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Maker of Muktir Gaan

October 18, 2011

I was a college student who always remained worried about his studies, lagged behind the pace of college studies and had little spare time to spend on clubs or other activities.Yet I was a member of Notre Dame Nature Study Club, where members met once every week to talk about nature, birds, creatures (except girls!) and to eat dalpuris, not free bought with members fee. The only thing interesting about this club was its moderator mullah-looking Zoology teacher Mijanur Rahman who loved to joke on everything! He might be the first stand-up comedian I met. We had a library that I seldom visited, not for books but to have a look on the rich collection of old issues of Nat Geo’s, mostly from 20’s or 30’s !!! The library was situated on the top-floor of Herrington building, if I’m not mistaken, which also has a moderate-size auditorium at the ground floor.

One day I saw everyone was rushing towards that auditorium where a Film titled ‘Muktir Gaan’, directed by Tareque and Catherine Masud, was being screened for students. The whole auditorium was packed. I watched the whole film standing behind the last row. It was a musical docu on 1971.It was about a group of singers who traveled on a truck in camps scattered along Indo-Bangladesh border and inside the liberated zones of Bangladesh. The mind blowing songs were very energizing and inspiring. The film tells you the suffering of ordinary people, how ordinary peasants became extraordinary fighters and a struggle of existence of a nation. I never felt I was watching a movie. I felt I was traveling with Benu, Sharmin, Shahin, Biplob from paddy fields to camps, chanting in unison Hey o re heyo, Aaji Bangladesher Hridoy Hotey, Joy Bangla Bangla’r Joy, Dhano Dhanney Pushpey Bhara and hearing the grievances and sufferings of villagers and watching Major Gias briefing his fearless guerilla fighters, known as Mukti Fauj.

This film is one of the things that made me interested to know more about 1971. Tareque & Ctherine’s works will inspire millions of post-1971 Bangladeshis to whom 1971 remains a huge empty space that needs to be filled

I watched Muktir Gaan again and rediscovered that Army of Singers last week at Indira Gandhi Cultural Center where a retrospective on Tareque is being shown.

Tareque and Catherine extraordinarily narrated the ordinary life of commoner in celluloid films. He concentrated on the tiny and unseen details of a commoner’s life, often missed out by others, and brought out the beauty hidden in it, which ultimately made his films larger than life. In the end, his works were applauded by both commoners and critics. Matir Moyna, Antarjatra and Narosundar are perfect examples.

I’m not a film pundit who has the authority to make comment on his works. Rituporno Ghosh, one of my favorites and a brilliant contemporary director, once regretted why he could not make films like Matir Moyna after watching the film at a Kolkata multiplex!

In August, Tareque along with Mishuk Munier, a talented broadcast journalist and cinematographer, died in a tragic road accident on Dhaka-Aricha Highway. The more I watch Tareque’s works, the more I start to feel that Bangladesh lost its sole celluloid magician who could best project the life of ordinary Bangladeshis and showcase Bangladesh’s culture & history at world arena. If talents like Tareque and Mishuk are being murdered in road crashes, then one day there will be no one to narrate the life of commoner in celluloid!


From → My Thoughts

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