Home ›› Entertainment

Rakibul Hasan: A life dedicated to filmmaking

Staff Correspondent
03 Jul 2024 19:34:05 | Update: 03 Jul 2024 20:07:55
Rakibul Hasan: A life dedicated to filmmaking
— Courtesy

Rakibul Hasan is a Bangladeshi film director, producer, cinematographer and educator. He has taught in the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at Jagannath University since 2011. He is currently teaching in the same university's Department of Film and Television.

He has also served two terms as the General Secretary of the Bangladesh Short Film Forum. He has been involved in filmmaking for nearly three decades. He made his first short documentary film, "Hazaribagh in Shots" in 1996. His first feature film "Liliputra Boro Hobe," was released in 2008.

He has received a government grant to make the Liberation War-based feature film "Chhoa" in the fiscal year 2023-24. "Chhoa" is his fourth feature film. He is currently in the pre-production stage of the film, selecting actors and locations.

This interview sheds light on the remarkable tale of Rakibul Hasan and his journey in film.

What is the story of 'Chhoa' like?

The film 'Chhoa' portrays a poignant depiction of a community's struggle during the political turmoil of the Bangladesh Liberation War. The film focuses on the characters' personal stories, highlighting larger socio-economic and political issues with a deep sense of realism.

Why did you choose the story of 'Chhoa' for filmmaking?

Several films have been made about those who sacrificed their lives for the creation of our country. 'Chhoa' tells the story of a segment of people whose sacrifices haven't been highlighted yet. Through this film, our new generation, who haven't witnessed the Liberation War, will come to know that people from all classes and professions contributed to our great Liberation War. 'Chhoa' aims to ensure that our future generations have a proper understanding of our Liberation War.

You also make documentaries. Among them, which documentary is special to you?

Two documentaries are special to me – “Alo haate Adharer Jatri” made in 2015 during the time of the blogger killings, and 'Window 20: Lockdown Edition', made in 2020 through networking around the world while staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What have you done in this field, and what are your plans?

I have finished shooting the liberation war-based film 'Subornobhumi' directed by Zahid Hasan. From August, I will be working as a cinematographer on his other film 'Lilimanthon'. In early 2025, I will be doing cinematography for the film ‘Sojan Badiar Ghat' directed by Tanvir Mokammel.

So, when will the shooting of your film 'Chhoa' start?

'Chyoa' is a story of two times - the 1971 Liberation War and the 2022-23 COVID pandemic. The settings of this film will be of two types. So, I will shoot it in two parts. I am thinking of starting the shooting of the first part in November, and the second part in 2025.

How did you become a filmmaker?

I had no goal in my life in childhood, I didn't even think of becoming a filmmaker. I used to write, do journalism, photography. I was the editor of a teenage monthly magazine called 'Kishore Kotha' from 1985 to 1996. In 1990, after reading Moinul Ahsan Saber's novel 'Liliputra Boro Hobe', I thought that a film could be made on this. From then on, the idea of becoming a filmmaker came to my mind and I started to prepare myself gradually through studies, workshops and film readings.

How did you prepare yourself?

I completed a photography course from 'Bangladesh Photographic Institute' in 1989. Then I took many courses including the first filmmaking workshop organised by 'The Bangladesh Short Film Forum', a workshop on 'Television Production Techniques' from 'The National Institute of Mass Media', 'Educational TV Program' course from 'Worldview International Foundation'. In addition to studying films, reading films and theoretical knowledge, I got involved with various productions to gain technical knowledge.

You used to write in the 80s, do you still do it?

Recently I have written papers for four seminars - 'Film in the Fourth Industrial Revolution' for the 'Bangladesh Film and Publication Department', 'Role of Film Industry and Bangladesh Film Censor Board in Building Smart Bangladesh' for the 'Bangladesh Film Censor Board', 'Almagir Kabir- A Pioneer of Bangladeshi Film Industry' for the 'Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy' and 'Tareq Masud: A Film Thinker'.

Whose films are your favourite?

I watch films by Tarkovsky, Godard, Truffaut, Bresson, Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kiarostami, Polanski, Kim Ki-young, Ousmane Sembene, Guru Dutt, Ritwik, Satyajit with equal importance, as well as films by a young filmmaker of this time. I do not 'prejudge' when it comes to watching movies.

What will you say to the filmmakers of this generation?

Everything is changing rapidly, so we have to keep ourselves updated. While updating ourselves, we should not get disconnected from our roots. 

What kind of mood do you think your film 'Chhoa' will create?

The film 'Chhoa' will bring up the history of the Liberation War and the story of the sacrifices and struggles of that time. It will arouse deep respect for history and love for the country among the audience. The film will have a deep and lasting impact on the minds of the audience. It is not just an emotional story, but also a symbol of education, inspiration and humanity. The film will create feelings of affection, empathy, respect and love in the hearts of the audience, which will help bring about a positive change in their lives. I am optimistic about that.