Film city project gets new lease of life

Monwarul Islam | Published at 01:03am on July 14, 2017

After remaining in the pipeline for 35 years, a 105 acre film city at Kabirpur in Gazipur is going to get a new lease of life.
A master plan for the project has got primary approval from the information ministry.
The film city namely Bangabandhu Film City, once fully constructed, will offer indoor and outdoor shooting spaces as well as digital labs and other facilities for production-related works. There will also be recreational facilities to attract tourists, said the project’s director Muhammed Azam.
‘We have prepared a master plan to build a fully-developed and functioning modern film city which will provide all facilities for filmmaking’, Muhammed Azam told New Age.
The plan to build a film city has been in the pipeline the last 35 years, said Bangladesh Film Development Corporation officials.
According to sources, the plan to construct the film city dates back to 1981 when it was first proposed following which 105.12 acres of land was allocated by the then government to Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) for the purpose.
Since then the project has suffered multiple setbacks. As different political parties came to power and the construction work nearly came to a halt.
In an attempt to revive the project the government allocated Tk 19.80 crore in 2015-16 fiscal year for developing a master plan and build some necessary shooting spaces at the film city.
‘We have developed a master plan and built a few shooting spaces, a boundary wall and dormitory’, said KM Ayub Ali, superintending engineer of the project.
‘This year, we will construct a three kilometre road connecting the film city to Dhaka-Tangail highway’, Ali aded.
In the master plan Tk 500 crore has been proposed as total expenditure for developing the fully-function film city.
Directors and producers have long urged the government to establish a large-scale facility for making films, which resulted in the initiation of the project, which, however, did not see much progress in the subsequent years due to other high-priority projects of successive governments.
After 1981, the only thing the city got was a power substation and a residential building built in 2003-04.
Martuza Ahmed, secretary of the information ministry, said that the government wants to build a film city that will have everything filmmakers need.
‘However, it will take some time before it is fully completed,’ he said, without specifying any deadlines.
The recent developments have been welcomed by the artistes associated with the film industry, who highlighted the importance of a film city as there is no outdoor shooting space in BFDC with its archaic floors proving to be a deterrent for some filmmakers. However, they also urged the government to implement the project in a planned and organised way.
While talking to New Age, veteran director and president of Bangladesh Film Directors’ Association, Mushfiqur Rahman Gulzar said, ‘A film city is a must for our film industry. However, the government should proceed with caution while implementing the project. For development of the local film industry we need a film city which has all the necessary facilities.’
‘You can spend a fortune for building some infrastructures but to make them work you need a solid plan of action,’ he added.
Director Nasiruddin Dilu believes a consulting committee consisting of filmmakers, producers, actors and architects should be formed which would visit film cities abroad to see what facilities film cities in other countries have and more.
The committee can submit their findings in a report which can later be used while building the facilities of the local film city, Dilu said.
Actor Ferdaus, however, is optimistic that the city will help revitalise the country’s film industry. ‘Indeed 105 acres of land is quite a big space. When built the film city will not only provide plenty of shooting space but it will also become a popular holiday destination for the general people,’ said Ferdaus.