Life in Bangla filmdom | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 26, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 26, 2009

Life in Bangla filmdom

In conversation with Shahjahan Chowdhury

Alamgir and Saberi Alam in a scene from Atmadaan.
Shahjahan Chowdhury(inset).

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Shahjahan Chowdhury is a noted film director, scriptwriter and dialogue writer. His highly selective writings delineate our social, economic and political conditions, as well as the Liberation War.
Shahjahan is a journalist by profession. During the pre-Liberation period, he worked with the newspaper Khobor. After Independence, he began working with Bichitra. Later, he went on to publish a monthly, Nipun. Its subjects are cinema, literature, poetry, essays and drama. Now he is the editor and publisher of the Weekly Nipun.
At the start of Shahjahan's career, he got a chance to work as a co-director with the legendary Pakistani filmmaker Saroor Barabankvi who was then working on “Akhri Station”. As he says, “I learned many things from this veteran filmmaker. In Bangladesh, I was always encouraged by Khan Ataur Rahman and Soovas Dutt. 'Ata bhai' (Khan Ataur Rahman) was my idol in Bangladesh. As a budding filmmaker, I felt confident, thanks to his loving and considerate approach. I learned scriptwriting, editing and various aspects of production from him.”
“At one point, I also started writing lyrics. Some of my lyrics earned acclaim. Song writing completely depends on my mood. When I am in a pensive mood, Allah permits me to write,” says Shahjahan. He doesn't write songs frequently though. He believes that lyrics should be significant and insightful.
“I was also closely associated with legendary musicians like Salil Chowdhury, Gauri Prasanna Majumdar and Naushad Ali. They persuaded me to write,” he asserts.So far Shahjahan Chowdhury has made four movies: “Pinjar” (1975), “Shatru” (1985), “Uttarer Khep” (2004) and “Ek Khando Jami” (2004). “Uttarer Khep” and “Ek Khando Jami” won several awards in different categories.
“Uttarer Khep” is based on Shawkat Ali's novel with the same title. Renowned actress Champa bagged the National Award for her moving performance as the central character in the film. The film received a government grant.
“Ek Khando Jami” is based on a poem written by Shahabuddin Nagri. It is an Impress Tele-film production. Champa and Raisul Islam Asad don the main roles in the film.
Shahjahan's first movie “Pinjor” was a commercial hit. Besides making films, he has directed many TV plays.
Shahjahan is now busy with his upcoming film. The film, “Atmadaan,” is adapted from Imdadul Haque Milon's “Suto-e Badha Projapoti”. The film is based on the Liberation War. As the director says, “During the Liberation War, the Pakistani army tortured the masses. Husbands lost wives, parents lost children... I want to present a complete picture of the war”. Fuji Colour has already provided a grant for the film.

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