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BFI London Film Festival selects Sumit's Nonajoler Kabbo

  • Published at 09:03 pm September 8th, 2020
Nonajoler Kabbo
Actor Fazlur Rahman Babu in Nonajoler Kabbo Courtesy

Prominent musician Shayan Chowdhury Arnob has composed the score for Nonajoler Kabbo

In a virtual press conference held on Tuesday, September 8, young Bangladeshi director Rezwan Shahriar Sumit announced that his first feature film Nonajoler Kabbo would premiere at the 64th BFI London Film Festival.

BFI London is one of the world’s leading film festivals and a vibrant multicultural hub to celebrate diverse global cinema. Sumit’s film is one of the 50 films officially selected for this year’s highly competitive slate.

A Bangladesh-France coproduction, supported by acclaimed director Spike Lee, Nonajoler Kabbo stars veteran actor Fazlur Rahman Babu, Tasnova Tamanna (Live From Dhaka), Titas Zia (Mrittika Maya) among others.

A clash-of-cultures tale set in a remote coastal village of Bangladesh, the National grant winning film shines a unique light on love and resilience. 

When a city-raised sculptor visits a remote fishing village on the Bangladeshi Delta, he finds himself embroiled in a primal, elemental conflict between land and sea, man and nature, past and future.

Regarding the plot, director Sumit said at the conference: “I went to Kuakata with some friends in the summer of 2007. I had a DSLR, and was very keen on documenting my experiences. I saw fishermen in their dinghies, making their way to the heart of the ocean, not fearing bad weather or the frighteningly big waves. That image of men caught in a storm, unfazed by its intensity, stayed with me, and served as the inspiration for Nonajoler Kabbo’s script.”

“I was very fortunate to get seasoned actors like Fazlur Rahman Babu, Titas Zia and others to work with me. Their talent made it easier for me to do my job as a new director. I felt protected.”

Actors Titas Zia (Mrittika Maya) and Tasnova Tamanna (Live From Dhaka) in Nonajoler Kabbo| Courtesy

At the press-meet, Fazlur Rahman Babu said: “I have a long history of working in film, TV and theatre with directors of all ages. So when I met Sumit, I wanted to figure him out, to see if he was really sincere and committed to his craft. Today here I am, and I can attest to the fact that he is indeed a very talented director.”

Babu, who is set to play one of the leading roles in Shyam Bengal’s upcoming Sheikh Mujib biopic titled Bangabandhu, added: “These days, it seems like everyone is walking around with a placard over their head that says Bangladeshi cinema is on the verge of destruction. Well, I beg to differ. I think, one chapter for our industry has ended, another would begin. And directors like Sumit would usher in this age.”

Prominent musician Shayan Chowdhury Arnob met director Sumit five years ago. They swapped ideas over coffee at Gloria Jean’s. Arnob later went on to direct music for Sumit’s debut film Nonajoler Kabbo.

The musician said: “I was very impressed with the script and found it extremely well-paced. Many directors have a tough time explaining their ideas to the composer. In this case, I was fortunate because Nonajoler Kabbo was a visual treat for me which made my job effortless. The landscape was a perfect fit for the kind of music I had in mind.”

This year’s BFI will open with the European Premiere of 12 Years a Slave, director Steve McQueen’s powerful and timely Mangrove and will close with the UK Premiere of Francis Lee’s sublime second feature Ammonite starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.