Internationally acclaimed director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's brainchild, Chabial, has been a platform for young directors since its inception. For many years now, the team has mastered in storytelling and beautifully connected to a wide range of audience. This year, the Chabial team is coming up with the Bhai Brother Express on Eid-ul-Adha for Channel i. Alongside Farooki, nine directors will be working in this one-of-a-kind project, which will feature seven new telefilms. The Daily Star hosted a roundtable discussion with the makers, where they shared their passion for filmmaking and what this project is all about.
Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's much anticipated Ayesha is loosely based on Anisul Hoque's novel, Ayeshamangal. Nusrat Imrose Tisha will be seen as the titular character, while Chanchal Chowdhury will portray her missing husband. “I actually have made a television rendition of Ayeshamangal previously, but that was eighteen years ago. I feel that it had slipped past a lot of peoples' radars,” says Farooki. Ayesha looks to be another masterpiece in Farooki's distinguished career.
Ashfaque Nipun, who is known for his portrayal of real-life scenarios, has directed Shonali Danar Cheel. “The story is about a middle-class family, who become victim to a situation that they have never known before,” says Nipun. A prominent socio-political subject will be depicted in this upcoming telefilm, which stars the likes of Raisul Islam Asad, Mehazabien Chowdhury and Saberi Alam.
Meanwhile, Pata Jharar Din, directed by Redoan Rony is unlike anything that he has made before. Renowned actor Eshita will make her television comeback after a hiatus of four years in this project, joining the magnificent Hasan Imam. “You will notice that whenever there is an unfortunate incident, the perspectives of the victims and the people around them are completely different. This is what Pata Jharar Din is about.” says the director. Rony explains that the telefilm is based on a true story, and this is the first time that he had to completely change his draft after speaking to the victims of the actual incident.
Eminent director Mahmudul Islam's The Original Artist, starring Masuma Rahman Nabila, is an 'outlandish' and 'improbable' story, as the director puts it. “When I first heard the script, I told the director that this will probably never happen in real life!” laughed Nabila.
The younger directors have also put in their best efforts to tell an original and enticing story. Mahmudul Hasan Adnan and Nazmul Nobin have worked on Modern Times, a story about the complicated psychological dilemmas that we face. Arvin Mazumder Lotus and Momin Biswas have directed Litoner Goribi Flat, where they brought back a popular character, Liton, so as to add a bit of nostalgia. “Liton has always been a character that the audience wondered about. So we thought of introducing the owner of the formidable flat,” says Lotus. Meanwhile, Abdullah Al Muktadir and Fahad Khan are looking to surprise the audience with the peculiarly titled Patla Khan Lane-e Baagh Ashiyacchilo.
The discussion also opened the floor for addressing several current global trends in the television and film business.
Redoan Rony spoke about the ways in which streaming platforms such as Netflix, Iflix and more have arrived as a boon. “Streaming platforms can hire talent on the same level as traditional television,” he says. “They have the ability and a customer base. It is obvious that they will create content, instead of dictating what can be produced or not, the way channels and local platforms do nowadays.” On the other hand, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki spoke about how in the last few years, TV series have become vastly popular globally, as many artistes have turned to television in pursuit of better opportunities and powerful storytelling. He cited the example of Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, who went on to direct a mini-series right after winning an Oscar. Similarly, series and sequels have grown popular in the television industry in Bangladesh as well. However, the crisis of budgets is something storytellers have to deal with from day-to-day.
Speaking about the reason behind a limited budget in the industry, Ashfaque Nipun says, “I personally think that we will fail to increase the budget, as long as we are unable to increase the quality of the content. This happens because we have too many television channels. It is challenging to provide quality content for all the channels without having enough resources.”
However, because of the projects that are happening now supported by different channels and sponsors, the budget issues are being solved.
By the end of the discussion, Farooki had a heartfelt message for the whole team, as he feels that his position in this venture is that of a parent. He solely mentored the younger and the established makers in the project, and guided them. “Now I understand why parents are always concerned about their children's work!” says an excited Farooki. “This time, we are working with six new directors and I am a bit nervous of the outcome. However, I believe in their abilities.”