By Sahana Ghosh
Kolkata, Nov 2 (IANS) Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostafa Sarwar Farooki, who plans to make a film on the Rohingya persecution in Myanmar, says India should stand by his country, as also the embattled community, amid the ongoing crisis.
Farooki, whose latest film “Doob: No Bed Of Roses”, an Indo-Bangla joint venture, is set to embark on his next venture, the “Identity” trilogy, with the last film dealing about the Rohingyas’ persecution in Myanmar, he revealed.
Farooki, a leading name in Bangladesh’s alternative cinema circuit, is one of the pioneers in introducing realism in the country’s cinema.
Plunging into a discussion on the issue at a time when the influx of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar continues despite the two countries signing an agreement to stop the exodus, Farooki opined it’s a “dangerous world” that has been created.
“During this time, India should really stand beside Rohingyas and Bangladesh. India has a legacy of democracy and secular politics. As a democracy it should stand by the Rohingyas and it should stand by Bangladesh because India counts Bangladesh as its friend,” Farooki told IANS in an interview here.
“In the last 10 years, Bangladesh has proved we did everything we could to ensure India’s safety regarding extremism and everything. Bangladesh now deserves some love from India,” he noted with optimism, literally doffing his cap, (Farooki’s signature look), as a toast to the friendly relations between the neighbours.
In its latest report, the UN Inter-Sector Coordination Group said that around 605,000 Rohingyas had arrived in Bangladesh since August 25, when the Myanmar Army launched a crackdown in Rakhine state.
Farooki said the situation brings out the ongoing crisis of human identity: How a community or an individual’s identity is linked to one’s perception these days.
“We are creating a dangerous world. It is so medieval. I don’t know if the medieval age was so bad. You are hating a population because of who they are and not because of what they do.”
The front-runner of an avant-garde filmmakers’ movement called “Chabial” (The Film Hawkers) in Bangladesh, Farooki said he is working on “Saturday Afternoon”, the first film of the triology.
This would be succeeded by “No Land’s Man” which has got grants from India’s Film Bazaar and the Asia Pacific Screen Academy-Motion Picture Association Film Fund.
“And the third one will be on Rohingya persecution in Myanmar. We will shoot in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. I want to show the human conditions. We need not take sides. The film will not take sides. The audiences can come to their own conclusions.”
“Earlier, we used to love or hate a person because of what he or she did or does. But now it’s who you are. That’s a strange world we are actually in,” he remarked in response to a query on the context of the trilogy.
Acclaimed for films like “Television” (that closed the Busan festival and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Asia Pacific Screen Awards and was Bangladesh’s submission to 86th Academy Award foreign language category) and “Ant Story”, Farooki’s “Doob” has already bagged an independent jury award at the 39th Moscow International Film Festival.
Addressing middle class angst, guilt, urban youth romance and redemption, his oeuvre is an exploration of complex cultural issues as well.
Having served as jury member on various international film festivals, Farooki feels South Asian films are on the right path.
“In the last five to seven years, we have been walking in the right direction. South Asian movies have got an identity because of Satyajit Ray. He put us on the map. After that there was a huge slump. Indian cinema is really growing in the last seven to ten years. A new wave is coming. You can see some independent filmmakers in Mumbai (Marathi, Hindi) and in Malayalam. Bangladesh is trying to catch up and Sri Lanka and Nepal too are trying to catch up. It will take some time but we are coming up,” Farooki signed off.
(Sahana Ghosh can be contacted at [email protected])
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