One of the leading film stars of the country, Ilias Kanchan has been involved with the industry for years. The National Film Award winner played multiple roles like action, romantic and many more in his long career span. In a recent conversation with The Daily Star, he talked about this year's National Film Day. Excerpts:
What's your view on the National Film Day?
Ilias Kanchan: There is still doubt that the film day can at all play any role for the industry where our existing films are in a vulnerable condition and the number of cinema halls is decreasing alarmingly across the country. Amid this situation, the National Film Day will be celebrated, and at the same time, film has been announced as an 'industry', which is really a good sign for us at least. We are the part of the industry and recognition of cinema as an industry was our longstanding demand. We will have to make more films and it should be our main focus on the day.
What do you think is the current condition of the film industry?
Ilias Kanchan: It is surviving amid great struggle, and organisations like Impress Telefilms and others are giving their best efforts to make some good films. It should not be sustained this way. The industry deserves to flourish.
What do you feel about the opinion that Bangladesh's film has left behind its golden days?
Ilias Kanchan: I have a sense of remorse about this. What I am today is because of the industry. Today when I see the number of films and cinema halls decreasing, it really hurts me. Once our cinema grabbed people's attention, but now its quality is falling drastically.
What does cinema mean to you?
Ilias Kanchan: It really matters a lot for me. Cinema is a big medium of any country. A good film can have an immense impact on a person, like “Jibon Theke Neya” inspired patriotic beliefs during our Liberation War.
Do you get the time to watch your own films?
Ilias Kanchan: Sometimes. I watch when films are aired on TV. When I watch the films, I feel bad, thinking about the days we passed as a film star then.
What should be done to overcome the struggling state of Bangladeshi cinema?
Ilias Kanchan: We can do many things. One or two multiplex halls cannot do much alone. There needs to be a policy to improve the current state of films, like increasing the number of good quality cinema theatres. Also, filmmaking grants should go to deserving filmmakers so good films can come out more often.
Your memories of the first visit to BFDC?
Ilias Kanchan: When I was a fifth grader, I and some friends went there. We avoided the main gate of BFDC and used its other entrance to visit there. Afterwards, we watched shooting for a film. At that time, I could not even dream of becoming a film star.