The biography of late Bangladeshi leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, “Mujib: The Making of a Nation”, is currently in post-production, and a teaser will be unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Rahman, also known as Bangabandhu (Friend of Bengal), was a founding member of the Awami League party and led the struggle for political autonomy for East Pakistan, which culminated in the foundation of independent Bangladesh in 1971. He was Bangladesh’s first president and subsequently prime minister until 1975, when he was killed by an army coup. Sheikh Hasina, his daughter, is Bangladesh’s current Prime Minister.
Shyam Benegal (“The Making of the Mahatma,” “Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero”), a prominent Indian director, directs the film. The Bangladesh Film Development Corporation and the National Film Development Corporation of India collaborated on the film. International rights sales are handled jointly by the two organizations.
In the Bangabandhu biopic, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is played by Arifin Shuvoo, the best actor winner at the Bangladesh National Film Awards for “Dhaka Attack.” Nusrat Imrose Tisha (“Doob – No Bed of Roses”), Fazlur Rahman Babu (“The Salt in Our Waters”), Chanchal Chowdhury (“Aynabaji”), and Nusraat Faria (“Shahenshah”) round out the cast.
The film is in Bengali, and Benegal held auditions in Kolkata, the capital of the Bengali-speaking state of West Bengal in India, and Dhaka, the city of Bangladesh. “The Bengali spoken in Bangladesh differs significantly from the Bengali spoken in West Bengal, which was crucial to me because the film was going to be in Bengali… it was preferable to have Bangladeshi performers,” Benegal told Variety. “And it was a happy mix because they’re all really well-trained and have a very professional attitude toward their work.”
During the pandemic, the production was shot in Bangladesh and India with COVID-19 precautions and a COVID marshal present. No one on set was infected with the virus.
The process of telling the narrative of a figure as well-known and revered as Rahman may have been difficult, but Benegal says it was “no issue at all.”
“Sheikh Mujib’s daughter, who is Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, was the only one who could have advised me, told me yes, no, or whatever,” Benegal continues. “Now, I was a little worried since it was a family story for her. But she simply told me to go ahead and make the movie I wanted to make. And that was the end of it. So there was no way I could be restrained in any way. As a result, we were able to make the picture we intended to make without feeling constrained by anything or fearing that something would be prohibited. “There’s no such thing.”
The film is now undergoing a lengthy VFX development in preparation for a preliminary teaser to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival. “We’re aiming to pique distributors’ interest at Cannes because it attracts the largest number of international distributors of any festival,” Benegal added.
The 87-year-old Benegal, a pioneer of India’s New Wave cinema movement, is one of the industry’s doyens. He has won multiple National Film Awards in India, and his films have screened at Cannes and Berlin. In 2005, he received India’s highest film prize, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
After “Mujib,” Benegal has no intentions to make another film. “I don’t give it a second thought.” I simply consider the now. “At this point in my life, I can’t fathom think about the future,” Benegal says.
Information Source: Variety