The number of women on the directing front in Bangladesh's entertainment industry has always been scarce, but television director Chayanika Chowdhury has remained staunchly active throughout her career. The director made headlines last year when she directed a record breaking 350th drama, but this achievement did nothing to slow her down. Today, she remains as ambitious as ever, and is gearing up for International Women's Day with two new hard hitting dramas.
Chayanika Chowdhury isn't afraid of telling it like it is in “Shikhar Kotha”, a single episode play that delves into the relationship between a mother and her corporate-job holding daughter. When the daughter impresses her boss at work with an innovative idea, she reveals that the concept was formulated by her mother. Upon his insistence, she introduces him to her, who is revealed to be a former sex worker. Unable to come to terms with this revelation, her boss subsequently fires her. However, Chayanika shares, it is here that the narrative lives up to its title, when the characters learn to look past the social taboos and empathise with the struggles of the marginalised. The play will air today at 8pm on Rtv, and is scripted by Iffat Arefin Mahmood Tonni. Suborna Mustafa will don the role of the mother, with Tanjin Tisha playing the daughter's character. The main cast also includes Mamunur Rashud, Jovan, Shujat Shimul and Aruna Haidar.
The second play, “Shokhi, Meghomukhi Tumi Surjomukhi Hou” offers to give viewers a glimpse into the struggles of domestic workers, who are often victims of child marriage. The play is also written by Iffat Arefin Mahmood Tonni, and includes Shahiduzzaman Selim, Bijori Barkatullah, Deepa Khandakar, and more in the main cast. The play is produced by We Can, an organisation that campaigns against domestic violence against women.
“Nari nirmata has no gender, but as women, we have a responsibility to provide a space for the voices of women everywhere. Women struggle the most in society, and they are underappreciated, unrecognised. Unfortunately many female directors do not use their role responsibility, instead looking for opportunities for their own gain. As directors, we must understand the responsibility of our gender, towards our gender,” shared Chayanika Chowdhury.
The director also noted that while women have a place in the entertainment and cultural industry, lack of social support still forces many to give up on their passions. “Two girls in my crew have had to quit; because our field demands unconventional working hours, as well as for the stigma attached to these facets. Family support is extremely important. I have been lucky to not go through such things, but many are forced to discontinue their dreams due to these limitations,” she said.