Multi-award-winning celebrated filmmaker Syed Wahiduzzaman Diamond’s latest film ‘Rohingya’, which is based on the sordid stories of the 1.20 million Myanmar Rohingyas who have been sheltered in Bangladesh is ready for release. The director is eyeing on international OTT platforms such as Amazon, Netflix, Hotstar etcetera for premiering his latest movie. Earlier, a number of Bangla feature films of this filmmaker have received National Awards in Bangladesh.
Bangla feature film Rohingya, which revolves around the Rohingyas who have been living at different camps in Bangladesh. The movie is being released when at a crucial timing as repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar is considered as a key burning issue in the world. This film though is originally made in Bangla language will also be available in a number of languages, including English, French, Spanish, Hindu etcetera.
The film aims to give the viewers a glimpse into the plight of the displaced Rohingya people, who fled violence and persecution in Myanmar in 2017 and 2018.
“The film will give the viewers a glimpse into the plight of the 1.20 million Rohingyas who fled their country after a military campaign was launched by Myanmar army in the Rakhine state of Myanmar”, said Syed Wahiduzzaman Diamond, who also penned the script and screenplay of the film.
“The film was shot at different locations in Cox’s Bazar. I hope film lovers will like the film. It will also help in making people around the world aware of the plight of Rohingyas”, he added.
The film is produced by Shabnam Shahnaz Chowdhury, who has earlier produced a number of award-winning films by Syed Wahiduzzaman Diamond.
The Rohingya issue:
Four years ago, in late August 2017, “breaking-news” across the world were dominated by the massive influx of Rohingyas to Bangladesh, a result of military-backed bloody “clearance operation”. A 444-page report of the UN’s Independent Fact-Finding Commission substantiated that more than 7,25,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after this deadly crackdown. The degree of atrocities of this “campaign of terror” embarked on by the military was so intense that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights referred to it as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” whilst other investigators dubbed it as “genocide”. In the first three weeks of August 2017, Bangladesh received more refugees than entire Europe did in 2016 during “Syrian crisis”. Since then, Bangladesh has been generously hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingyas as short-term guests ensuring “safe haven” on humanitarian grounds. Now, Cox’s Bazar based 13 Kilometers long Kutupalong “mega-camp”, the largest refugee settlement camp in the world, is the home to this beleaguered community.
Rohingyas, living in Arakan for thousand years, have been actively involved in Burma’s politics since independence. The recognition of Rohingya as Myanmar’s citizens by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) resolves their identity crisis by providing a legal base. Besides, in the hearing of ICJ, Aung San Suu Kyi defined Rohingyas as Arakan’s Muslims. Myanmar signed two repatriation agreements with Bangladesh in 2018 and 2019 respectively giving consent to take back their citizens. Although these repatriation agreements were in vain due to reluctance of Myanmar, still these agreements are significant proof of Myanmar’s official stance on Rohingyas’ citizenship.
Approximately 166.65 million population of Bangladesh, 8th largest in the world, makes it one of the densely populated countries with 1,125 people in per sq. km. This small country, 92nd in terms of land size, with a total landmass of 147,570 sq. km, slightly smaller than the US Iowa state, is hosting over 1.20 million Rohingyas which is higher than the total population of Bhutan. No country in the world is bearing the burden of so many refugees as by overpopulated Bangladesh.
About the director:
Bangladesh National Film Award winning film director Syed Wahiduzzaman Diamond is famed with the title ‘Nimnoborger manusher Jiboner Rupakar’ or ‘Portrayer of the life of the marginalized people’ as he represents the life of the proletariat and the dispossessed of the society.
He has so far made four full length feature films, and is in the process of completing his fifth, and has more than 50 television dramas and tele-films under his belt. His works uphold the lives of minor ethnic groups who are persecuted against and engaged in hereditary so-called lowly works, including but not limited to, Santal, Oraon, Dom, Chamar, Weavers, Blacksmiths, Fishermen, River Gypsies and sex-workers.
‘Nacholer Rani’ (The Struggle), based on the historic Santal revolution led by Ila Mitra in Nachol, is Diamond’s debut feature film. He received an honorary accolade from Gorky Sadan, Kolkata’s Russian Cultural Centre and the ‘Atandra Podok’ from Tollygunge Atandra Sanskritik Shangshad India for this particular feature.
He received two Bangladesh National Film Awards in the categories ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Scriptwriter’ for his second film ‘Gangajatra’ (The Journey) in 2009. ‘Gangajatra’ itself bagged eight Bangladesh National Film Awards, including Diamond’s own two.
He also earned the ‘BACHSACH Award’, ’Star Cine Award’, ‘Film Award Bangla 2010’ in Bangkok etc.
‘Antardhan’ (The Disappearance) is his third feature film, presenting the gradual death of the once mighty river Padma, which also received a Bangladesh National Film Award in the category of ‘Best Child Artist: Special Category’.
His most recent achievement was an honorary accolade from the Bangladesh Film Director’s Association for his national achievements and contributions to the film industry.
Diamond is currently working on his fifth feature film titled ‘The Rohingya’ focusing on the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya community in Myanmar and its aftermath.
Omer Aiaz Ony, Arshi Hossain, Saddam Hossain, Jannat Akhter Shuchi, Master Tanjid, Samiya Aktar Brishti, Shreya, S M Mohsin, Hayatuzzaman Khan, Saquiba Bintay Ali, Enamul Hoque (Enam), Liton and Badol Siddique.
Cinematographer: Ashaduzzaman Mojnu
Background Score: Emon Shaha
Editor: Md Shahidul Haque
Makeup: Kholilur Rahman
Art Direction: Himadri Barua and Anjan Bonik
Fight Director: Arman
Sound Recordist: Shohel Ahmed
Sound Designer: Shoybo Talukdar
Colorist: Md. Riazul Haque
Bangladesh Film Development Corporation
Sub-titlist: Syeda Wahida Sabrina.
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