• Sunday, March 01, 2015


Reviving the Bangladeshi film industry

Rafi Hossain

Release of mainstream movies all over the world is linked to major festivals, such as Eid in Bangladesh and other Muslim countries and Christmas in the West. Ananta Jalil, a.k.a 'the Bangla Bond', is following suit and releasing his films every year on Eid. In 2014, six movies were released around Eid, three of these were successful, Most Welcome 2, Hero and Honeymoon. And by far the most successful of these has been Most Welcome 2. Ananta has invested a lot of money in his films, and he has gone beyond the threshold of what is considered commercially viable. Because he invested too much money into making his films bigger and better, in previous years, even his hit films did not actually make a lot of money. And despite not being able to make profits in the first few films, Ananta never gave up. He kept investing and kept improving his films, adding better effects and action sequences which have drawn the audience to his films. Over time, his films have really changed how we think of Bangla cinema, and by bringing the mainstream audience throughout the country back to cinema halls, he has really proven that sticking to one's gun can make a difference. Over time, his big budget films have not only broken even, but now they are turning big profits, with Most Welcome 2 being the most commercially successful film ever made by Ananta Jalil, and probably by any Bangladeshi film maker as well. We cannot confirm because official statistics don't exist, and film industry numbers in Bangladesh are private numbers. AJ came from a business background - he is firstly a successful businessman. Maybe that is why he had the courage and the risk-assuming nature that was required to establish himself as a movie making brand in Bangladesh. Another person who doesn't have the business foresight to see into the future the way Jalil did may have backed down after not being able to turn the first one or two films into profitable ventures. Another filmmaker might not have had the patience, or the capital to do this. The fact that people from all classes and works of life, including the most highly regarded people in our society (read about the Finance Minister's comments on Most Welcome 2 on page 9) is a remarkable achievement. Ananta is an icon now; there is no doubt about it. What is his secret? How has he turned the mindset of people of Bangladesh about film entertainment? Most of the people that have been watching Ananta's films in cinemas have not visited cinema halls in the last decade or more before his films were released? How did he accomplish such an impossible feat? Whatever it is, there is no doubt that Ananta Jalil has figured out how to capture the hearts of the Bangladeshi audience. And he is becoming more and more successful every year. The industry in general is not doing well. Even a few years ago, there were not many new stars coming up. The same mundane formulaic stories had taken over the industry. A major breakthrough was required. Someone needed to break the norm and bring a fresh outlook to films that presented a better quality of action, stunts and effects that would make the film stand out from the rest. And that is exactly what Ananta Jalil did, and hopefully what other will also learn to do. Jalil not only changed the game, he did so repeatedly, over years, and he did not give up in the face of difficulty. He persevered until he could make the impossible happen! Maybe that's what truly makes him a superstar of Bangladeshi cinema – his ability to DREAM BIG!


Published: 12:00 am Saturday, August 16, 2014

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