Bioscope verges on extinction

Ziaul Hasan | Published: 17:02, Mar 09,2017


Jalil Mandal, second from left, narrates while operating bioscope at recently held craft fair in Sonargaon.

Jalil Mandal, from Rajshahi, is one of the very few bioscope operators, who is still clinging to the profession he inherited from his father.

For earning his bread, Jalil says he wanders around the country and shows bioscopes in different rural fairs.   

This reporter found the bioscope operator holding shows at the recently held crafts fair organised by National Craft Council at Sonargaon in Narayanganj.

Jalil shows images of landmarks, animals, monuments and prominent people such as Tajmahal, Lalbagh Fort, Royal Bengal Tiger, peacock, founding president of the country Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his bioscope box to the viewers.

The appeal of the one-minute show multiplies as Jalil speaks out names of the objects being screened in his bioscope box in a tuneful way, almost like a song.

He takes 10 taka from each of the viewers.  

‘With the amount that I earn participating in the few fairs in a year across the country is too little to my five-member family. That is why I work in paddy fields as a labour,’ Jalil told New Age.

‘Bioscope has lost its appeal as Television has become the major source of entertainment. But, once we could make modest income showing bioscope,’ Jalil said, adding that most of the bioscope operators switched to other professions.

Recalling his past, Jalil said, ‘People, especially the children, had huge attraction for bioscopes. And many big fairs used to be organised across the country where we used to operate bioscopes and earn sufficient money.’

He also said he learnt to operate bioscope from his father. But, he does not want his son to take the profession. 

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