Aranyo Anawer is a popular director who came to limelight by directing several dramas such as 'Nurul Huda Ekda Bhalo Besechilo' and 'Amader Nurul Huda'.
Recently he has started shooting for his first movie 'Maa'. The shooting is currently going on at a village in Kapasia of Gazipur on a set resembling a Pakistani army camp in 1971. He talked to The Business Standard sitting in that set.
The Business Standard (TBS): 'Maa' is your first film. Tell us about it.
Aranyo Anawer: Actually, I was supposed to make my first film eleven years ago. All the preparations had been completed back then. But things didn't go as planned.
Shabnur, who was the actress for my film at the time, refused to shoot without 35 millimeters. Because of this, the film was eventually shelved. Ironically, 35 millimeters are not used anywhere nowadays. Everything is digital now. For instance, I'm shooting with an Alexa camera.
Moving to the film. The film 'Maa' is centered around a child. A baby is dead but his mother refuses to believe or accept it. Meanwhile, a war is going on in the country.
The villagers prepare to bury the child, but the mother will not let them bury him. All these create a complication. The story of our film revolves around this complexity in the context of the liberation war.
TBS: What character is Pori Moni playing in the film?
Aranyo: Pori Moni plays the role of a mother.
TBS: Why did you pick Pori Moni to play this role?
Aranyo: I have developed a lot of respect for Pori Moni after the Boat Club incident. Before that, I had no idea about Pori Moni. The way she spoke up and fought back greatly increased my respect for her. Not as a heroine or an actress, the courage she has shown to hold her ground against a highly influential group of people has made me very respectful of her.
Then, when she went to jail, the reaction I saw in people also contributed to that respect. But before that, I had talked to Runa Khan, Nowshaba, and Arsha, about this character. But finally, we selected Pori Moni for the role.
TBS: You have been making dramas for a long time. Do you feel the language of dramas and films are different?
Aranyo: I thought of the movie as a drama. But when I started shooting it, I realised it was completely different. I am learning now. I am learning from my cameraman, set designer, line producer, everyone.
TBS: When are you planning to release the film?
Aranyo: One part of the film is being shot now. Another part will be shot in January. Pori Moni will take part in the shooting at that time. We will start editing after that.
Then, we have some complicated work to do. A set for a bridge from 1970 needs to be built. We will blow off the bridge, as well as this army camp, ultimately, in the movie.
TBS: Who will be playing the other characters in the film?
Aranyo: Well, we cast a number of quality actors. Pori Moni is playing the character of the mother. Shahadat Hossain is playing the role of her father-in-law. He is a doctor. He treats everyone in the village. When the Pakistani army made camps in the village, he was given the task to treat patients by the army.
There is a character called Mominul Hujur, who is a Razakar. Saju Khadem is playing that part. He has three wives, Momena Chowdhury is his first wife, Robena Reza Jui is his second wife, and Labanya Chowdhury will play his third wife. Abul Kalam Azad is playing the role of a Major of the Pakistan Army.
TBS: Should we call it a film about the liberation war or a film about the struggles of a mother?
Aranyo: Neither. This is actually a film about Bangladesh. Bangladesh of that time will be shown in this film. We have brought out the real scenario of that time through the character of the child.
TBS: As far as I know, you also wrote the screenplay for the film. Who is producing it and what is the budget of the film?
Aranyo: The story is mine. And my friend Pulak Kanti Borua and I are the producers. At first, we thought it would be possible to make the film with around 50 to 60 lakh takas. But after starting shooting, we think the budget will be more than one crore.