat towards downstream to reach where the Padma, another major river of the Indian sub-continent, has confluenced with the Jamuna. The film deals with the different aspects of the Jamuna river— its vastness, its erosion, its shoals, its fishes, and the most interesting aspect, the people living on its banks. The film contains a series of interviews with fishermen, farmers, weavers, boat-makers, folk-singers who all tell the impact of the Jamuna on their lives and their feelings about this mighty river. The interviewees include a veteran fisherman, a housewife, a folk-singer, a school-teacher and a small boy who sells egg in the ferries, all different people whose homesteads have been eroded by the Jamuna river.

A journey-film and shot with an open-mind, the film-unit recorded what they experienced on their journey in one of the world's widest and most fascinating river—the Jamuna.

 
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