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Controversial film to be screened in B'desh

Film Matir Moina, which bagged the Cannes award in 2002, initially faced an embargo in Bangladesh.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 13:32 IST

It was being showered with accolades at the 2002 Cannes film festival, bagging the International Critics Award.

Back home, in Bangladesh, film Matir Moina (Clay Bird) faced an embargo on its screening. Reason— it hurt the Islamic sentiments of people.

"I have not attempted to lambast Islam through the movie. Rather, the film conveys a message of harmony, tolerance and egalitarianism. It reflects the popular salad bowl culture," explains Tareque Masud, the Bangladeshi director of the film.

"I was extremely elated when my film was awarded at the Cannes as it was the first Bangladeshi movie to get an honour in the international forum. But I was saddened at the same time as people of my country could not watch it," he says.

"But finally the Film Censor Board of Bangladesh gave its nod to screen the film after over a year's struggle".

An autobiographical first feature, set against the backdrop of the turbulent period of late '60s, Matir Moina reflects Tareque's childhood, his silent suffering.

"It is a part of my life. I was sent to a madrassa at the age of seven by my father, who was very much an Englishman. But he suddenly turned religious and even put my mother in a 'purda'. And this action of my father led to the agony and suffering of my mother who lost her only daughter," Tareque recalls.

The film goes on to show how the boy loses his younger sister because of his father's rigid nature and his close friend.

About the growing fundamentalism, Tareque says, "The situation is all the more same throughout the world. In today's context, Matir Moina is extremely relevant as it sends the message of harmony and tolerance".

"In Bangladesh, even commercial movies are not allowed for screening in villages due to extremist threat. But in this film, I have shown how Sufism can act as a protective umbrella for the country to save it from heading towards fundamentalism."

Interestingly, the next venture by the film producer will be a sequel to Matir Moina.

"Call it a sequel or prequel. It will be on my father - what made him change from an English gentleman to a religious orthodox. I have collected his life history and will give it the shape of a film which will hopefully be ready by next year."

"One great thing that I could achieve through this film was a wonderful communication with my father when he himself watched it," exults Tareque.

The film had a special screening on the occasion of India-Bangladesh dialogue on media and culture.

Co-produced by Tareque and Catherine Masud, Tareque's US-based wife, the film is slated to be released in Delhi and Mumbai in the coming days.