Tell us something about yourself.
I’ve been working as a director for about seven years now. I started with documentaries for different NGOs. From the development sector, I transitioned to television shows, music videos and films. I’m mostly known for my TV productions.
What inspired you to start film direction?
Every director has an ultimate goal: film direction. I strongly believe that filmmaking is one of the highest forms of self-expression. My mind is always occupied with story ideas, and I am always eager to take on new projects.
How did you come up with ‘Nodorai’?
The producer of the film approached me in the latter half of 2015, having seen Aadi’s first look. We then proceeded with the workings of the film. During the storywriter’s stay in Cox’s Bazar, he came up with the storyline. However, the main concept was developed by our producer. After much research and preparation, we finally started the shooting last November. The process was quite long.
How did the filming go?
If we’re talking about the place, there hasn’t been anything new as I’ve been to Cox’s Bazar multiple times before, for other films. The difference this time was that I had a purpose. Not many know that people surf in Bangladesh. So, I felt that it was my duty to make it known. The people are so passionate and dedicated, despite so many hardships; it really moved me. I got to meet them and learn about their lives and stories. That was an amazing experience. We had to stay there for around a month, and got to experience so many things.
How did you choose your cast?
We decided on having fresh faces for our cast instead of renowned actors, so that the characters can shine. After the auditions, I chose Razz, as his complete ensemble was what I was looking for. I was working with Sunerah for a music video for Pritam, called Rajkumar, when I got the suggestion for her. I found her quite capable and confident. Supporting actors are mostly from Chittagong, other than Sayed Babu. The hardest task was to choose foreign actors as we had to find actors who could surf.
Are you happy with the reaction you received after the release of the first look?
Yes, absolutely. I’m delighted that people are giving such positive feedback to a film which isn’t very commercial and in a Chittagong dialect. However, this extended first look didn’t give much of the film away.
When is the film set to be released?
We’ve decided that the film will be released in October. The festival versions are ready now, and we hope everything will be ready for the Bangladeshi version by October.
What are your expectations from this film?
I hope that the audience will watch the movie, and give it a thumbs up. It’s a completely different breed of cinema. At the end of the day, the film is about our country, and has a strong storyline and message, although it has some commercial elements.
What makes the film unique?
The subject and the plot – surfing and women empowerment through surfing. That and the story of the lives of the people who surf. That’s what makes it unique.
What’s the significance of the film’s theme to our socio-cultural context?
Women empowerment is a common issue in third world countries. I’ve seen girls coming out in disguise to surf as their families don’t allow it. That really touched me. I want this film to help people break free from such social shackles.
Do you have any message for the readers?
You need to be there for Bangladeshi films. Our film is based on real-life events, and if you watch it, you’re standing with the people we based this on and their stories. The surfers in Cox’s Bazar are never covered by the media, even though they’ve won several awards in competitions hosted intercontinentally. You should certainly watch the film to support these people.
Interviewed by Ridwan Intisaar Mahbub
Transcribed by Amina Hossain