Shaikha Shuhada Panzeree | Updated at 12:00am on July 15, 2018
When one knows logic shall definitely fail to prove a point, the fragile one – incapable of making substantial argument, shows a tendency to lash back on the opponent. This is the most common form of practice in Bangladesh when the ever powerful males take it to be their responsibility to publicly slut shame women who raise their voices, for whatever reason that may be! We have witnessed political figures, enabled by politics and patriarchal power, to make open rape threats at the female students who took part in the recent quota reformation protest. Lucky Akter, an activist, was shamed on social media by men who vividly imagined her having coitus with a junior of her university whom she had given shelter at her place. The shocking fact is, we remained reactionless. Bengali people, who take pride in having morals and values, seem apparently non-reactive to such public defamation, but the same people took sides of a political figure who threatened girls to remain at home, saying that otherwise no one would be liable if the news of them being raped got published the next day. We live in a country where, starting from an unprivileged teenage boy growing up on the streets to the most powerful men, can say and do anything to women as they wish, which is mostly verbally abusing them by addressing them as sex objects, or worse, acting on the things they say. The shame of it is that, it’s not an overstatement but a normalised mere reality. The other day, I went grocery shopping to Palashi Bazaar, a market place where students and residents of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and even from University of Dhaka come to do their daily shopping. One would say this must be a secure area for girls because it is surrounded by respectable educational institutes. But no, as I was walking out, I literally got catcalled, one of the shop owners shouted at another saying ‘ei maal maal maal’, maal is a euphuism for sexually attractive women. I looked back to see who it was, I saw angels sitting there not having a clue if anyone made any sound in the past hour at all! But not all of them pretend, there are some, who take much pride in being a half centurion in rape and make a public statement along with a very direct threat about it. If needed, they will get down to action, and do what they do best. Don’t get me wrong, it is not politics or power that makes them say and do such things, but it is the very nature of these men, embedded in their upbringing, not necessarily entirely by the their family but mostly by this society. Politics and power merely act as the enablers. What is going wrong with the treatment of women in this country? Women, according to how it fits in a patriarchal society, may be placed in a rather high and respectable position that of a goddess, or placed at as low and demeaning position that of a prostitute. The place of a goddess doesn’t always imply absolute power, more often than not it is quite patronising, while men enjoy stripping women of their respect by calling them names, anytime they think the women are crossing their ‘limit’. The limit being timid, docile and subservient in nature that entitles them coming second to men. Second to their male counterparts, that is the ideally highest position they may reach, anything higher is audacity. Now what happens when a girl, a woman, a female, decides to show that audacity? The gentlest response to women having voices is expressing an unfathomable wonder of how they could do or say this and that ‘being a woman’! The general response, however, stands to be an unrestrained show of hatred and public shaming of women. The sole purpose being, using socially demeaning swears words with a particular aim at character assassination. We have recently witnessed how female students active in the quota reformation movement were publicly called prostitutes, harlots with graphic descriptions of how they should be raped, or physically tortured that involved punishing them by inserting different things into their genitals. It sure sounds gross, horrifying to read, but what terrifies me the most is the underlying psychology behind this. Bangladesh is a patriarchal country and the male domination would always find its way here. But patriarchy is not the sole antagonist here. We have grown an environment of collectively enabling of the offenders. When a woman is catcalled in the roads, it is not even a crime for the public, if the girl protested, public would come to the rescue of the offender instead and tell the woman to keep their voice low, or not to make a big issue out of such ‘silly’ matters. One or two from the audience would go out of line and say the woman was only protesting as she wanted attention. This is a malpractice rooting back to our families. The weaker one seems, the more supressed they must be, the sibling dynamic at least works that way. For this very reason, a boy is allowed to be abrupt in their activities, adamant in their desire. However though, the same does not apply for the girl of the family. The children are used to seeing their father taking the decisions, making low comments about their mother in front of the other members of the family, and the mother obliging to him. The familial structure is changing and this is not always the case, but for most of them, it is the very truth. Added to this, the superficial value attached to women having to be chaste, otherwise cast as an outcast, men take the advantage. So whenever a situation arises where women are out of their given subservient post, and they are making their voices, our men – backed by patriarchy and power, go for the easy way to depress their spirit, publicly assassinating their characters. How it appears to me is that, naturally considering themselves to have the upper hand in the social dynamic, men do not feel it necessary to come with a logical or justifiable encounter to women’s activities (whether these are right or wrong is another discussion). It is quite shameful for a country like Bangladesh which has a female prime minister and an opposition leader, a country which is recognised for its continuous endeavours at female empowerment that it should fail so miserably to shape its men’s psyche. Shaikha Shuhada Panzeree is a member of the New Age Youth team.
Jabir Misbah | Updated at 12:00am on July 15, 2018
30 minutes is all you have- this was the ultimatum provided by major general JFR Jacob of India to Pakistan Army Chief, AAK Niazi on the eve of the surrender signed by Pakistan on 1971, which led to the birth of our country, Bangladesh. In the short film named ‘Mukti’, the negotiation scenes of Pakistan’s surrender are portrayed to perfection. This short film depicts the birth of our country and the closure of an Indian sub-continent crisis of the twentieth century. Mukti, the short film is a docudrama, which shows the viewer the facts of our liberation war. This short film is available on YouTube and has amassed over 1.5 million views since its uploading date of 14th August, 2017. The short film is written by Manu Chobe and was published by Sony LIV. It stars experienced actors namely Milind Soman, acting as the fearless soldier and immaculate negotiator, General Jack Jacobs and Yashpal Sharma as the Pakistani army chief Niazi, to give the film its acting vigor. It has been applauded by both the community of Bangladesh and India as a historically accurate representation. Uday Sodhi, EVP and head – digital business, Sony Pictures Networks said, ‘This short film is our tribute to the unsung heroes, who risked their lives to fight in the 1971 war’. So, what is the story line? The story sets itself days before our independence, when Jack Jacobs, the then major general of the Indian Army is tasked with the negotiation of a ceasefire with the Pakistan Army boss Niazi under the UN regulation. Back then West Pakistan were oppressing East Pakistan, present day Bangladesh, politically, economically and culturally. East Pakistan was being deprived of the political and social rights that they were promised they could exercise. Instead the Pakistani Army led a massive attack on the eve of March 25, 1971 on millions of civilians which is historically known as ‘Operation Searchlight’. After that, the Pakistani Army led on a fully fledged war of nine months, plundering the riches of Bengal, abusing the women and killing the intellectuals on sight. This forced the innocent civilians to come out of their shells and form an army called ‘Mukti Bahini’, which was formed by students, military officials, farmers and people from every sphere of lives. The nine -month war procured losses on both sides as the Mukti Bahini regularly launched attacks based on a tactic known as ‘Guerilla Warfare’. In spite of lack of proper firearms and protection, the Mukti Bahini waged a massive comeback, which was denoted in this short film- ‘They (Mukti) will come at you with their knives and pickaxes’. This signifies the courage and zeal that Bangladeshis had for a free country. But with the inception of the 9th month of the war, on 4th December, 1971, The United States of America provided their support to West Pakistan, which had such an impact on the war that the UN had to intervene and call a ceasefire. At that moment, General Jack Jacobs was tasked with signing the ceasefire, but he had his own mind games and strategies to play. The docudrama goes on to showcase how the General ‘reasoned’ with his counterpart, giving him the facts and standing of the war with a cold-eyed stare and nonchalant demeanor. The film starts with old clips of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Wherein Sheikh Mujib speaks against the violence of Pakistan, Indira Gandhi states that India will not lay low and let the atrocities and violence take place in front of their eyes, to which Ali Bhutto accused India of being a ‘predatory aggressor’. After the scene shifts to a military camp and henceforth the movie start revealing its story. This 17-minute short film depicts how a single person with his mind can change the course of a war. General Jack Jacobs may not have actively participated in our liberation war, but the role that he played in the signing of the surrender was and will always remain undeniable. In this movie, it can be seen as to how he frightened the Pakistani Army by stating the strength of the Mukti Bahini and the reinforcement the Indian army has provided them. He shows his diplomatic competency by stating the war has only two outcomes, either for the Pakistani Army to surrender or to have more blood on their hands. To me, the best part of the movie is the diplomacy skill portrayed by Jacob’s character, which ultimately leads to the breakdown of Niazi’s ego. The way he compelled Niazi to realise that the Mukti Bahini will not stop until every single dead Bengali live is avenged, until every woman were restored their honor, until every child was told that their fathers and brothers did not die for a failed cause and until every single blood drop was accounted for, was emotionally very uplifting. The only part of the movie I does not like is that it fails to provide historical proof of the facts it provided in its dialogues, which feels like a gap. But other than that, when you are in need of some inspiration, you can watch it. The short film portrays the ardor and mental strength of Bangladeshi people for their freedom, who were oppressed and repressed for two decades since the Partition of 1947. It is a must watch film for every Bangladeshi to understand the fear that we can strike upon the enemy with our vigilance and hard-work. Jabir Misbah is a story teller and knowledge enthusiast.
New Age Youth | Updated at 12:00am on July 15, 2018
Nusrat Nooha Viqarunnessa Noon College I'm not fond of visiting movie theatres. But after the release of Aynabaji, all the good reviews and the hype made me think, I had to watch it. On September 30, 2017, Dhaka witnessed the release of Amitabh Reza's directorial debut-Aynabaji. Since its release, the crowd flocked inside cinema halls, after ages. Hundreds of people lined up in front of ticket counters. I myself had to wait two days before I got my hands on a ticket. I went to Modhumita, however, I was a bit upset for not getting tickets for cineplex. But luckily I met Amitabh Reza after the show. He came to observe the crowd, which was the best part! The movie is basically the story of a human chameleon serving as body doubles for convicted criminals, who goes by the name Sharafat Karim Ayna. The story is the perfect combination of twist and turns. Location, direction and cinematography, in one word, combine to a masterpiece. After ages, I witnessed perfect atmosphere of a movie theater. House full halls filled with satisfaction. There is no doubt it was a great success for our movie industry. Sofia Kamal United International University Last film I went to the theatres was for Poramon. It was a heart touching Bangla movie. I already had a few positive reviews about the movie. Now, urban youth are becoming interested in watching our own movies. I think the future of our Bangla film is very bright. Graphics, performances, story and other technical aspects, overall are so fascinating that the audiences are going to movie theatres regularly. Now, my friends and I, often make plans to go to watch movies in cinema hall, especially Bangla movies. Few years back we didn’t even think about that. If the progress continues, they can catch the international market. Though some countries already watch our Bangla films, they are giving a positive feedback too. I am quite sure that one day our Bangla films will compete with other international industry productions. It will take time but it will. Jannatul Ferdous Anan Jahangirnagar University I usually prefer watching movies at my own home, comfortably. But the trailer of Aynabaji was really something. I got so excited that I actually went to a cinema hall for the first time to watch this movie. And I must say it was absolutely worth it. I mean the cinematography, the graphics, the camera works, the script, the storyline and the last but obviously not the least the amazing acting of the whole cast was absolutely magnificent. Also I enjoyed watching Dhaka Attack and Doob. Moreover, I can't wait for the movie Debi to come out. So if the new movies can make an introvert person like me to go out and watch it then I think the contemporary improvement of Bangladeshi film is actually very promising. Farzana Hossain ACCA On September of 2016, I came across a trailer of a Bengali film named Aynabaji on YouTube. As soon as I watched the trailer, it seemed different than most of the films that are made in Bangladesh these days. The trailer caught my attention and I finally had a Bengali film which I could go on and watch in a theatre after a long time. A few days later, it hit theatres and I went and watched it in a nearby theatre. It felt refreshing among all the mediocre films that are made in the industry these days. It was directed by Amitabh Reza Chowdhury and produced by Content Matters LTD. A special mention should be given to the marketing team of the film as they made this film the talk of the town before its release which led to a huge box office opening. I was somewhat satisfied with the film and felt it was worth the money and time I invested. After watching it, I thought, although most films coming from Bangladesh these days are mediocre, with the right and a good script, way better films can be made too but only if producers back the new talented filmmakers with fresh ideas. Also the marketing teams should do their job so that no good film can go under the radar.
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