Young filmmaker Zahid Gogon has a number of accolades to his credit, including the Tareque Masud Young Film Maker Award (2014). Through his remarkable talent, he has been steadily making his mark in the industry. Although his previous films A Book Behind the Shoes and Ekti Mrityu = Tin Bigha Jami (One Death = Three Bighas of Land) appeals to political ideas directly, his latest film, Prem Puran(Myth of Love),takes a different route.With the Honorable Jury Mention - Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2020 among twelve more international honours, the trailer of the film has attracted a large audience. In a conversation with The Daily Star, Zahid Gogon discusses his aspirations.
"I worked with the script of Prem Puran for one year. In 2016, I nearly completed half of the film. Sadly, the producers refused to make further investments, and the entire project was scraped off," recalls Zahid.
The story, however, was close to his heart. As a result, Zahid, along with his team, opted for crowd funding for the film."You have to prove your worth before you step into a field. I tried to follow every aspect of filmmaking grammar with Prem Puran," asserts the director.
The film is inspired by The Gift of The Magi by O' Henry, Rain coat by Rituparno Ghosh, Bhanga chora by Zahir Raihan and some true stories of jute mill worker leader Shahid Tajul Islam, who demanded justice for workers inour country. For someone who has been politically driven from a young age, taking on the romance genre seems rather odd. "I get that a lot, especially from those who know me closely," smiles Zahid. "However, the name is a signifier – Puran – as we know, connects to myths and mythology. The story is romantic, but it alsocarries the essence of my beliefs."
Be it regular rehearsals, script readings, blockings or characterisations—Zahid was involved with every aspect of the filmmaking process throughout Prem Puran. "I was the only one who knew the story and the characters precisely. "It was important for everyone in the team to be on the same page. I am grateful to the cast and crew for putting up with my demands," laughs Zahid. Manoj Kumar Pramanik, SamiaOthoi, Arman Parvez Murad, Ashok Bepari and Pankaj Majumder play leading roles in the film, which was shot in Pabna and Dhaka.
Dhaka theke ashchen? Okhankar khobor ki ajkal? Manush bhalobashte shikheche?–these lines from the film have won hearts. "Dialogues are crucial. I did numerous drafts until I got everything right," says Zahid. "I am grateful to Zahidur Rahim Anjan for his guidance and supervision."
Zahid also had plans to enter the festival circuit. "Our advisor Mohammad Shazzad Hossain watched the first show and immediately announced some funds, with which we applied to some festivals. I cannot express my gratitude to him words," he says. The film will be available on OTT platforms soon.
Prem Puran won the Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival 2019 and Chittagong Short Film Festival 2020 for best actress for Samia Othoi, Finalist in International Moving Film Festival 2019, Semifinalist in Jaipur Film World 2020 and Official Selection from Goa Short Film Festival-19, Lift-Off Global Networks - 19, Kaaryat International Film Festival of India 2019, Chittagong Short Film Festival 2020 and Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival 2020.