Jonmo Sathi: A quest for identity | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 24, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 24, 2016

Jonmo Sathi: A quest for identity

Documentary brings forth the agony of war children

The premiere of filmmaker Shabnam Ferdousi's latest documentary “Jonmo Sathi” (“Born Together”) was held at Star Cineplex in the city's Bashundhara City Shopping Complex on Tuesday evening.

A host of dignitaries including Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, noted filmmaker Nasiruddin Yousuff, and Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Haque and Tariq Ali were present at the screening ceremony. Samia Zaman, Editor and CEO of Ekattor Television hosted the programme.

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Shabnam was born in 1972 just after the independence of the country. On the day of her birth, a total of 13 children were born at the Holy Family Hospital in Dhaka, and of those 13 children five were war babies. Growing up, when Shabnam came to know about this, she became obsessed with the thoughts of these babies. In the documentary, set after 43 years of independence, Shabnam embarks on a journey to search those war babies who were born together with her.

In the end she finds two of her birth-mates. One is Monwara Clarke who came to Bangladesh from Canada in search of a birth-certificate. The other is Shudhir, who has grown up and lives in a remote corner of this country.

Shudhir, the son of a Birangana, is still carrying the stigma of being a man with no paternal identity. Shabnam managed to find a Birangana and her war baby.

The documentary brings forth the stories of these people. Why do the war babies have no state recognition? Why does society hate them? The documentary points out the failure of the state and society to recognise the contribution of thousands of mothers who gave birth to war children.   

Throughout the documentary, there is an attempt to unearth facts, stories, the role of the state and society, and the present condition of those people.

A houseful audience viewed the documentary which brought forth the agony of war children. It brought tears to the eyes of many, including the Cultural Affairs Minister who said “The film has shaken our spirit”. He talked about the contribution of women in the Liberation War, and how we had collectively failed to recognise them.

Kamrul Hasan Lenin and Sajib Uddin Rajon have done the cinematography, while Tanveer Alam Shwajib directed music for the 85-minute documentary.

“Jonmo Sathi” has been jointly produced by Liberation War Museum and Ekattor Media Ltd.

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