A sneak peek into Chorki’s ‘Unoloukik’
A Film Noir and Film Syndicate production, the cast of "Unoloukik" includes Asaduzzaman Noor, Chanchal Chowdhury, Nusrat Imrose Tisha, Gazi Rakayet, Intekhab Dinar, Iresh Zaker, Rafiath Rashid Mithila, Mostafa Monwar, Shohel Mondol, Farhana Hamid, Sahana Rahman Sumi and Naziba Basher, among others.
Talking about genre, director Robiul Alam Robi believes it is too early for original OTT content to implement an adequate process of categorisation. "Our OTT content still needs time to gain clarity like literary works or films. 'Unoloukik' is an experimental work. It could be seen as an anthology, but my intention was to create films that elevate the basic concept," he said. It is likely for a director like him, who is a scholar from Jadavpur University in Film Studies, to get his definitions right. "Each of the stories present time and space paradoxes and questions pertaining to existence. The stories might feel poignant and gritty. Some may even find them weird," he said.
"These stories are not from a parallel universe. Rather, I intended to present probable permutations and combinations of reality. There are historical testaments, psychological bewilderments, and an overall curious expedition of what might have been real if only a combination was altered," added writer Barman.
Neamoth Ullah Masum, Syed Ahmed Shawki, and Naseef Amin are on the writing team, along with Barman and Robi. Saleh Sobhan Auneem is the producer, editor, and parallel visualiser of the series. The entire team unanimously credited him for the fineness of the project. "Auneem is a proper film buff who has stupendous knowledge of visual language. My perception of the series could only be realised by him," said Robi. Five cinematographers worked on "Unoloukik", which is a rare feat. "Cinematographers Kamrul Hasan Khosru, Tanveer Ahmed Shovon, Sumon Sarker, Ishtiaque Hossain, and Barkat Hossain Polash added to the variation of narratives. I wanted to explore their different interpretations, and give them the creative freedom," added Robi.
Syed Ahmed Shawki, one of the creators of the stellar web series "Taqdeer", is the production designer of "Unoloukik". His job involved a close collaboration with the art director, along with the costume, lighting, and cinematography crew members to create visual concepts for each episode. Interestingly, he began his career as an art director in 2009, before writing or directing. "Auneem and Robi bhai were well-versed about the creative parts. This project allowed me to go back to my roots. We also had Naeemah Zaman, a brilliant young art director, in the team. The five stories intentionally have five distinct looks. The challenge was to create looks that served each story individually," Shawki shared.
We chatted more elaborately with team members of "Unoloukik", about each of the five episodes.
Moribar Holo Tar Shad
Noted actor Mostafa Monwar plays the role of Kabir in this episode, which revolves around the commodification of death. "Dealing with psychological concepts always requires rigorous research. Apart from my own homework, Robi and Shawki helped me to portray the ideology of my character," said Monwar. Barman cleverly places a homophonic word play through Shad (taste) and Shadh (desire). He also has a cameo in the episode. "I have no dialogues, I am just on screen. However, I will say that acting is an immensely tough job," shared the writer.
This episode is based on the original story of the same name from the book, "Baniyalulu". It is an information heavy, monotonous dialogue-based story that often dwells in monologues and soliloquies. "Dwikhondito" is led by celebrated actor Intekhab Dinar. "The episode had long takes and lengthy dialogues. "I demanded to be on my own with the script in a quiet space often," he said. Dinar received an applause from the team during the shoot. The actor chose not to reveal any further details of the storyline.
"Mrs Prohelika" is a noir supernatural psychological thriller. It stars Nusrat Imrose Tisha and Chanchal Chowdhury. "I am a director's actor. Robi and I had thorough discussions about the project, and I portrayed things accordingly," said Tisha. "Working with Chanchal bhai is always a pleasure. Hopefully, our chemistry will be appreciated."
Don't Write Me
Acclaimed actor and Member of Parliament Asaduzzaman Noor will make his digital debut with the interestingly titled, "Don't Write Me". He will portray the role of an author. His co-actor, Shohel Mondol, was elated to work on this project. After Shohel's landslide popularity as Montu in "Taqdeer", Auneem approached him for "Don't Write Me".
"Ever since I watched Robi bhai's 40-minute teleplay, 'Mutton Roast' I wanted to work with him. When the opportunity came by, I could not be happier," shared Shohel. "The icing on the cake was definitely Noor bhai. Working with both him and Robi bhai was magical. We rehearsed at Noor bhai's house. His sense of humour is impeccable. It broke the ice, and later helped us to interact on the sets."
"Hello Ladies" is about the absurd reality of media consumption and addiction. It is served with several twists and turns, set in a dialectical mediation between real and fantasy. "Hello Ladies" features Rafiath Rashid Mithila, Iresh Zaker, and Sahana Rahman Sumi.
Mithila found her character to be quite different. Growing up, she enjoyed reading detective stories like "Tin Goyenda" and "Adbhuture", and had an affinity towards psychological topics. "The elements in this story are rather dark, which I enjoyed. "It portrays a twisted, contemporary dilemma. Working with Iresh was fun. Robi was my junior at university. He is a gifted director," she said.
After July 12, the rest of the episodes of "Unoloukik" will be released on four consecutive Thursdays.
The author is an art researcher and writer in the making. Email: email@example.com.