Looking back at “Mukh O Mukhosh”, our first ever feature film
The first Bangla feature film made in erstwhile East Pakistan was "Mukh O Mukhosh", under the banner of Iqbal Films. The production, directed by Abdul Jabbar Khan, was released on this day in 1956. Thus, this is one of the most special days in the history of Bangladeshi cinema.
The premiere show of "Mukh O Mukhosh", featuring Aminul Haque, Inam Ahmed, Ali Mansoor, Zahrat Ara, Abdul Jabbar Khan, Kazi Khaliq, Purnima Sengupta, Piyari Begum, Saifuddin Ahmed, Golam Mostafa, Abul Khair, and Sona Mia, has held at Rupmahal Cinema Hall in Dhaka. The film slowly made its way to other theatres in Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna, and Narayanganj after its release.
The shooting for this film began in December 1953 in Kaliganj. The mahurat of the production was held in Hotel Shahbaag, which was inaugurated by the then governor of Pakistan, Iskander Mirza. All of the actors had voluntarily worked for this production.
The film has been taken to Lahore for development as there were no film studios in East Pakistan during that time.
Based on Abdul Jabbar Khan's play "Dakaat", the screenplay of this film is written by Kolkata's Bikrodas Thakur. Samar Das was the music director of the film while Bhir Ali was the assistant music director. Abdul Alim and Mahbuba Rahman were the playback singers while Subhash Dutta designed the film's poster.
It took over two years for Abdul Jabbar Khan to finish this production. Noted actor Alamgir's father, Kalim Uddin Dudu Miah was the producer of this venture.
Piyari Begum has just started her intermediate first year at Eden College when she was offered a role in the film. "I was a film bug and upon coming across the news of 'Mukh O Mukhosh', I could not hold back, "she says. "My friend Zahrat Ara also joined me during the auditions and we both managed to bag a role to our names."
The actor has kept her association with the film a secret from her family. "My family came to know about it after the posters came out and they asked me to withdraw from this part as it was beyond imagination for my parents to have their daughter become an actor," she adds. "Abdul Jabbar Khan came to meet my father and convinced him to allow me to act in this film. I still remember that moment when my father finally said 'yes!'."
The shooting experience has been one of the most memorable ones for Piyari Begum. "I was very anxious on the first day. However, our director has taken it all away with his kind and supportive gesture," she mentions. "I still remember this day from 65 years ago when Sher-e-Bangla A K Fazlul Huq has inaugurated the premiere show and we all watched it together. I am living the last chapter of my life. Being a part of this historic production has been one of my greatest achievements in life."