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Remembering Tareque Masud: Catherine recalls her ‘Cinema Ferry-wala’ on his 62nd birthday

  • Published at 02:47 pm December 5th, 2018
Tareque Masud and Catherine Masud
Catherine Masud discussed how Tareque was highly imaginative and had the power to visualize and frame a story | Facebook

Organized jointly by the Movieyana Film Society and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Catherine talked about how she fell in love with cinema and Tareque Masud at the same time, how they wrote scripts together, how he influenced her editing and how she plans to finish their unfinished feature film “Kagojer Phul” (Paper Flowers)

American-born film-maker Catherine Masud seldom stays in Bangladesh these days. Since the untimely death of her husband, celebrated film-maker Tareque Masud in 2011, she has often shied away from public eye. This August, she came to Bangladesh to commemorate the 7th death anniversary of Tareque Masud where she attended a discussion and screening session of the late director’s films. 

Organized jointly by the Moviyana Film Society and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Catherine talked about how she fell in love with cinema and Tareque Masud at the same time, how they wrote scripts together, how he influenced her editing and how she plans to finish their unfinished feature film "Kagojer Phul” (Paper Flowers). 

She said back in 1987, she came to Bangladesh and saw the works of S M Sultan. Her background was in painting. Writer Ahmed Sofa introduced her to Tareque, who was making a film on Sultan. They had been shooting for 5 years already and were in the middle of editing at the time. 

“Obostha khubi kharap chhilo,” (Things were really bad) Catherine said in plain Bangla. “They smoked while cutting the negatives. Later it took us months to remove the ashes.”

“This is how I was introduced to cinema and Tareque,” she said.“I fell in love with both simultaneously.”

She had an interest in writing and background in visual arts and music. Cinema was the art form that combined all of her interests. Among all the roles in film-making,editing attracted her the most and she got her first taste of it in that chaotic editing panel of “Adam Surat.”

Every film was a new experience for the couple. They worked on “Muktir Gaan” in New York with “found footage” that they collected from all over the world. It was a completely different process of working. 

She discussed how Tareque was highly imaginative and had the power to visualize and frame a story. He would say that 20% is the film-maker’s work; but 80% is “Ayojon” (arrangements) -how to get the team together to execute that vision. 

“It’s like a war,” she said.“And we’re like generals commanding our troops.”

Tareque would say if he could do anything else, he would do that instead, she said. But he was made for making films, which is a very hard job. Other artists can paint or write or take a picture when they are feeling low, but film-makers can’t just go out and make a film. 

The couple had only finished the script for their next film “Kagojer Phul” when Tareque’s life was cut short in a tragic road accident. Catherine expressed her firm desire to finish the film but said she hasn’t found that work-chemistry with anyone else. 

Tareque had a concept he called “Total Film-making.” From writing the film to distribution and exhibition- the film-maker see every step of the way.That is a concept Catherine feels we need to apply in Bangladesh. 

“Our films are like our children,” she said. “We nurture them until become their own persons.”

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