Last year, India and Bangladesh joined hands for a film on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to mark his birth centenary in 2020. With his mastery over the craft and insightful storytelling, acclaimed filmmaker Shyam Benegal was entrusted the responsibility to helm the biopic.
The director, who has been putting the building blocks together since, indicates that the movie may not roll before the year-end. “I am keeping my fingers crossed. The quicker we start, the better it is for us. But it doesn’t seem that [we may be able to roll] this year. It has been such an unusual year that one can’t predict anything,” says Benegal.
While scriptwriter Atul Tiwari had headed to the neighbouring country for research last year before developing the script, the veteran informs that the team has also zeroed in on the locations. “We will be shooting in Mumbai, Dhaka and some more places. The cast has been locked. We have roped in a Bangladeshi actor because the film will be made in Bengali,” he informs, eager to introduce the younger generation to the founding father of Bangladesh. One to advocate greater autonomy for East Pakistan since the 1950s, Rahman led the movement for Bangladesh’s independence and became the first president of the country.
Shyam Benegal. Pic/ Shadab Khan
At 85, the multiple National Award-winning filmmaker is raring to return to the sets and call for action, almost six years after Samvidhaan, his last outing on television. “There is no fear [of contracting the virus]. You have to adopt a bio-bubble mode wherever you are shooting, and ensure the place is sanitised. The main problem is maintaining a six-foot distance; when you are making a film, it’s not always possible.”
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