Shihab Shaheen is a director who started his career in 2001 with the drama “Bhalobashi Tai”. He was a scriptwriter and a theatre worker in his college days, and now he is on his way to make his first full feature film.
1. Why have you moved from television to films?
Since I was a kid, I always wanted to make films. I use to watch every film that was released. When I grew older I started directing in television and now I am gradually trying to make full feature films. It has always been my dream of working in television. In fact, most people who are working in television dream of making a film someday, at least that is what I think!
2. What inspired you to make films?
As I said, this was something I wanted to do since I was a child. Films fascinated me in a way. When it comes to making a television film there is a time limit but when it come to a full feature film there is no time limit, you have a freedom to do your work and make it as long/short as you want.
3. Why the success rate of people from television and cinema has decreased over time?
There are many reasons behind this and I'll tell you one of them. You see the number of people who use to watch movies and use to go to movie theatres have decreased in Bangladesh. Hence new people who are trying to do movies are not being able to do what they want. The film industry is in a drought. If people want to be successful in this industry in term of money then I think that they have to give the audience something new. Our films have become too formulaic.
4. There are cases where a director makes a movie and vanishes! We don't see him for years. Why do some directors stop working after they do a few films?
You see technology is advancing day by day. Some of the directors are having difficulty to adjust with it or adapting to the new style of making films and other technical difficulties. So they drop out.
5. What makes a director successful? Is there any specific quality without which you think directors cannot move from TV to films?
I think it's all about presentation. It's about how directors do their storytelling and they need to be good storytellers in order to be good directors. Directors need to be creative, regardless of whether they are directing on theatres, television or films.
6. Regarding the upcoming generation of people who are interested in this line of work, what things they need the most?
I think they need proper grooming and on the other hand our industry is facing various technical difficulties. The next generation needs to find their way out of these constraints. Once we overcome these we can actually do better.
7. What are some of your favorite movies, directors and actors?
I like Tarantino's work a lot, and enjoyed Pulp Fiction, both the Kill Bill films, Django Unchained, etc. I enjoyed Alfonso Cuarón's work in Gravity. Abbas Kiarostami, Krzysztof Kieślowski and Gary Marshal's work had also been very entertaining. Steven Soderbergh's work has also been very enjoyable especially the ones in which he collaborated with Clooney. I love Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan. In general, I enjoy Tom Hanks' acting. Speaking of actors, Al Pacino, George Clooney , Robert DeNiro, Christoph Waltz and many others are also in my list of favorites. There are many Oscars nominated movies I like, to be honest I can never finish the list of movies I like!
8. Where do you think the Bangladeshi film Industry is headed?
I am very optimistic about the future of the film industry in our country and I think we need a film school here where new people can learn how to direct and learn about other technical specializations which are much needed in this field.
9. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I am very optimistic about my future and I hope it goes well. I want to be a film director and a producer in the future. Hopefully, people around the world will watch and enjoy my films in the future.
10. Can you tell us about your upcoming film?
It is going to be a romantic and entertaining piece of work. It is not about a big city or a rural area. It is about a story based in a small town. I hope the audience will enjoy it.