I have written on many occasions about the problems associated with movie productions in our country, and about the struggle out of them. Mainstream films, as opposed to other parts of the world, do not come out in the dozens in Bangladesh – we're lucky to get 3-4 mentionable films every year. But the current trends give us hope. New faces and new talents coming up with exciting new productions give us a lot of hope. Actors of television and the theatre are showing interest towards being cast in movies, and many of them have already taken the leap to the silver screen. Most importantly, a lot of these films have also found commercial success. Models are increasingly being seen in movies too. On another new dimension, we also have complete newcomers who are beginning their careers with movies – something not common in Bangladesh. Although I might be saying this too soon, but I do feel that the stigma and certain social discomfort associated with movie actors is slowly and gradually being phased out. And this is happening on both sides, movie production values are increasing and stories are becoming somewhat more sophisticated on one hand, and the society is becoming open to accepting introduction of non-traditional elements within the formulaic stories which have always been produced as movies in Bangladesh. If the movie industry is to thrive and grow in our country, then it is the mainstream movies which must find commercial success. Everyone in the industry or those such as ourselves who are indirectly connected to it must focus on mainstream filmmaking. After all, this is where all the talent has come looking for opportunities.
This week we bring you Mahiya Mahi, the newest addition to our celluloid screens. In a very short span of time, Mahi has been catapulted to stardom, having already acted in 9 films, and with more than a dozen in the pipeline. The numbers are a testament to how fast someone in this industry can become popular. I'm sure at least some of these films will be very well received by the audience, launching Mahi to the centre of attention of the world of showbiz. Mahi's filmography is set to become really long in a short period of time, and if she keeps growing like this, it will be a mile long pretty soon. But growth has many facets. The numbers game will not keep Mahi's hype alive for many years to come. If she is to really become a versatile actor whose acting skills are coveted by the industry, then she must look for quality productions. In the next phase of her career, in the next 3-5 years, Mahi needs to associate herself with stories that will inspire awe in people, brilliant directors who will boldly attempt to break new ground with critically acclaimed productions. Mahi is young, and ambitious – she has her mind set on acting. With the right approach and planning, Mahi has the potential to become a household name in Bangladesh. But she must tread carefully. If she is to be remembered as a career actor, she needs to be remembered for fascinating films, not for the number of movies she has been cast in. With Ognee, which was released yesterday, she might have already taken a step in that direction. If Ognee, the movie, is as interestingly different as its trailer has been, then I think Mahi will definitely cause a stir in Bangladesh in 2014.