- Aziz's company Jaaz Multimedia announced making three new films on Friday
- One of the new films will cost Tk3.5 crore
- Janata Bank owes around Tk3,574 crore to Crescent Group, owned by Aziz and his family
- Aziz and his family accused in 4 cases over laundering Tk919 crore and 5 cases over embezzlement of Tk1,745 crore
- Shooting of Jaaz's movie "Masud Rana" will start in April
- Work for another movie based on Masud Rana has started
Abdul Aziz, owner of the movie production house Jaaz Multimedia, has been absconding since he was accused in cases filed over loan scams and money laundering in 2019, the company on 25 February announced plans of making three new films.
The state-owned Janata Bank owes around Tk3,574 crore to five companies of the Crescent Group, which is owned by Aziz and his family. The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) have filed cases against them for allegedly embezzling the money through various scams, including fake exports.
On 30 January, 2019, the CIID filed four cases against Abdul Aziz and his family members over laundering Tk919 crore abroad. The ACC has filed five cases against them, alleging embezzlement of Tk1,745 crore.
The CIID arrested Aziz's elder brother Kader, chairman of Crescent Leather Products Ltd and Crescent Tanneries Ltd, after filing the cases.
The court issued an arrest warrant against Aziz immediately after the cases were filed. He is apparently running his business from Canada, but the bank says it is not aware of his whereabouts.
When contacted on the afternoon of 1 March this year, a senior official of Janata Bank told The Business Standard, "We are trying to contact him (Aziz), but we cannot find any trace of him. He is not repaying the loan. This is the latest situation about him."
Meanwhile, on 27 February, Abdul Aziz claimed to TBS that he was now in Canada and would return to the country after a month and a half.
Asked about the amount of the loan his family had repaid, Aziz told TBS that they had "repaid some of the defaulted loans at a 2% rate" in the last few months, but he did not mention the actual amount. He also requested this reporter not to write about the matter.
Regarding making new films, Aziz said, "Jaaz will invest in movies from its own funds. Making films has no relation with any other organisation. Jaaz is an individual company, which is operating on its own. The budget of one of the three new movies I have announced is Tk3.5 crore. The budgets of the other two films have not been decided yet."
A post on Jaaz Multimedia's Facebook page about making three new films said that the company had signed a contract with a "newcomer" for these films. The names of the films, the protagonist and the director have already been finalised and will be released in due course. If the Covid-19 situation improves, this "new face" will be introduced to everyone through a glittering ceremony."
Meanwhile, Jaaz Multimedia recently claimed that work on the two films based on Bangladeshi spy thriller series Masud Rana had also got underway.
In July 2019, Abdul Aziz announced the production of "Masud Rana" at a cost of Tk83 crore. At the time, he claimed to be producing three films jointly with a Hollywood-based production company.
This announcement created a buzz in the country's film industry. At the time Jaaz Multimedia said that ABM Sumon would play the role of Masud Rana in the movies.
The movie was supposed to be shot in different countries of Europe, the Americas and Asia. The title song of the movie is in English. A Bangladeshi music composer has composed the title song.
ABM Sumon told TBS on 28 February, "I am preparing myself for acting. As far as I know, shooting will begin in May. Everything is fine. A large portion of the movie was supposed to be shot abroad, but it will not be done. That part will be shot in the country. We had to face this situation because of Covid-19."
Meanwhile, Alimullah Khokon, chief executive officer (CEO) of Jaaz Multimedia, told TBS, "Shooting of the movie 'Masud Rana' will start on 1 April. We are now taking last minute preparations."
According to Jaaz Multimedia, the film 'Masud Rana' will be made with joint funding by three companies, including the Hollywood-based production company Silverline. Jaaz Multimedia will be in charge of the film's production in Bangladesh and India, but it is investing very little in this film.
Apart from this, Jaaz Multimedia is producing another movie titled "Masud Rana," which is based on the book "Dhangsha Pahar" of the spy thriller series written by Qazi Anwar Hussain.. the movie is being directed by Saikat Nasir.
Jaaz Multimedia CEO Alimullah Khokon told TBS that the budget for the project was Tk3.5 crore and the work on the movie had started in the port city Chattogram from 28 February.
According to Abdul Aziz's announcement, Masud Rana will be directed by Asif Akbar, a Hollywood-based director of Bangladeshi descent. The film stars Hollywood actors like Mickey Rourke, Gabriella Wright, Daniel Bernhardt, Michael Paré and wrestling star The Great Khali.
Peter Field will be the director of photography for the Masud Rana films.
One big budget movie after another started to be made under the banner of Jaaz Multimedia, which emerged in 2011. The company was in full swing when it was getting loans from the state-owned Janata Bank. The company's filmmaking activities came to a halt in 2018 after the Crescent Group's scandal came to light.
Now working under new banner
Meanwhile, although the name of Jaaz Multimedia came in media reports as the production house of Masud Rana film, directed by Saikat Nasir, Seven Stars Films is actually producing the film.
An office order issued by the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation revealed Seven Stars Films as the movie's production company.
Abdul Aziz claimed that Seven Stars Films is a sister concern of Jaaz Multimedia. Earlier, it produced Jin, an upcoming Bangladeshi psycho-thriller film, and Desha: The Leader, which was released in 2014.
CEO of Jazz Multimedia Alimullah Khokon, who is now in charge of the production house, said Abdul Aziz has a partnership with Seven Stars Films but he has not.