Since the mid-eighties up until 7-8 years ago -- when internet, cell phones and gaming consoles took over their worlds, teenagers of Bangladesh had all, at some point, come across Tin Goyenda -- a series of paperbacks of the adventures of three amateur teenage investigators. Written by Rakib Hasan in a similar format to Enid Blyton's Famous Five or Secret Seven series, the stories were gripping, fast-paced sleuth tales that took the readers on various adventures, sometimes within the Rocky Beach, California, USA (where the story is based) and sometimes across continents, and a few times to Bangladesh -- the home country of the leader of the trio, Kishore Pasha.
Nearly 29 years after the first issue was published, Maasranga Television has taken up the daring project of adapting a Bangladeshi version of the Tin Goyenda stories for television. After open call for applications received response in thousands, the first round of auditions began at the National Art Gallery Plaza of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy yesterday.
Director and screenwriter for the series, Abul Hossain Khokohn said “Tin Goyenda is a dream project for any director. I have made two adolescent TV series for Maasranga, and I have always enjoyed working with young ones. It's easier to mould them to bring out the performance you want.” He said about five thousand applications came in, from which they have called 500 for primary auditions, from which 50 will go to the next round. A further selection will narrow the number down to ten, from which the three characters -- Kishore, Musa Aman and Robin Milford -- will be finalised. The first story will be based on the book “Operation Cox's Bazar” -- shooting of which is expected to begin in May. He also said although the age range sought was 15-18, they have relaxed it on the basis of appearance.
As the youngsters waited anxiously outside the three audition booths, they discussed the stories and characters. Turjo, a student of the Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University has travelled all the way from his hometown of Tangail to try his luck. He is a regular in local theatre, and has won several awards. He said the prospect of being on TV was a major incentive, and to play characters he had loved reading when growing up was like a dream. Shihab, who has just appeared in the SSC exam from Ideal School, Dhaka, also said it was an exciting experience just being part of the audition.
Two members of the jury at the auditions -- Ashok Bepari and Ashraful Ashish -- said they had themselves were hooked to the series when they were young, and to find the perfect youngsters to portray those characters could prove to be quite a challenge. The current teenage demographic are greatly distracted by other entertainment media -- and reading habits among them are not the same, which is reflecting in the auditions, they said.
The popularity of Tin Goyenda transcended social class and backgrounds during its peak days throughout the nineties, and an entire generation has held these stories and characters very close to their hearts. With deterrents like adjustments in place and character back-stories to fit it for television, it remains to be seen whether the TV series gains the cult following that the books did. But the effort in itself is commendable, and will more certainly than not bring back good old memories of crime-solving by the arguably the most iconic trio of modern popular Bangla literature.