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The great Dhaliwood failure

  • Published at 10:37 am October 6th, 2017
  • Last updated at 05:36 pm October 6th, 2017
The great Dhaliwood failure

We’ve just come to know that Dhaliwood stars along with other like-minded and related people have launched a new film forum named “Cholochitro Forum.” They say they want to improve the quality of Bangla movies.

Bangla movies, as the analysts as well as audience say, haven’t been making expected progress in the past several years. And, therefore, a need for a new forum was necessary, and they have successfully launched it.

Anyone who takes an interest and initiative is surely welcome to put in their own contribution in order to make Bangla films more watchable and feasible for business. However, over the past 20 years or so, the quality of Bangla motion pictures has been plummeting like nobody’s business.

Almost all cinema halls across the country have closed down, piracy has become a big issue, CD and DVDs have destroyed the cinema distribution system -- there are many other issues that have affected our cinema industry extremely negatively.

Waiting on the films to change

Time to time, one or two film-makers take some initiative to bring back the lost audience who have shied away from our tinsel town products. They, the directors and producers who try, are a rare species in our filmdom.

Others keep on munching on talks about the old glory of Bangla cinema and, at the same time, continue to create as many associations as they can launch in the name of improving the quality of our cinemas.

There was a time when foreign actors came to work in Dhaliwood. Now our actors are leaving for foreign directors and producers. What has gone wrong?

However, nothing happened; at least not in the last two decades.

Yes, we do have a great history of movie-making. Almost everything about the industry was perfect at that time. After that, apart from making any progress, the involved personnel have made it worse.

The first thing that pops up in my mind is that there has been a scarcity of good stories impacting the industry. In the name of reaching the target group, our film-makers have resorted to low quality scripts that have absolutely no literary value.

Now, you might ask: “What literary value? This is the entertainment industry, man; we don’t deal with literature. Our audience isn’t cut out for literary values on the screen!”

Now, that would be a gross mistake. We should never underestimate the level of maturity of the movie-watchers. Look at the Tollywood stories in West Bengal. The sheer titles of the movies would compel you to watch them.

If you analyse their content, they are full of stories that relate to human lives, talk about people’s inner most thoughts. There has been a resurgence in the Kolkata-based filmdom and that happened for the better.

Do you think their middle-class audiences are all that different from ours? Not really.

It was the movie-makers who imbued the audience with the stories having high literary value. And the audience has received them.

We don’t have to go that far; just look at what our own Humayun Ahmed created. Had the audience rejected his movies? No. We loved his movies.

He knew how to tell stories to a story-starved lot. He never underestimated the intellectual level of the Bangladeshi audience.

What has gone wrong?

Look at our great Shakib Khan acting in both Kolkata and Dhaka movies. His acting in Dhakaiya movies is quite different from how he acts in Kolkata films. He is strong and confident in a West Bengal movie, whereas he is presented like a clown in a Bangladeshi one. So, what’s the trick?

There was a time when foreign actors came to work in Dhaliwood. Now our actors are leaving for foreign directors and producers. What has gone wrong? What has eaten up our industry?

Isn’t it the directors who have been failing in our tinsel town? Isn’t it our producers who have been failing to invest in better stories? I think it’s all about understanding the art, and reaching the minds of the audience.

Many would claim that the government hasn’t been patronising this industry. The statement is partially true. Our government has been investing in movies for decades now.

It has been supporting many film-makers in financing as well as censoring the movies. However, it has never directly contributed in turning movies into a tool of communication for building the nation.

There are many examples across the world in which the state has been directly patronising the movie industry for various purposes.

The film industry has been used in many countries to raise a sense of patriotism, as an agent of change in society. Just look at the US, UK, Iran, India, and also Pakistan.

We in Bangladesh haven’t seen anything like that. We expect our government would think about it.

As far as our actors, directors, producers, screenplay writers, and others, the time has come to re-think our strategies for improving the quality of cinemas. Our age-old theory of creating associations is not at all helping.

Let us start afresh or leave, for the new generation to come forward.

Ekram Kabir is fiction writer and a columnist.

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