Volume 2 Issue 40 | August 30 , 2008 |


   Cover Story
   Journey through    Bangladesh
   Behind the Scene
   Guru Griho

   Star Insight     Home

From The Insight Desk

And the Winners Are…

Zahidul Naim Zakaria

The names of the winners were being written in stone, or metal, to be exact, as we approached the 22nd of August- the day we held the Awards Ceremony of The Daily Star-Standard Chartered “Celebrating Life” 2008. As we welcomed approximately 1500 guests into the Plenary Hall of BCFCC, some of us were still groggy from staying up late the night before and finishing up last minute details, sticking names of photographers to their photographs for the exhibition and constantly coordinating with the event management team. The ceremony was not a conventional one, as the programme for the day had been planned out to be a mixture of cultural shows and speeches. The cultural part of the programme was a treat for the eyes and ears, as dance choreographers and musicians used their creative talents and created completely original dance choreography and music exclusively for Celebrating Life. The Honourable Chief Adviser, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, was chief guest at the occasion.

There was palpable tension as thousands of participants waited for the announcement of the names of winners; it was a true test of their patience. After a 12-minute fusion dance sequence named “The Celebration of Nature,” our host Mr. Mahmudur Rahman requested Mahfuz Anam, Editor & Publisher of The Daily Star on stage, who delivered an inspiring speech. He said the only way to truly earn respect was to work for the respect of our country. He said that individual establishment and acknowledgement means nothing if we, together as a nation, cannot earn the same respect. Mr. Osman Morad, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, also spoke; he emphasised that the bank always tries to patronise development work. He said that the bank was very happy to be a part of Celebrating Life.

The introductory six seasons dance

Since the Chief Adviser was present at the occasion, we had to follow a number of very tight security protocols, most of which we did not know ourselves before the programme had started. For example, we did not know that one of the strict rules was that bags are not allowed inside the hall. In the midst of all the activities, such information got lost. Our ushers rushed to the counter at BCFCC and created a temporary place for bags, which created a lot of confusion. Our ushers had quite the time sorting all this out. A very special thanks goes to SSI, SSF, NSI, SB and DGFI for all their co-operation.

As the names of the winners were announced one by one by a member of the jury panel, cheers broke out in the audience. Ushers guided the winners to the winners' corner beside the stage. The audience cheered the hardest when the winner of the English Lyrics Contest got up on stage to receive his award, Tanveer Ahmed Tomal, a student of Class VIII had won this contest.

The show was a great success. In the midst of running from one side of the stage to the other to relay instructions and escorting guests to and from their seats we had somehow put this function together. The Daily Star is grateful to its media partners for the successful organising of such a big event. We are thankful to Banglar Mela for their support, and to Nasirul Haque Khokon for directing the lighting.

Celebration of Nature
Shimul Yusuf is not only an actress, but also a talented music director, as we have seen in the 12 minute musical fusion, called “Celebration of Nature”. This beautiful piece has been brought to life by Nityadhara through dance choreography. Led by Minu Haque, the work has been jointy directed by Munmum Ahmed, Kabirul Islam Ratan and Dipa Khandoker. Each of the six seasons inside the dance choreography were directed individually by the directors and by their individual troops. They beautifully blended classical and folk in style of Katthak, Monipuri, Folk, Bharat Natyam and Odyssey.

I wanted to tell a story of humanity” Shibu Kumar Shill
Shibu is a student of Institute of Fine Arts, Dhaka University. He dreams about making feature films. He is a part of Meghdol, a musical group. He is the winner of the Documentary Film Contest. All other winners have been interviewed by The Daily Star already, since Shibu was missing we are selecting him for this interview. Thanks to Culture Page of The Daily Star for such a grand coverage of Celebrating Life 2008.

“This is my first award for film making; it's greatly encouraging. Winning this award has made me very confident and I feel that I am ready to venture into more ambitious film making. I really feel that we do not have proper guidelines in the film industry, and that we do not have any awards or recognition for potential film makers. I feel that The Daily Star-Standard Chartered “Celebrating Life” Contest can fill that void.”

“Akhtaruzzaman Illias is one of my favourite writers. Khoari is one of my favourite books. When I found out that the book was based on a certain house, I went to visit it. As I entered it, I felt as if the house was really still stuck in the year 1975. I was inspired to capture that feeling on camera. Minorities have suffered all over the world, and there have been many writers, poets and intellectuals who have talked about and supported such minorities. But unfortunately, such support is not there in our country. There is hardly anyone to raise the issues of the minority groups in our country. Akhtaruzzaman Illias was one of those few writers who had clearly brought to light many issues suffered by the minorities.”

“My documentary, Illiaser Khoari, is not entirely about minority problems, I wanted to tell a story of humanity.”

Naquib Khan's heart winning tune
Subir Nandi and Mosiur Rahman Rinku presented the winning Bangla song to the audience, who immediately started humming to the tune. It was an instant hit! In our haste, we had forgotten to mention the name of the music director of the winning Bangla song- Naquib Khan.

Samina Chowdhury and Fahmida Nabi performed together on stage after quite some time. They performed the winning English song, the music of which was directed by Foad Nasser Babu. The highlight amongst the songs was the chorus performance by Samina Chowdhury, Fahmida Nabi, Syed Hasan Tipu and Shafin Ahmed. The music of the last song was directed by Syed Hasan Tipu. The chorus performance was another big hit. Our guests were seen walking out of the ceremony humming, “O my, O my Bangladesh, you are the best.”

It is regrettable that in the middle of all this, we had forgotten to mention names the music directors of these awesome tunes. Creating such beautiful tunes is no easy task! It takes tremendous time and effort, not to mention the talent and passion to pull this off.

The Winners

M. Yousuf Tushar- Honourable Mention
Md. Fakrul Islam- Honourable Mention
Faiz M Taimur-Honourable Mention
Shoeb Faruquee-10th
Aftab Tuhin- 9th
Pranabesh Das- 8th
Zeba Islam- 7th
Aftab Tuhin- 6th
Kazi Nadira Helen- 5th
Mohammad Moniruzzaman- 4th
Monirul Alam- 3rd
Masud Rana- 2nd
Selim Newaj Bhuiyan-1st

Bangla Lyrics:
Khalid Mahmud Shahin- 5th
Kazi Afzal Hossain- 4th
M. Mohan Sinha- 3rd
Gazi Shahidul Haque- 2nd
Chandra Chowdhury- 1st

English Lyrics:
A.K.B. Rahman-5th
Mohammad Mizanur Rahman-4th
K.H. Asef Safa Kabir-3rd
Rumana Afroze Shila-2nd
Tanveer Ahmed Tomal-1st

- Adnan M.S. Fakir (Finding Bangladesh)

BEST DEBUT FICTION - Abdullah Mohammad Saad (Bicycle Shohor)

The jury board decided that the submissions this year were not up to the mark in terms of fiction films and therefore no “Best Fiction” was awarded this year. The Best Documentary Category was a tie:

Luthfun Nahar Mousumi
(Urai Moner Ghuri)

Shibu Kumar Shill (Illiaser Khoari)

Banglar Mela Costumes
Banglar Mela had designed costumes for all the ushers and performers including a few core members of the event. People really loved the costumes, especially the lime shirts and green sarees for the ushers. The organisers were faced with questions like, “Where did you get this shirt from?” We thank Banglar Mela for their support and will work together in days to come.


Winning, Losing, and Trash Talk

Abak Hussain

The gala event for “Celebrating Life” just finished the other day, and I decided would write something about the spirit of the competition and the spirit of competition in general. Then I realised that probably my comments would be redundant. Talk of winning is everywhere. I write at a time when the Beijing Olympics are coming to a close. The Olympics have been a symbol of healthy competition, but at the same time, dirty aspects of it inevitably spill out. The host country is leading in the gold medal tally, outdoing the usual leaders- the United States. At the same time a lot of folks are trying to steal some of their thunder. Talk about athletes not being the right age, talk about how they treat the coaches and athletes Don Corleone-style, talk about kids being trained too hard and their lost childhoods, talk about the problematic human rights record.

This is a time when Usain Bolt established himself as the fastest man in the world, breaking world records in both the 100 metres and 200 metres, but his cocky antics have been criticised. Some at the IOC have commented that he should show more respect to his defeated rivals. He had a “catch-me-if-you-can” attitude- which is against the “Olympic spirit”. Never mind that he has achieved the astounding feat of finishing 100 metres in 9.69 seconds. Never mind that he embodies what the games are all about- taking human athleticism to its highest level. Never mind that he is an inspiration to millions, particularly Jamaicans who know that their very small country with their low national income is capable of this prodigious production of the world's fastest people. An issue is made out of nothing. Why? Just to get a champion down.

This is also a time when Bangladeshis anticipate their next election, the world follows the American presidential race as Barack Obama introduces his VP running mate and the widower of Benazir Bhutto announces that he wants to be president. Try commenting on competition after all that. Bhutto's desire for power had killed off her powers of judgment necessary to sense impending death. This sort of thing will keep happening to victory-seekers for centuries to come, no doubt. Obama's VP-pick, Joe Biden, talked a lot of trash about Obama back in the day. Now McCain is talking trash by pointing out the trash Biden had once talked, in a “he doesn't even like you!” kind of way. Politicians can be such babies. As for the situation here at home, well I won't go there.

“Celebrating Life” just ended, which was quite a large project we pulled off here at The Daily Star. The amount of entries that flooded our office was staggering. Three separate jury boards had a tough time picking winners but finally they did. Many, many, many more participants deserve credit and recognition for their talent and their efforts- but there can only be so many winners. A competition by its very nature picks out winners. Some people have to lose. Some are bound to talk trash about the selections. But ultimately, what brought out the best work was not simply an effort to do well, but a burning to desire to beat everyone else.


Handing Over the Award


Speakers, Judges, Performers

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2008