The film "Password" that stars Shakib Khan in the lead role was released in cinema halls on the occasion of the Eid-ul-Fitr this year. Shakib is also one of the producers of the film.
Before the film's release, director Malek Afsari announced Tk10 lakh reward if anybody could prove that the film was a duplicate. However, a stir was created on social media after the release of the film. The news surfaced that "Password" was a copy of a Korean film "Target". Later, all concerned including the producer and the director admitted to the copying.
Confirming that the film was a copy, its screenplay writer Abdullah Zahir Babu claimed that most of the screenplays of Bangla movies are copied from other movies.
Abdullah Zahir Babu has been writing screenplays regularly for more than two decades. The Business Standard talked to him at his Baridhara residence a few days ago. In the interview, he frankly talked about the present situation of Bangladeshi cinema, and his writings.
Babu is often trolled on social media. He becomes the target of attack for the audience for copying screenplays of cinema, even though, on many occasions, he admitted to writing screenplays by copying other films.
At the start of the conversation, he said he also goes through all trolls on him. Babu said, "In our country, bad news spread fast and far rather than good works. This is why I am scolded. But if only one side is scolded two things happen. On the one side, he gets marketing value, and on the other hand, his creative thinking is hindered. In our country, those who hurl insults do so without seeing and understanding many things. They might not have insulted me if they knew the whole thing."
Abdullah Zahir Babu started writing screenplays in 1993. His first screenplay was Salman Shah starrer "Tumi Amar". Babu has so far written screenplays for 286 films and, according to him, 70 percent of those screenplay ideas are stolen from other movies.
He said, "I do not have a subject for writing screenplay. And it is not that the audience will like it if one writes an original story — most of the time they dislike. We work on a commercial basis- for money."
On making copied cinema, he said, "I don't want to do that. I am made to do that. I do what I am told to do. Let me give an example. Manna starrer "Shanto Keno Mastan" is a hit cinema, the screenplay of which is written by me. After the film got success in the box office, at least ten directors came to me with the request of making "another Shanto Keno Mastan" for them. Is it possible?"
"Again the film "Swami Strir Juddho" was a copy of the Hindi film "Laadla," he said.
Babu went on to say that nowadays directors go to screenplay writers with a story -- may be that of a Tamil or Hindi film.
"One director also approached me with a Korean film. He wanted an exact copy of that film," Babu said adding, "I don't want to copy, I am compelled to do so. I have nothing to do in this regard."
Asked whether the producers understand the storyline well Babu said not all, but some producers understand this very well. He mentioned the names of Taposhi Faruq, Abdul Aziz, Kamal Mohammad Kibria Lipu and said apart from understanding the storyline very well, these producers also understand the business well.
On his work, Babu said, "I can guess the status of a producer when I meet them. On many occasions, I tell them the storyline as per their taste, likings, and demand. I have made money from filmdom as I understand this. I have married off my sister with the money I earned from the film industry. I have also spent this money to raise my son and daughter. The film is in my blood".
Abdullah Zahir Babu's father Zahirul Haque is a film director. Not only the screenplay, if a producer comes to Babu he can be assured about the whole cinema. From finalizing actors to releasing the film - Babu takes care of it all.
Babu does this because he says, there is a dearth of professional producers in the industry. "Most of those who come to me are new. They do not understand many things related to cinema. This is why I cooperate with them," he said. "Jaaz Multimedia has come so far as a production house with our cooperation. Jaaz has indeed matured over time," he added.
Babu said nowadays people come to produce films either from the passion they had about cinema in their childhood or for glamour.
However, Babu is hopeful that good days will return gradually. The film industry will start thriving soon, he hoped.