Despite facing a tough reality check, the show business helped people out and saved them from going insane when every day seemed like a new ordeal with the news of a spike in Covid-19 infections and deaths.
Bangladesh’s cinema industry in the first year of Covid-19
The term “survival” has never been this much meaningful in the history of the country’s cinema industry.
Bangladesh, a country well-known for catering to movie-goers with many cinema halls, now only has 194 cinema halls and cineplexes running which was 1,200 not so long ago.
The country’s first international standard multiplex chain Star Cineplex had to announce the shutdown of its successful branch in Bashundhara City in September.
And major cinema halls including Purnima, Rajmoni and Ovishar have already been closed while other halls like Balaka, Modhumita and more have been suffering losses for ages. The picture is darker outside Dhaka.
“Although we had to say that we were shutting down, we came back due to great support from the moviegoers. However, we might have to go for closure shortly if the situation does not get back to normal soon,” Star Cineplex Chairman Mahboob Rahman Ruhel told UNB.
“We are suffering a huge amount of financial losses every day. To make up for the loss of the lockdown period, the government should allow the hall authorities to run foreign movies.”
The film industry had many problems of its own before the arrival of Covid-19 in Bangladesh. As the pandemic started to wallop lives and livelihood all over the country, the problems turned into a nightmare for it.
On December 30, Bangladesh Film Producers Distributors Association, Bangladesh Film Exhibitors’ Association and Bangladesh Film Directors Association decided to screen Hindi films in the country’s cinema halls.
However, 16 films have been released this year, which was 38 in 2019.
Shakib Khan starred in “Bir” and “Nabab LLB,” Siyam Ahmed and Pori Moni in “Bishwoshundori,” and Indian actor Sabyasachi Chakrabarty appeared in a Bangladeshi film – “Gondi” – for the first time. The government-funded “Rupsha Nodir Baanke.”
These were some of the much talked about films of 2020, while 2021 is awaiting big releases including the biopic on the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Arifin Shuvoo’s “Mission Extreme,” Shwadhin Bangla Football Team-inspired periodical film “Damaal.”
Several film stars including Arifin Shuvoo, Nusrat Faria got infected with Covid-19. But the virus took away Soumitra Chatterjee – one of the most iconic Bengali film superstars of all time.
2020 was a year of online concerts and live music sessions. The annual Joy Bangla Concert paid tribute to Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech.
This year’s lineup featured F Minor, Minar, Avoid Rafa, Shunno, Vikings, Fuad & Friends, Lalon, Arbovirus, Chirkutt, Cryptic Fate, Nemesis, Arekta Rock Band, Adverb, and Sin.
Many online charity concerts and musical events were arranged throughout the year and covered all major festivals virtually to help the Covid-19 victims around the country.
These charity initiatives, from home and abroad, again proved that music can indeed heal the world.
However, the country lost several of its iconic musicians this year, including “Playback King” Andrew Kishore, eminent composer Alauddin Ali, music maestro Azad Rahman, Sarod legend Ustad Shahadat Hossain Khan.
Meanwhile, several artistes raised voices for securing copyrights of their creations, and Bangladesh Copyright Office launched the first-ever digital archive “AB Kitchen” for the artistes, in honour of the late rock legend Ayub Bachchu.
Also, several associations including Lyricists Association of Bangladesh, Singers Association of Bangladesh, Music Composers’ Association of Bangladesh saw progress in copyright issues.
2020 was a bleak year for the television drama industry, as YouTube and over-the-top (OTT) platforms took over the charge to entertain the audiences.
Many noted actors and television superstars got infected in Covid-19 in 2020, including Apurba, Azizul Hakim, Ramendu Mazumdar, Ferdousi Mazumdar, Nasiruddin Yousuff, Asaduzzaman Noor, Aly Zaker, Iresh Zaker, Tanjin Tisha, Tahsan, Abdul Kader, Md Barkatullah, Zinnat Barkatullah, and Liaquat Ali Lucky.
Also, many legendary actors including Aly Zaker and Abdul Kader lost their battle against Covid-19 and cancer.
Although 2020 was a trying year for the entertainment world, the entertainers are hoping that 2021 will be a different year under a new sun.