Filmmaker Tokon Thaakoor, who was arrested on Sunday in a case filed by Ministry of Information over misappropriating government funds, was granted bail yesterday by a Dhaka court.
Thaakoor was taken to Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Abu Sufian's court yesterday morning, where he received bail after lawyers of the state and his side presented their arguments.
The case, filed in 2016, accuses Thakoor of misappropriating money from the national film grant-awarded film "Kaata", which he is directing.
Although Thakoor allegedly took out Tk 13 lakh out of the allotted Tk 35 lakh, he did not work on the film.
The arrest warrant was made on October 3, and Thaakoor was arrested from his residence at the capital's Katabon at 8:30pm.
In a previous interview with The Daily Star, Thaakoor had said that even though he had finished shooting -- costs for other technical processes, such as background score and publication, were a concern. "The government grant simply did not provide enough to complete the film."
Many in the film industry have speculated possible reasons behind the incident. "It was heard that Thaakoor had spent around Tk 16 lakh just to get the shooting done," said director and producer Josim Ahmed in an article published in The Daily Star yesterday.
"He also lacked previous experience in this genre. That might explain why it took him almost seven years to finish shooting, as he was often seen fighting financial inadequacy," he said.
Since 1976, the government has been funding several films each year. However, from 1997-98 and 1999-2000, the government postponed the grants. From 2008-2018, a staggering 22 full-length films were funded, but are yet to be released. From 2007-2015, 41 films received grants, among which only 15 were released.
"The government funds come from the people's pockets, and so directors should at least finish production of these films," shares noted filmmaker Nasiruddin Yousuff Bachchu. The director expressed concern over how many directors fail to finish production, while many fail to even start production.
"Previously, the given amount was not enough for films, but at present, I believe with the increased amount, it is more than enough to finish a film production," expresses Bachchu. "It is a disgrace to arrest a director on such claims, as these issues could have been solved in another manner. Arresting a director will not solve this problem."
Actor-director Animesh Aich, who plays a role in "Kaata", feels that the funds should have been better managed. "Directors should allot their production budget in accordance with the received funds to avoid such problems in the future," he says.
Even though Thaakoor was granted bail, a much deeper problem lies in many filmmakers' management of government film grants over the years.