Renowned actor and director Gazi Rakayet started his career on stage, where he honed his craft as an actor. He won Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Dialogue and Best Story for his debut directorial "Mrittika Maya" (2013) and the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in the film Anil "Bagchir Ekdin" (2015). His film, "Gor" (The Grave in English), was recently released, to much acclaim. It is said to be the first English feature film released in the country. The esteemed director talks to The Daily Star about his latest project.
What made you select the script for "Gor"?
I had made a tele-fiction with the same story a while back, and since then, I had dreamt of making a feature film with it. I had wanted to highlight our country to international audiences with the film, and the script was perfect for the cause.
Why did you decide to release the film in English?
Many of our films are earning praise internationally, after they are given proper subtitles in English. I thought that a film natively in English would be easier for audiences abroad to grasp. Some may think that it was for show-off, but in reality, it was necessary – so we shot in both English and Bengali. I believe that "Gor" will be appreciated in the international arena, because of this very reason.
Where did the film's shooting take place?
The shooting took place in my home village of Shinepukur in Dohar. We cleared space in a jungle situated there, and created the set there, overlooking a char. Uttam Guha was the art director for the film, and I must say, he did a brilliant job. We shot the film in October and November.
Tell us about acting in "Gor". Why did you cast yourself in that particular role?
That role was one of the most important ones in the film, and I will admit that there were many artistes who could have played it. However, would they have given enough time to that role? Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't. A lot of homework and consideration was needed for the role, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. Now, I am glad that I could give my all to the role.
How challenging was the film to complete?
It was doubly challenging to complete, as it was shot and dubbed in both English and Bangla. Moreover, it is a government granted film, so the expectations were also very high. We rehearsed for a week before the shooting even began.
The lack of planning can be the biggest roadblock to completing any film, so I would say that all filmmakers should extensively plan their work before getting into action.