Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) has been celebrating National Film Day on April 3 since 2012, with elaborate programmes in the capital under an initiative of Ministry of Information.
This year, a rift seems to have developed between the government body and professionals of the film industry, who are set to carry out separate programmes to mark the day.
A group of 18 organisations of the film industry under the banner of Cholochchitro Poribar, has been co-organising the celebratory events with BFDC.
However, this year the group has stepped away from participating in the celebrations with BFDC, and will instead hold their own event.
Eminent actor Syed Hasan Imam, the chairman of this year's National Film Day celebration committee, said “When we were finalising the event details, the Cholochchitro Poribar informed me that they will not participate in the BFDC celebrations if the information minister joins the programme.
“I am a member of the Cholochchitro Poribar, and if they make a decision it applies to me as well. The Cholochchitro Poribar nominated me as the chairman of this committee, so if they withdraw from it, I am no longer the chairman.”
“Earlier, we (Cholochchitro Poribar) and BFDC together had decided that Syed Hasan Imam would chair this year's the event,” veteran actor and senior figure of the Cholochchitro Poribar, Misha Sawdagar told The Daily Star.
“We were later told by the managing director [of BFDC, Md Amir Hossain] that the minister wants him [Amir] to chair the session. When we decided that, under this circumstance, we will not join the programme and will celebrate it separately, they later agreed to have Syed Hasan Imam as chairman,” he said.
He added that there has been discontent with the information minister Hasanul Haque Inu long boiling under the surface. “What have we gotten from the minister in the last four years? We have been urging for the modernisation of cinema halls, and resumption of a talent hunt for the film industry. Film has been declared an industry, but there is no subsidy.
“Indian films are released here through various laws and agreements. This is harming our industry. We are the ones bringing sponsors for this event (National Film Day); the ministry will reap the success.”
He however hoped that this event will happen on the basis of co-operation in the coming years.
Convener of the Cholochchitro Poribar, noted actor Farooque said “We want to celebrate this day on our terms, not under any ministry.”
When asked for the reason, he said the biggest on was funds. “BFDC has allocated only Tk 50,000 for the programme. We will provide all the support, and the ministry will take the credit. That cannot happen.”
He added “Every time the National Film Day is here, at least Tk 40-50 lakh is required for programmes. They won't even give that money.”
BFDC managing director Md Amir Hossain said “This is a national-level programme. We want to do it with everyone. I don't think this is the right time to raise their complaints and demands, right before the event.”
He also said “Most state programmes are not held entirely with government's budget and for this event, we have previously taken support from other sources.”
He added that the budget is passed through the cabinet and cannot be increased at a last-minute request.
However, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu denied having any knowledge regarding this.
“We will hold the daylong programmes like we do it every year, under BFDC's supervision. All the artistes are invited. Whatever the statements of some artistes are, my office has not officially received any information on this issue. Syed Hasan Imam will chair the programme; everything has been done with their consent,” he told The Daily Star.