Salahuddin Lavlu is a renowned actor, screenwriter and director. He reflects on urban social issues in his tele-fictions. In a recent conversation with The Daily Star, Lavlu, the President of Directors' Guild Bangladesh, shared his views on the present condition of the television industry and more.
This Eid season, television channels are running repeat telecasts of shows and some previously shot tele-fictions. "I hope that the audience enjoys the repeat telecasts. At the same time, it is unfortunate that the production teams of these shows will not benefit in any way from them," says Lavlu.
Moreover, few production teams began shooting, putting their lives at risk during these critical times, despite the prohibition. "Frankly speaking, there was a lot of confusion surrounding this issue. When the government announced that they will allow a limited number of organisations to reopen after May 10, some thought that it applies for shootings. It was a misunderstanding," asserts Lavlu. "As soon as the Directors' Guild learned about it, we immediately intervened and stopped the production teams. They have apologised as well."
Majority of the critics and audiences feel that the television industry lacks creativity and innovation in storytelling these days, as writers and directors are mostly preoccupied with adaptations of foreign stories. Whereas, artistes like Lavlu are dedicated to portraying our native culture and society. "Sadly, productions these days are losing the real essence of our culture," he says. "I feel that the lack of knowledge and interest in our own culture is the reason behind the influx of foreign stories." Only a handful of projects are made on contemporary issues that represent the society of Bangladesh. Lavlu further shared that budgets for tele-fictions have decreased and at the same time, the role of the approval committee is on its way to extinction.
Most financers are selective about scripts. They tamper with the stories to make them more budget-friendly, and even make decisions about casting. "Usually the programme departments of television channels have a preview committee who curate the projects. However, they don't maintain their roles anymore," adds Lavlu.
According to him, the intervention of different agencies has disrupted the scenario, making way for a generation that is hungry for fame. He also feels that artistes have lost respect over time, as art is being used for commercial purposes only. "Once upon a time, our tele-fictions were a part of our country's traditions. Even our neighbouring countries looked up to our productions," he asserts.
Acting is the only profession for most artistes. As a result, many agree to play repetitive roles on television, often for financial purposes. "A shopkeeper chooses the products that sell the most. But shouldn't there be a difference between a shopkeeper and an artiste? An artiste should understand their responsibilities towards their craft and their society," explains Lavlu. As the President of Directors' Guild Bangladesh, Lavlu is aware of the misconducts in the world of television. The associations had planned to introduce some new policies, starting from this Eid season. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, they have put the implementation of those policies on hold. On a more optimistic note, the artiste hoped that moving forward, television channels will be more careful about the quality of the programmes they air.