Book Review: Cinema of Bangladesh: A Brief History (2020) by Fahmidul Haq

Throughout the previous couple of years, and thru an acquaintance made attainable by Mostafa Sarwar Farooki, I had the pleasure of attending to know Professor Fahmidul Haq, talk about with him a bit about Bangladeshi cinema, and likewise function his writings in Asian Film Pulse. Thus, it was very attention-grabbing for me to learn and evaluate his first e-book in English, but additionally a problem, as it’s all the time the case while you evaluate the works of somebody . Allow us to take a more in-depth, and hopefully, goal take a look at the e-book nonetheless. 

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The “story”, after highlighting the idea of “transient” talked about within the title as a panoramic view on native cinema, begins with some basic information in regards to the present state of affairs of the business, as a lot as viewers tendencies relating to movement footage. The following chapter offers extensively with the start of Bangladeshi cinema, a subject that’s all the time scorching regardless of which nation’s motion pictures it refers to, however is much more sophisticated relating to Bangladesh, which was first part of India, then of Pakistan, earlier than it grew to become impartial. As such, Haq captures the story from the primary exhibitions of East Bengal, ultimately arriving to the title of Hiralal Sen, as he was the primary movie exhibitor, filmmaker and founding father of the primary cine-company in East Bengal, additionally commenting on why his movie just isn’t thought of the ‘first’. The story of Sen emerges as some of the attention-grabbing within the e-book, as it’s intensely sure with the start of native cinema. Haq then brings us to the Nawab Household and the formation of the Dhaka East Bengal Cinematograph Society and their first titles, of which “The Final Kiss” takes heart stage. 

The following chapter tracks the historical past of mainstream cinema with the title of “Mukh o Mukhosh” coming to the fore, with Faq dedicating a big a part of the e-book each on the movie and its director Abdul Jabbar Khan, additionally including information in regards to the historical past of Bangladesh, which, undoubtedly, had an impression on native cinema as properly. The creation of East Pakistan Movie Improvement Company (now BFDC – Bangladesh Movie Improvement Company) emerges as a relatively necessary occasion on this chapter additionally, with the remaining exploring cinema pre and put up the Liberation Conflict, primarily to at the moment. A lot of chapters emerge as relatively attention-grabbing right here. The 70s specifically supply a captivating decade relating to cinema, with Haq following Alamgir Kabir’s classification of battle, plagiarized, non-plagiarized and offbeat movies, including, nonetheless, two of his personal, costume epics and gangster-based motion motion pictures. Additionally of observe right here is the reference to Nagisha Oshima’s documentary, “Rahman: Father of Bengal”, a little or no recognized a part of the Japanese filmmaker’s oeuvre. The surge of Urdu-language motion pictures, the demise of the mainstream business and the rise of the impartial one, notably as a result of surge of B-grade ultra-violent titles that included mushy porn scenes brings us to the subsequent chapter, which offers nearly completely with indie cinema. 

Right here, the definition of impartial cinema emerges as relatively attention-grabbing, together with the Various Movie Motion and the Movie society Motion. The problems of the actual kind of cinema take heart stage additionally, with the product placement, the inexperience relating to the worldwide stage which have resulted in some exploitation of native filmmakers by worldwide distribution corporations, and the tendency for self-censorship, seem as relatively attention-grabbing right here, as a lot as pointed and real looking. Additionally of observe is the truth that Faq focuses on documentaries from the start of the e-book, giving them house in, primarily, all of his chapters, in one other wonderful side right here. 

This evaluate wouldn’t be full if I didn’t point out an important adverse side.”Cinema of Bangladesh” is the primary time Nokta, the publishing home of the title, ventures into English language publications, and it exhibits, for the reason that writing would positively profit from higher modifying. The usage of “the, “a” or nothing specifically is relatively defective, as a lot because the repetition of phrases like ‘movie”, together with another repetitions right here and there. The circulate may very well be a bit higher, however usually, this isn’t precisely an issue. Moreover, because the e-book progresses, these points grow to be much less vital (or one might say that the reader can get used to them). 

Other than this downside, nonetheless, the strategy Haq implements is superb, with the e-book flowing actually simply for essentially the most half, as the main target is on historical past, folks, and occasions that formed Bangladeshi cinema, together with the historical past of the realm, and never on evaluation of particular motion pictures, which may incessantly get tedious in different publications. The way in which the entire “narrative” unfolds, from the start of native cinema till our days can also be necessary, because it deems the e-book each historic and up to date, including to its urgency. Moreover, the definition of how the start of a rustic’s cinema is established and of the entire idea of impartial cinema add much more informative worth to the title. Lastly, and in some feedback on the modifying, the presence of tables, posters and stills of flicks works fairly properly as a aid from the textual content, whereas, at lower than 150 pages primarily (excluding the index) it’s as condensed because it may very well be in one other trait of the version. 

When it comes to context, “Cinema of Bangladesh: A Temporary Historical past” is on a really excessive degree; what the longer term works in English of each Fahmidul Haq and Nokta want, nonetheless, (that are already prepared if I’m not mistaken) is enchancment to the general modifying, that can permit the reader to benefit from the data shared right here way more simply.   

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