Dhaka, Aug 19 (UNB) - During the pre-liberation era, there was a god-gifted genius in this suppressed land called Bangladesh, which was then known as East Pakistan. He fought with his pen, camera and cinematic vision for the freedom of the motherland- and through this courageous journey he successfully revealed the true color of the Pakistani rulers.
If he was still alive, the films of Bangladesh would certainly get the highest possible recognition to the worldwide audiences, than it gets now. Today was the 84th birth anniversary of country’s legendary filmmaker and writer, Zahir Raihan.
Born as Mohammad Zahirullah on 19th August, 1935 in the village Majupur of Feni district- Zahir had studied in Calcutta Alia Madrasah, where his father was a professor. It was Partition in 1947 which moved his family back to his ancestral village. From Amirabad High School, Zahir successfully passed the Matriculation examination in 1950.
Even at that young age, he already had started his literary works covering variant topics. That year, he started working as a journalist in Juger Alo. Although he joined medical college and eventually got himself dropped out after completing his ISSC Examination from Dhaka College in 1953, he later obtained his Bachelor of Arts (Hon) degree in Bangla from the University of Dhaka in 1958.
During this timeline, Zahir was attracted and later became very much involved in Communist movement against the Pakistani rulers. There was an incident happened regarding his involvement in Communism, which gave him the identity through which he became aesthetically immortal. At that time, Communist Party was banned in Pakistan and the leaders of the party went underground, so as a young comrade he worked as a courier to carry letters and messages for them from one place to another. Because of his trustworthy service, he was given the name Raihan from underground leaders and thus his original name Mohammad Zahirullah was changed to Zahir Raihan.
The Language Movement of 1952 was the first major event that shook the whole unified Pakistan at its core, and Zahir became wholeheartedly active with it. He was one of the first ten students to break the 144 regulation and marched a procession on 21st February, 1952- and was also present at the historical meeting of Amtala on February 21, 1952. He later metaphorically portrayed the incidents of this movement in his monumental film, Jeebon Theke Neya (Taken from events of life). He was a lifelong patriot, and never compromised portraying the truth and beauty of patriotism in his creations.
At this point, he also started his professional career as a journalist. After working in the Juger Alo, he worked in newspapers namely Khapchhara, Jantrik, and Cinema. He also worked as the editor of Probaho in 1956. His first collection of short stories, titled Suryagrahan (Solar Eclipse), was published in 1955. He was one of the initiators in publishing the English Weekly Express in 1970- and was also associated with some other journals of literature.
However, within his short-spanned career as a writer, he was successful to write and tell some of the most prolific and true-to-life stories ever published in Bangladeshi literature through his books such as Shesh Bikeler Meye (A Girl in the Late-Afternoon), Arek Phalgun (Another Spring), Trishna (Thirst), Borof Gola Nodi (River that emerged of Melted Ice) and most notably, Hajar Bochhor Dhore (Since Thousand Years).
Although he became a journalist and writer, he always aspired to be a filmmaker. So he went back to Calcutta and got admitted into Pramatesh Burua Memorial Photography School in 1952 to learn photography. Zahir Raihan’s career in the movie started with Jago Huye Savera (Wake Up, it’s Time) in 1957, where he worked as an Assistant Director. As an AD, he also worked with Salahuddin in the film Je Nodi Morupothay (The River about to Get Drenched).
Prominent director Ehtesham then trusted Zahir as his wingman in his movie A Desh Tomar Amar (This is My Country as yours), as he was not only the Assistant Director but also wrote the title song of the movie. His first Directorial venture was Kokhono Asheni (Never Emerged) which was released in 1961. However, being an underprivileged filmmaker of a suppressed state, he made two revolutionary attempts as director- Sangam (Lovemaking), which was entire Pakistan’s first ever colored film- and completed his first cinemascope Urdu movie Bahana (Excuse), both in the year of 1964.
He was gradually becoming more and more successful during that timeline as a shining director with back to back hits such as Sonar Kajol (Golden Kajal- 1962, jointly directed with Kolim Sharafi), Kancher Deyal (Walls of Glasses- 1963), Behula (1966), Anowara (1966), Agun Niye Khela (Playing with Fire- 1967) etc. He launched several prominent artists through his movies, most notably Nayak Raj Razzak and Babita- and worked frequently with prominent actor-director Amzad Hossain and Khan Ataur Rahman.
By that time, the political situation of the nation was getting chaotic more than ever, and Zahir was continuously feeling the zeal to break every shackle imposed by the Pakistani Rulers. During the historical mass-movement of 1969, he felt the urgency of making a film based on the incidents of 1952’s Language Movement and 69’s Gono Ovvyutthan together, thus created his legendary film Jeebon Theke Neya in 1970.
Till date, the unique parallel storytelling technique of Jeebon Theke Neya mesmerizes everyone- as Zahir brilliantly portrayed the complete political scenario of that chaotic time by metaphorically portraying the everyday life of a classic middle-class joint family. So many things happened in this one particular film- the inclusion of Rabindranath Tagore’s song Amar Sonar Bangla which later became the National Anthem and that too used in a time when Tagore’s creations were strictly banned in Pakistan’s culture; the inclusion of Nazrul’s monumental song of rebel titled Karar Oi Louho Kopat; the traditional morning procession of 21st February which portrayed for the first time ever in celluloid through this film and most importantly, the National Flag of Bangladesh was first properly portrayed with utmost pride, patriotism and respect in this movie.
All these aspects eventually led so many people to believe that this one particular movie ignited the fire and patriotic zeal among people to step toe to toe against the Pakistani rulers, thus start the Liberation War which led to the independence of Bangladesh. Jeebon Theke Neya has been described as an example of ‘National Cinema’, using discrete local traditions to build a representation of the Bangladeshi national identity. It is considered a milestone for Bangladeshi cinema and a classic.
Zahir Raihan achieved massive critical acclaim for Jeeban Theke Neya, not only from the general people of both the Bengals but also from Bengali film maestros and legendary filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak- and donated all the money he earned from the movie’s screening to the aid of freedom fighters despite of being in financial crisis. He started making an English film titled Let There Be Light, which he could not finish because of the break out of the war of liberation.
After 25th March of 1971, he went to Calcutta and produced a documentary film Stop Genocide highlighting the massacre done by the Pakistani Army. This film created a sensation all over the world. A true lover of cinema by his soul, he eventually found both his wives from the Bengali world of cinema- actress Sumita Devi (married 1961) with whom he had two sons Bipul Raihan and Anol Raihan, two of the successful drama directors of the country- and another popular actress Suchanda (married 1968), with two other sons as well- Opu and Topu Raihan.
Although Bangladeshi patriots successfully snatched the freedom and independence from Pakistan in the war, the defeated party wanted to paralyze the country in the long run by killing of its intellectuals. Because of that cowardly move, several intellectuals went on missing within December-January of 71 and 72, respectively. That included eminent writer Shahidullah Kaiser, the elder brother of Zahir who went missing from his residence at the University of Dhaka.
Within days, on 30 December 1971, someone informed Zahir about an address, somewhere at Mirpur which was still heavily dominated by Pakistani and Bihari people, where he might find his brother. Accordingly, Zahir left home to get his brother back. He never returned though, and according to some witness- he was shot and killed in an encounter.
Zahir Raihan lived only 36 years, but he managed to achieve eternal glory for Bangladeshi cinema through his majestic creations. While this mourning cannot be overlooked that the country lost its most talented, iconic and genius filmmaker in exchange of its independence- Bangladesh got the opportunity to call Zahir Raihan of its own; and that is definitely a remarkable achievement for any nation.
Dhaka, Aug 18 (UNB) - Spider-Man: Far From Home has surpassed the worldwide collections of Skyfall to become the biggest global earner for Sony. The Marvel Cinematic Universe film has grossed 1.109 billion dollars so far, edging past Skyfall’s 1.108 billion dollars, reports The Indian Express.
Far From Home is the second film in MCU’s Spider-Man series. Since Sony owns the movie rights to the character, the film, like its prequel, is a collaboration between Marvel Studios and Sony.
The Tom Holland-led cast also features Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Earlier, Spider-Man: Far From Home became the most successful Spider-Man movie in India.
Far From Home is the first MCU film after the universe-altering events of Avengers: Endgame. It is a hit among critics as well. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is 90 per cent and the consensus is: “A breezily unpredictable blend of teen romance and superhero action, Spider-Man: Far from Home stylishly sets the stage for the next era of the MCU.”
The Indian Express film critic Shalini Langer wrote in her 3.5 star review, “Director Watts, who also wrote and directed the 2017 Spider-Man: Homecoming, knows that he has a winner on his hands with the awkward Holland playing an even more awkward Peter-in-love, and with the charming Zendya as crusty MJ and the brilliant Batalon as his best friend Ned making a winsome threesome.”
“Ned gets his own parallel adorable love story, and while he may be the overweight sidekick and she the straight-A, good girl, their relationship is not played just for laughs. Far From Home’s best moments come when it sticks to Peter’s school group, including two hapless teachers and many teenagers with different interests (plus one hunk with a crush on MJ),” she added.
Dhaka, Aug 10 (UNB) - Avengers Endgame was a conclusion to not just the Infinity Saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was also the end of the road for a few major characters. Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark sacrificed himself at the end of the movie so that he could snap Thanos and his forces out of existence and save the universe.
While it was expected that there would be important casualties, few had anticipated something this big. The character was easily the most popular in the MCU, and his death has had a great impact on the emotionally invested fans.
As it turns out, Stark’s demise was planned as far back as 2015, during the production of Captain America: Civil War. During a Q&A with Empire, Feige revealed, “I remember pitching that to Robert Downey Jr. probably in December of 2015, I think. I pitched him the idea of the two-part finale for Avengers and Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was a part of that leading into it. It took a little while, but eventually it came together.”
He added, “I think at first it doesn’t seem real that this journey will come to an end. But as it got closer to filming, it really was emotional for all of us, and particularly for him.”
This proves the incredible amount of groundwork that was laid by Feige and the other creatives at MCU to make the climactic events in Endgame possible.
Feige also revealed that he and others wanted the death of Tony Stark to evoke the same emotion that was evoked after Wolverine’s death in Logan. Just like Downey Jr, Hugh Jackman starred in the role in several films of the X-Men universe. Feige said, “We saw Logan like the audience did, in a theatre having nothing to do with the making of that film and went, ‘oh my god, what an amazing ending for Hugh [Jackman] as this character. And there are only a handful of examples where an actor so associated with a character can go out perfectly. And Logan is the only one that jumps to mind right now, there are not that many of them. And that’s what we desperately wanted to give Robert, and that was what our focus w
The sequel to Rani Mukerji starrer 2014 crime thriller Mardaani finally has a release date. The Gopi Puthran directorial will hit the screens on December 13, 2019. The first installment was directed by Pradeep Sarkar.
In Mardaani, Mukerji played the role of Shivani Shivaji Roy, a cop whose interest in the case of a kidnapped teenage girl leads her to investigate into the racket of human trafficking by organised crime cartels. Jisshu Sengupta, Tahir Raj Bhasin and Saanand Verma played supporting roles. The film was acclaimed by critics and also proved to be a box office success.
In the sequel, Rani reprises the role of Shivani Shivaji Roy. The film will have her locking horns with a 21-year-old villain who is described as “pure evil.” Produced by Aditya Chopra like the original, Mardaani 2 went on floors in March this year.
Rani had spoken to ANI earlier about the film and said, “In Hichki, they (audience) came to know about the symptoms of Tourette’s which not many people knew in India. With Mardaani we got to tell people how the menace of child trafficking exists in our lives even though we don’t want to see it but it is rampant around us. In Mardaani 2, we will again tackle a subject that will be shocking; it will show something very real, very alarming to audiences and make them aware of what’s happening in and around our lives.”
Rani Mukerji was last seen in the 2018 film Hichki.
New York, Aug 10 (AP/UNB) — Shia LaBeouf is trying to show how different he is from his co-star in "The Peanut Butter Falcon," Zack Gottsagen.
"Hey, Zack," says LaBeouf. "Are you a good opera singer?"
"Yes!" replies Gottsagen with a smile.
"Hey, Zack. Are you good scuba diver?"
"Yes!" responds Gottsagen, just as quickly, just as brightly.
LaBeouf shakes his head in awe. Like the 33-year-old LaBeouf, Gottsagen, is an actor. He's one year LaBeouf's senior and he has Down syndrome. Truth be told, he can't sing a lick of opera and isn't much for scuba diving. But that's never stopped Gottsagen.
"No matter what you ask him, he's good at it. He was raised a special, magical kid since he was young. There's no self-doubt in him," says LaBeouf. "You ask me if I'm a good actor and I'll tell you I'm s---."
Six years ago, Gottsagen met Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz at an acting workshop for disabled people at a camp in Santa Monica, California, organized by Zeno Mountain Farm. They immediately noticed Gottsagen who, while playing the bad guy in a Western, would with an air of danger take off his glasses and put down his drink before saying his line.
Gottsagen, who works as an usher at his local movie theater in Florida, told them he wanted to be a movie star.
"We had to have a really frank conversation about how there aren't many opportunities for people with Down syndrome to act in movies that go into theaters. He kind of got really emotional and he just said, 'Well, let's do it together then!'" recalls Schwartz. "It was his idea. It was a great idea."
Schwartz and Nilson had only toiled on the peripheries of Hollywood, working on commercials and short films. Nilson, once a hand model, doubled for Brad Pitt. But, inspired by Gottsagen's determination, they checked out some books from the library about how to write a screenplay.
They put together a script about a wrestling-obsessed young man with Down syndrome who breaks out of his assisted living home and embarks on a "Huck Finn"-like adventure across the North Carolina outer banks and joining up with a destitute crab fisherman running from his debtors (LaBeouf).
It took extreme effort to make it a reality. Nilson and Schwartz went broke and became homeless in the process. For a spell, Nilson lived in a tent without much food. "For better or worse, we went a little bit crazy getting that promise we made to Zack to happen," says Nilson.
But with Gottsagen starring, the filmmakers scraped together some money and began attracting an enviable cast drawn to the project's good heartedness. The film co-stars Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern and Thomas Haden Church. After it premiered at SXSW earlier this year, "The Peanut Butter Falcon," which opened in theaters Friday, won the audience award. Reviews have been excellent. Gottsagen's dream has come true.
"I hope some people could have the opportunity to go for their dreams," Gottsagen said in an interview alongside LaBeouf shortly after taping appearances on the "Today" show and "Good Morning America." ''Follow your heart and maybe someday you can be a movie star."
What's striking about Gottsagen is how he's taken his good fortune in such stride. Having long loved movies (he counts "Grease" as his favorite) and studied acting since has a kid, Gottsagen is remarkably comfortable in the spotlight. He has even taught acting to others with Down syndrome. He worked for his big break. He earned it.
Instead, it's those around Gottsagen whose lives have changed, particularly LaBeouf's. The intense actor and sometimes meta-artist who has been known to battle self-destructive tendencies didn't know what exactly he was getting into when he, a month before shooting, got off an airplane in Georgia and hopped into the back of a pick-up. Nilson and Schwartz sat in the front, Gottsagen and LaBeouf in the back, holding each other as the truck swerved.
They quickly became close, spending their evenings watching wrestling and their days on 12-hour shoots across the Georgia countryside, swimming in rivers, dancing on railroad tracks and having watermelon fights. Like their characters, there was nothing "cheeseball," just honesty and tenderness and equality between them.
"I was quite unintelligible to myself before I met him. He had more self-awareness coming into this picture than I do, which is saying a lot," says LaBeouf. "Walking out, I've adopted a lot of his self-love and his confidence. It's leading to self-love, which is leading to an ability to receive love, which is what was lacking in my life. And I would run to alcohol. I just hated myself. Just a big self-hater."
In the middle of production in 2017, LaBeouf was arrested for public drunkenness . A video captured him making sexist and racist remarks to police officers. LaBeouf has since gotten sober, and he credits Gottsagen with his turnaround.
"He knows about my pain intimately. We'd be sitting there watching wrestling every night. He'd be eating ice cream. I'd be drinking gin. I'd tell him, 'You gotta stop eating all that ice cream.' He'd say, 'You gotta stop drinking that gin,'" says LaBeouf. "This man's a year older than me. He's been acting longer than me and he's healthier than I am. He has more friends than I have, has longer lasting loving relationships."
At that, LaBeouf begins to tear up. Gottsagen leans his head against his co-star and wraps his arm around him. They tell each "I love you."
"I was doing things for Shia because I just don't like to see old Shia act like this. I wanted to see the new Shia that I know," says Gottsagen. "I have respect for other stars in films and I want Shia to be nice with them, except for those stars who don't care about Shia. That would be their loss. I don't care about what they do, but I care about Shia a lot more. Shia can do anything."
Gottsagen turns to LaBeouf and says, "I do mean it."
"I know you do," LaBeouf replies. "You mean everything that you say."
Gottsagen is by any measure exceptional. Census figures have shown 19% of the U.S. population has a disability, but representation has lagged in movies. According to a study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative , just 2.5% of characters in the 100 most popular movies of 2017 where depicted with a disability. And those roles are usually played by actors without one.
"The only way to get past that stigma is to actually give him an opportunity to unveil his humanity on you," says LaBeouf of Gottsagen. "I think that's what the movie does. Our trade secret is heart. You're watching two people connect and it enlarges your humanity. It introduces you to this brave man, this beautiful man."
Dakota Johnson also grew especially close with Gottsagen, tending to his battered feet, scheduling rehearsal time and organizing trips, like one they took to a water park. Gottsagen was a leader on set, too. After each day of shooting, he'd take the directors' bullhorn and say a few encouraging words to the cast and crew.
Those relationships have continued. LaBeouf says he called Gottsagen from rehab. They're still in regular contact.
"This is the least judgmental friend that I have, the most supportive, the most consistent. It didn't stop," says LaBeouf. "If you asked me if I was an opera singer now, I'd think about it."