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Bangabandhu biopic director Shyam Benegal puzzled by criticism of trailer

  • Glitz Correspondent,
    Published: 2022-05-22 21:08:38 BdST

The director of the Bangabandhu biopic Shyam Benegal says he is finding it difficult to grasp the harsh criticism on social media over the quality of the recently-released trailer.

“I just got a message that there have been some comments. It is very difficult for me to guess why they are upset. I will check once I reach office on Monday,” Indian newspaper The Telegraph quoted Benegal as saying on Saturday.

The maker of ‘Mujib: Maker of a Nation’ said he rather thought the release of the trailer at the Cannes Film Festival went very well.

Bangladesh Information Minister Hasan Mahmud was present at the ceremony to mark the release of the trailer. The film, co-produced by India and Bangladesh, depicts the life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Some noted film critics and professionals in the Dhaka film industry took to social media to express their utter disappointment about the quality of the trailer on social media.

They even doubted whether Bengal, an iconic figure in the world of indie and parallel cinemas, has the capability to lay out the real image of Bangabandhu on the big screen.

Lyricist Prince Mahmud wrote: “…Not sure what to say. Such poor VFX for such a mega-budgeted cinema! I liked Shuvoo [Arifin Shuvoo, who is playing the role of Bangabandhu], but not too sure about the hair settings, depicting a matured Bangabandhu, and his [Shuvoo’s] dialogue throwing. The director must dub Shuvoo’s voice again. Bangabandhu is a much bigger figure for us than any so-called iconic filmmaker. A biopic about Bangabandhu must be like Bangabandhu.”

Benegal told The Telegraph that he preferred the entire cast was from Bangladesh because of the difference in pronunciation between people from West Bengal and Bangladesh.

“Bengalis [in Bangladesh] pride themselves on their language. All of that is there in the film. That is why I had taken only Bangladesh actors as they would feel much closer to Mujib,” he said.

Bangladeshi filmmaker and producer Josim Ahmed wrote: “You [Benegal] came up with such shoddy VFX work and green screen lighting effect after spending Tk 1.2 billion? I am embarrassed today to say that I once considered you as my idol,”

Benegal is not unfamiliar with controversy though. He landed in court after making Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s biopic, in which some critics claimed the veteran filmmaker had incorporated some historical inaccuracy.

In the Bangabandhu biopic’s case, however, Benegal said he had not foreseen any controversy coming since the film’s trailer describes Bangabandhu as a “devoted family man” and has some scenes of him interacting with family members.

Benegal pointed out that the full feature film is yet to be released.

“You cannot pass a comment on a film by seeing a 90-second trailer. You can comment on just the trailer,” he said.

The 87-year-old filmmaker has won multiple India’s National Film Awards in a career which spanned over five decades. In 2005, he was accorded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest film honour.