“It took me only five minutes to break the ice,” says Piplu, referring to the first sitting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
She spoke of her family history and shared her thoughts on various topics during the shoots. “The prime minister is very approachable and communicative, and she loved to talk to me and the team,” he adds.
Piplu is the director of “Hasina: A Daughter's Tale”, a docu-drama on the life of Hasina and how she lives the many roles she possesses -- as a daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman; a policymaker; a mother; a grandmother and the leader of her people.
Produced by the Centre for Research and Information (CRI), the film depicts Hasina as the powerhouse who, despite the tragedies experienced and barriers faced, never gives up.
Two days ago, its trailer hit the digital platforms, and since then the number of views keeps rising.
As it is shared and viewed continuously, the audience gets all the more excited about the release.
The much anticipated film will be premiered this year, after an extensive five-year collaboration between CRI and Applebox Films, according to Rezaur Rahman Khan, popularly known as Piplu.
“For over 10 years, I have been directing commercials,” said Piplu, founder and director of Applebox and a prominent ad film maker in both Bangladesh and India.
“The next step could have been to direct a feature film. But I thought of taking a different path and working on this docu-drama instead.”
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, he said the initial conversation had started with quite an open-minded brief where the core idea was to present a captivating biography in the space of a documentary.
“Even though it took the team five years to complete this project, the first couple of years were spent simply on orientation, reading, learning and taking notes.
“The film is an independent one and I consider it to be an arthouse film.”
The trailer opens with a monologue from Sheikh Rehana, the sister of the prime minister, as she speaks of a dream filled with darkness and sorrow.
“Sometimes I wish everything was a dream,” she says, referring to the bloodbath of August 15, 1975 when Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members was brutally murdered.
The next scene in the trailer shows Hasina hanging out with her grandchildren in the kitchen, cooking and talking with them.
For Piplu and his team, shooting the docu-drama has been a fascinating journey. Even though the entire process of meeting the producers, writing a synopsis and presenting a scratch has all been an organic one, a great deal of research was done before taking the next step.
Piplu spent a lot of time reading whatever he could get his hands on about the PM and her family.
He also paid several visits to Dhanmondi 32, and used the access that he was given to learn more about the family while walking around in the museum, which used to be the residence of Bangabandhu.
Eventually the team shot for at least 14 days at Dhanmondi 32, where the prime minister herself was present on some occasions.
The cinematography of “Hasina: A Daughter's Tale” has been done by Sadik Ahmed, editing by Navnita Sen and music by Debojyoti Mishra.