We often hear teenagers these days show less interest in reading; rather, they are always busy with browsing the web, playing virtual games and watching films. Keeping that in mind, adaptation of Liberation War themed stories, novels and other fictional works into films is a way of encouraging the youngsters to get acquainted with the history of the nine month-long brutal war that freed the country.
Filmmaker Morshedul Islam has tried to accomplish that with his latest film “Amar Bondhu Rashed”. Based on a fictional work [for adolescents] by Dr. Mohammad Zafar Iqbal, the film highlights the valour a teenage freedom fighter who embraces martyrdom.
Films, of a certain standard, on the theme of Liberation War are not that many in number. Considering that, Islam’s “Amar Bondhu Rashed” certainly enriches that genre.
What makes this film a much welcome endeavour is that it has been made particularly for children and adolescents, future nation-builders, who need to be aware of our history. Though it is a fictional work, through its articulation of emotions and ability to inspire empathy, this film can communicate with every teenager.
The director, who has made films for young audiences before, claimed that he saw much of himself in the protagonist of the film.
The film narrates the story of Rashed, a student of class eight, living in a small town when the war breaks out. He along with his friends gets involved with the war and start helping freedom fighters in many ways.
Rashed is unlike his classmates and friends. When his classmates are usually busy with typical juvenile activities, fun and games, Rashed remains aloof and shows no interest in such activities. He is preoccupied with the political turmoil the country is embroiled in.
When a neighbour asks Rashed and his friends if they’re familiar with what’s happening around them, it becomes apparent that Rashed is well aware.
When the war breaks out and everyone is encaged by utter fear, Rashed roams around and keeps himself updated with the ongoing incidents around him.
Though the film highlights the war, the story is being narrated in present time, by one of Rashed’s friends, Rokibul Hasan aka Ibu to his teenage son.
The storytelling, involving a father and his son, signifies the educative aspect of the film — parents or elders who had witnessed the war firsthand should share their experiences with post-war generations.
The film, in some cases, lacks momentum though. For instance, it does not show how Rashed is captured by collaborators of the occupying Pakistani army. The last few scenes seemingly wrap up abruptly and in haste.
The cast of young actors’ lack of experience and depth is also apparent throughout the film. Seasoned actors such as Raisul Islam Asad, Wahida Mallick Jolly and Pijush Bandyopadhaya provide what’s expected of them but none of them have a major role in the film.
Chowdhury Joyit Afnan played the protagonist. The group of young actors also included Raihan Iftesham Chowdhury, Rifayet Zinnat, Faiyaz Bin Zia, Likhon Rahi, Kawsar Abedin and Kazi Raihan Rabbi.
L. Opu Rosario is the cinematographer of the film. Emon Saha directed the music. The editing of the film was done by Ratan Paul.
“Amar Bondhu Rashed” was released nationwide on April 1.
Subtitles:English [.idx & .sub]