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Remembering Tareque Masud: Memories of tears and laughter

  • Published at 05:18 pm August 12th, 2018
Filmmaker Shameem Akhtar in a scene from ‘She’
Filmmaker Shameem Akhtar in a scene from ‘She’

In that grim reality of the late 70s, the only activity possible was cultural, contrived or camouflaged. The youth coalesced for change. And that is when I met Tareque Masud

Everything was going wrong with Bangladesh.

Military rule thought to be over for good with the surrender of the Pakistan Army in December, had returned. Censorship, strict rules, curfews had resumed.

In that grim reality of the late 70s, the only activity possible was cultural, contrived or camouflaged. The youth coalesced for change. And that is when I met Tareque Masud.

We started rehearsing for a farce to be staged in the remote village of Bangladesh. That was the beginning of a strong bonding and camaraderie. Tareque was a voracious reader and a resilient film activist. Every book, poem, film would end up with either a warm consensual handshake or a prolonged debate. Our bohemian ways matched as did the iconoclasm.

All that finally resulted in the making of our first short fiction “The Conversation” or “She,” my debut film and his work of fiction. Though co-directed, it had been possible because of Tareque's unflinching effort to complete it. If I am to name anyone for the threshold I stand on today, it would be his. He was my harshest critic and my consistent supporter.

Friendship is all about sharing your tears and laughter. We have shared our dreams and concern for the films of Bangladesh, including the distribution system or censorship that posed a threat to creative art. Every script was shared thoroughly. Our expectation was sky high for “Paper Flower,” the prequel we had planned to make. But that didn't come through after he passed away. It is easy to share a laughter, but harder to share tears and sorrow.


The writer is a veteran filmmaker

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