Shyam Benegal – Movie trailer on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman runs into criticism

(From still left) Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a still from the movie ‘Mujib: The Building of a Nation’

Sourced by The Telegraph

A 90-2nd trailer of the considerably awaited Mujib: The Making of a Nation, a biopic about Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was produced at the Cannes Movie Festival on Thursday, triggering a volley of criticism in opposition to its director Shyam Benegal from lots of Bangladeshis.

The mainstream Bangladeshi media has until now confined itself to reporting the trailer’s release and the enjoyment in Cannes over the movie, made by the Indian and Bangladeshi governments and most likely to be launched afterwards this calendar year.

But on social media, Bangladeshis from throughout the globe have pilloried Benegal, generally termed the pioneer of parallel cinema on the subcontinent.

Benegal’s plight has reminded some of the attacks faced by Richard Attenborough and Jamil Dehlavi right after the launch of their biopics about Mahatma Gandhi (1982) and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1998).

A trawl as a result of YouTube and Fb reviews of the trailer — introduced by Union I&B minister Anurag Thakur and his Bangladeshi counterpart Hasan Mahmud — have thrown up criticisms this sort of as:

  • Arifin Shuvoo, who performs Mujib, lacks the aura and baritone of Bangabandhu whose speeches, even his mere existence — and their audiovisual recordings — have presented goosebumps to hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis across generations.
  • The visual consequences (“VFX” in cinematic parlance) of the fighter jets and tanks — utilized by Benegal to inform the tale of the nine-month Liberation War — give the impression of a “cartoon film”.
  • The exploration on Mujib has been inadequate. He has been proven carrying spectacles for the duration of his famous March 7 address — which set the stage for the independence struggle — regardless of the information exhibiting he was without the need of eyeglasses.
  • Lack of notice to element: the trailer shows two distinctive Bangladeshi flags becoming made use of through the Liberation War — one particular with a map and the other devoid of it.

Benegal has also been accused of inappropriate castings for other vital characters and of a feasible “India-oriented storyline”, a political scorching potato in Bangladesh.

“A biopic of Bangabandhu is not just a movie, it’s a matter of our emotions, connected to our historical past as an unbiased nation,” claimed Hashibur Reza Kallol, a Dhaka-centered filmmaker.

“Sheikh Mujib is an icon for all Bangladeshis, whatever their discrepancies. Regrettably, the trailer has exposed numerous shortcomings in the film and people are upset.”

These preliminary reactions are probably to discomfit South Block, which was expecting a surge of goodwill for India because of the movie, billed as the Narendra Modi government’s gift to Bangladesh as it marks Mujib’s centenary and 50 decades of its independence.

The co-generation agreement was signed on January 14, 2020, amongst the two government producers: the NFDC of India and the Film Enhancement Corporation of Bangladesh. The finances of a lot more than $10 million (Rs 75 crore) was shared 40:60 by India and Bangladesh.

“A gesture like this from India in direction of a neighbouring state is in fact welcome,” stated a embellished Bangladeshi independence fighter whom, having said that, the trailer has remaining “unimpressed” for the identical reasons as some of the social media reviewers.

“While it’s genuine that a 90-second trailer can’t demonstrate what the movie is all about, one expects historical past to be accurately reflected in a movie about a talismanic chief like Bangabandhu.”

As social media consumers across the border angrily debated no matter if Shuvoo was the ideal selection for Mujib and whether or not a Bangladeshi director need to have been assigned the movie, a record professor with Calcutta College stated the response had not stunned him.

“Remember the controversies encompassing the movies Gandhi or Jinnah these days,” historian Kingshuk Chatterjee reported, referring to the indignant reactions in India and Pakistan in excess of the range of Ben Kingsley as Gandhi and Christopher Lee as Jinnah.

The massive question that agitated Indians above Attenborough’s movie was regardless of whether it was acceptable to have a Briton participate in Gandhi. The liberties Attenborough took in the storytelling — these as the Congress considering “terrorism” or the Mahatma appearing to organise his Salt March to give a overseas journalist good copy — gave offence to a lot of.

Pakistanis questioned Dehlavi’s interpretation of historical past, some comparing the film to Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel, The Satanic Verses. Many requested why Lee, a person who had portrayed Dracula, was picked to engage in Jinnah.

“In later on days, every person agreed that these two films were being among the most effective made on the two iconic figures from this subcontinent,” Chatterjee said.

“If historic accuracy is what you want, a movie has to be built by a historian. Is that achievable?”

Chatterjee reported that regardless of whether Shuvoo resembles Mujib in glance, voice or personality indicates minor in the context of a biopic.

“You have to remember that it’s not Mujib performing in the movie rather, it’s a film about him,” he explained.

Chatterjee was self-confident that Benegal would do justice to Mujib and that the film would crank out curiosity about the chief among the young.

Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed reported he didn’t see significantly logic in criticising a film on the basis of a 90-2nd trailer.

Ferdous experienced been selected to perform Tajuddin Ahmed, the initially Key Minister of impartial Bangladesh and a close affiliate of Mujib, but could not act in the film since of visa difficulties.

“A large amount of effort and hard work went into investigation and casting…. Even our Key Minister Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana invested extended hrs with the workforce and presented inputs,” he said.

“A trailer is just a trailer and not a movie. I’m waiting around eagerly for the launch I consider it will be a very good movie.”