Biplob highlights the ravages of unbridled free market economy
Golam Rabbani Biplob has directed just two films. His films have not been blockbusters but he sticks to his conviction -- that unbridled free market economy is going to destabilise human life in a country like Bangladesh.
This is a subject he has portrayed in his “Swapnadanay” (2007) and “Britter Bairey” (2009) and is going to deal with it again in his forthcoming feature film he plans to start shooting in and around Dhaka from November this year.
The “ill-effects” of free-market economy on the struggling lower-middle class families in a country like Bangladesh will be brought out through the story of three young women arrested on the charge of prostitution in Biplob's third feature film, which is based on a story written by him.
Revealing the story of the yet-to-be-titled film on the sideline of a film festival here on August 20, Biplob said it will be the 24-hour “journey of the three women [in the age group of 20 to 25], whose incomes are not enough to sustain them -- from their arrest on the charge of being prostitutes to their release the next day following a court directive.”
On coming out of the lock-up, the girls from lower middle class find life hasn't changed for them and they look to an uncertain future like before.
Biplob said he is yet to finalise the cast of the film, which he plans to shoot in locales in and around Dhaka and some villages. He plans to complete the film by April next year.
Biplob said the storyline of his proposed film had come up in his mind when he saw three girls being arrested by the police in front of his office in the Kakrail area of Dhaka four years ago.
“A big crowd had assembled in front of a hotel in Kakrail, so much so that even the traffic had come to a halt. I wanted to go out somewhere but I did not get a rickshaw. Then I pushed my way through the crowd and saw three girls being arrested on the charge of being prostitutes and taken out of the hotel. That was when I had planned a film on this,” says the director.
However, for some reason or other, he had to wait for four
years to make the film. In fact, Biplob says he wanted to make his coming film immediately after “Swapnadanay”.
Why is Biplob turning to the same subject for his film again and again? The answer, according to him, can be traced to his association with pro-Left movement as a student in Bangladesh.
According to the director, the economic system of every country evolves as per local conditions and the centuries-old cultural traditions. But that comes under severe stress and is often destabilised when efforts are made to “impose an economic system from outside. This is what is happening on human life in developing and poor countries with the onset of free-market economy and this I have been trying to project in my films,” he says.
The director tried to show this in “Swapnadanay” through the story of an impoverished village medicine-man who suddenly finds his life thrown into a spin after he finds foreign currencies in the pocket of a second-hand trouser he buys for his son. The same idea is conveyed in his second film, in which a rural flutist finds his life taken over and regulated by market forces symbolised by a large commercial music house wanting to encash on his popular appeal.
Asked if he is not running the risk of becoming a typecast director by focusing on the politics of economics, Biplob acknowledges he does but says this is his favourite subject.
Biplob is also aware that the kind of films he has made and is going to make is for a niche audience and would not be commercially viable. His “Swapnadanay” and “Britter Bairey” were made at a cost of Tk 56 lakh and Tk 89 lakh and their producer, Impress Telefilm Ltd, had lost about Tk one crore as the films did not find an audience outside multiplexes in Bangladesh and international film festival circuit.
However, the director derives satisfaction that “Swapnadanay” and “Britter Bairey” won awards at international film festivals in India in 2006 and 2009. While the first film won the special jury prize at the IFFI in Goa, the other shared the top award with a Kazakh film at the Third Eye Festival in Mumbai.