Bangladeshi actor, filmmaker, producer and a business tycoon who runs Several readymade garment factories making hundreds of millions of dollars by selling textile products to American and European buyers has come under criticism from an Iranian filmmaker named Morteza Atashzamzam. It may be mentioned here that, Atashzamzam is an active member of the propaganda cell of Iran’s notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is accused of running gruesome terrorist activities in the Western countries targeting Jews and American citizen.
Ananta Jalil, a film actor and a member of Tablighi Jamaat in Bangladesh has jointly produced a movie with Iranian regime. According to him, the total budget of this movie is more than US$ 14 million. It was a grand mystery as to why and how Iran, a country currently suffering from severe economic crisis due to Western sanctions had invested such a huge amount of cash in a film which was initially made targeting Bangladeshi audience. It is unknown if Morteza Atashzamzam has any connections with Iranian proxy Hezbollah which make millions of dollars through narco-trade. If Atashzamzam has any link with Hezbollah or Iranian regime, it may be even asked as to why an individual like Ananta Jalil was chosen by him as a partner in his movie venture, and whether by joining this Iranian project, Ananta Jalil had violated the US and international sanctions imposed on Iran.
Ananta Jalil, who became a Commercially Important Person (CIP) in 2014 in Bangladesh for his contributions in increasing export of Bangladeshi apparel items. As majority of his buyers are from the United States and the European countries, his sudden connections with Iran and succeeding in making a US$14 million movie jointly with the notorious Islamist regime is a matter of grand surprise, as Iran is the country which has been continuously calling for “destroying” the United States had suddenly found their best partner in Ananta Jalil, the man who makes his fortune by selling readymade garments worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the United States and the West. Hopefully, Ananta Jalil does not have any Jewish buyer, as his cine-partner Iran is the country that hates Jews and calls for destruction of the US and Israel.
Ever-since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had enforced the cruel sharia rule on the Iranian people by ousting Reza Shah Pahlavi, Iranian regime has been spending millions of dollars in spreading its anti-US, anti-West and anti-Semitic propaganda mostly through the so-called cultural centers. But, for the past few years, Tehran’s anti-West, anti-Israel and anti-Saudi propaganda had become a bit submerged, mostly because of tough sanctions imposed by the then Trump administration. But now possibly, the Iranian regime has decided to continue its agenda of promoting radical Islam as well as spreading anti-Semitic and anti-West venom through a different platform.
According to news items, Iran’s rogue Mullah regime has started investing in film industries in the Muslim nations through the Iranian Foundation and Farabi Cinema Foundation with the goal of promoting radical Islam, jihad, religious hatred, and antisemitism while demonizing anti-jihadist forces around the world.
In 2019, Iranians had joined hands with a Bangladesh film producer named Ananta Jalil for making of a film named ‘Din The Day’ (Religion The Day). According to the Tehran Times report, Jalil has made the film for projecting “real Islam” and “sufferings of Muslims in Syria and Yemen”.
In 2017, the Indian Express in an AFP report titled ‘Bangladesh film star Ananta Jalil the latest to turn to Islamic preacher’ said “A Bangladeshi film star who became an Islamic preacher said today he wants to use his fame to draw young people in the Muslim-majority nation to the faith.
“Ananta Jalil is the latest actor to take up the practice after 22-year-old Naznin Akter Happy, whose decision to become an ultra-conservative Islamic preacher was the subject of a best-selling book.
“Thousands of fans turned out late last month to watch 39 -year-old Jalil preach in the capital Dhaka. Photos of him wearing an Islamic turban and long robe went viral on social media.
“He told AFP he had joined the Tablighi Jamaat — a Sunni Muslim evangelical movement that boasts millions of adherents in Bangladesh — after a pilgrimage to Mecca earlier this year”.
According to a report published in Bangladesh Post, this film is jointly directed by Murtaza Atashzamzam and Ananta Jalil. Filming of this movie took place in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Bangladesh, while the major segment of it was filmed in Iran.
Morteza Atashzamzam blasts Ananta Jalil
Rejecting Ananta Jalil’s claim about the ‘Din’ film made with US$14 million, Iranian filmmaker Morteza Atashzamzam took to social media and claimed there has been a breach in the terms of agreement with Ananta Jalil.
He wrote on his Instagram that he will “expose” the budget of ‘Din – The Day’, as he had promised.
Atashzamzam said that the actual budget for the film was US$500,000. When converted to taka, this amounts to around Tk4 crore. Whereas, Ananta Jalil claimed the film’s budget was BDT 1 billion.
The Iranian director said, according to the agreement, Ananta Jalil was supposed to provide the entire budget for the film as an investment.
As an investor, Ananta Jalil would take 85 percent of the film’s profits, and Morteza Atashzamzam would take the remaining 15 percent as the producer.
Morteza Atashzamzam wrote on Instagram, “When Ananta didn’t pay the full USD 500,000 to our Iranian team, how can he say that the budget of the film is around USD 10 million?”
He also said they had disagreements over script, which made them constantly change things.
“Since 85 percent of the film took place in Bangladesh, Ananta would constantly disagree with my vision of the movie, on the pretext that he better was aware of what the Bangladeshi audience wants in a movie than me”.
The director alleged that Ananta Jalil would cause delays during the film’s shooting, making excuses about ‘work pressure’ or prior ‘business arrangements’.
While shooting in Turkey, they did a scene where a woman was dancing ‘indecently’, which he said was apparently a violation of their agreement, and he figured that Ananta Jalil probably had no respect for the culture and regulations of the two countries.
The shooting cost for the film was also apparently increased due to negligence on part of the actor. Ananta Jalil allegedly did not make proper payments to the crew, which made Morteza Atashzamzam stop shooting.
After consulting with a few well-wishers, and a promise from Ananta Jalil to pay all the dues, the director resumed shooting.
The post also stated that on two occasions, Ananta Jalil summoned Morteza Atashzamzam to Bangladesh and India, but only paid him US$ 24,000 instead of US$ 200,000. Anytime Morteza Atashzamzam asked for further payments, Ananta Jalil would give the excuse of COVID and ‘business loss’, according to the Iranian director.
Morteza Atashzamzam said he had shared a meal with Ananta and Barsha at their house, and was simply “extending an olive branch out of respect”, which is why he was silent about these issues all this time.
The Iranian director also posted pictures of the agreement signed, which stated that Ananta Jalil would pay for the budget of US$ 500,000 in six installments. The agreement also stated that the film was supposed to be released within 8 months of the contract signing—the contract was signed on October 18, 2018.
Did Ananta Jalil obtain permission of Bangladesh Bank?
As Morteza Atashzamzam has claimed that Ananta Jalil has already paid US$ 24,000 in Dhaka, it is not clear if the Bangladeshi filmmaker and producer had obtained permission from the Bangladesh Bank for paying this amount to a large amount of foreign currency to a foreigner. As per Bangladesh Bank’s foreign exchange regulations, it is mandatory to take permission prior to making such payments, failing which, the payee may face charges under Money Laundering Act of Bangladesh.