Synopsis of the film
Script & Direction: Tanvir Mokammel
Camera: Anwar Hossain
Editing: Mahadeb Shi
Background Music: Syed Shabab Ali Arzoo
Voice: Chittralekha Guha
Length: 3 hour 35 minutes
In the general election of the constituent assembly of Pakistan in December 1970, Awami League, led by Bengalee leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won absolute majority. But instead of handing over power to the elected Bengalee representatives, the Pakistan army on 25th March 1971, launched a brutal military crackdown on the Bengalees code named as “Operation Searchlight”.
And since then up to the liberation of Bangladesh in December, for long nine months, the marauding Pakistan army perpetrated a genocide in East Pakistan. It is assumed that around three million people were killed, more than two hundred thousand women were raped and about ten million refugees had to flee to India. The Bengalee military and para-military personnels, the youth and the students formed Muktibahini, who resiliently fought against the Pakistan army and their Islamic collaborators. In December, a full-fledged war broke out between India and Pakistan, and Bangladesh was finally liberated on 16th December as an independent state.
Depicting the main events of the year 1971 Tanvir Mokammel has made a research-based three hour-thirty five minutes (215 minutes) long mega-documentary titled as “1971”.
For the people of Bangladesh the year 1971, for its association with the war of independence, has remained a glorious year. But at the same time, as so many carnages happened around, it was also a sad time. For the people of Bangladesh the year 1971 remains, to borrow Charles Dickens’s expression— “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times!”
For this film Tanvir Mokammel shot 250 hours of footages and interviewed 176 individuals including military commanders, freedom fighters, politicians, diplomats, raped women, refugees and survivors from the mass killings.