A brief history of Bangladesh through her eyes -- ‘Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale’ moves Kolkata audience

Photo Courtesy: UNB

As the dawn broke on August 15, 1975, her phone rang ominously when she and her sister were at the home of a diplomat in Belgium, oceans away from her homeland.

It foreshadowed the ordeals about to dawn on her life as her father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was killed in a military coup in Bangladesh.

Her host in Belgium took no time to change his mind, refusing even to offer his car to drop her off to the airport.

Her life story, the turns and twists from that year onward -- spanning over four decades -- came alive through the documentary "Hasina: A Daughter's Tale".

As it was rescreened at Nandan-I during the inauguration of the Third Bangladesh Film Festival in Kolkata on Friday, some viewers could not hold back tears since they could relate to her story and also the land she belongs to, with which they share cultural and linguistic commonalities.

This film festival was part of an array of programmes that the country's Information Ministry and the deputy high commission in Kolkata are hosting in the city to commemorate the birth anniversary of Bangladesh's Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the 50th year of Bangladesh's independence.

Though the docudrama continued to impress the global audience, it touched the viewers of Kolkata more since part of Sheikh Hasina's life was spent in India and that was well portrayed in the film.

Besides, its background score was composed and the theme song was sung by Debojyoti Mishra, an Indian music composer.

West Bengal minister Bratya Basu and Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla were present at the inauguration of the film festival.

The film -- directed by Piplu Khan and produced by the Centre for Research and Information and Applebox Films -- on Hasina has won international acclaim because it reflected the untold stories of her life as the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

In an attempt to get a peek into her life, the camera followed her inside her kitchen and library.

Thirty-two Bangladeshi films would be screened at the festival. On account of popular demand, the film on Hasina would be screened again at Nandan-II on Sunday evening, said the organisers.

It took around five years to make the one-hour-ten-minute film, which captures through Hasina's eyes the heyday of freedom struggle in Bangladesh, the capturing of her father by the Pakistani forces, and finally, the assassination of Bangabandhu and his entire family. Several commentators have called the film, narrated in her voice, a brief history of Bangladesh as Bangabandhu is at the centre.

"Bangabandhu is an asset of both the Bengals on two sides of the border as well as that of the world... People involved in the world of art and culture on two sides of the border should come forward and collaborate in making films on Bangabandhu and the Liberation War and that would be a befitting tribute to this great man," said Bratya Basu, science, technology, and biotechnology minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet.   

Reached out for comments about the film's international tour, its director Piplu Khan said, "People had earlier thought that it would be a typical narrative on the prime minister. But, it is less-explored aspects of her life that intrigued them. They were asking how we made this, why my first moviemaking venture chose this topic."

The movie, produced by Radwan Mujib Siddiq and Nasrul Hamid of Center for Research and Information (CRI), offered the first-person narrative of Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana on how the world seemed upside down when they heard the news of the assassination of their father and the entire family, how they struggled to get back to the very country liberated by their father, and how Sheikh Hasina reclaimed her space and became the prime minister.


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