The web film Janowar was released on January 14 on the domestic OTT platform Cinematic. Directed by Raihan Rafi, the film is based on a tragic incident that took place in Gazipur amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The film did not cast any megastar. But the actors who appeared in it have done their best to make it one of the best releases of this year, so far. It has already caused a stir among the viewers.
Watch the trailer of "Janowar" here
Raihan Rafi told The Business Standard about the background stories of making Janowar.
"The world was stuck in a stillness due to Covid-19. At that time, the only thing that we had to do was watching the news of the pandemic on television sitting at home. One day, I was shocked to see a news. Four members of a family were raped and killed. I find the news horrifying. I followed the news. The killers were arrested in three or four days," said Rafi.
He said, "Our problem is that if something happens, we remember it for two or three days, then we forget. But Gazipur is my hometown. So, I could connect myself with the incident easily. That's why I planned to do something based on the incident."
Last year, Raihan Rafi made a short film Oxygen and released it during the Eid. He started planning with the Janowar before releasing it. He said the name Janowar came to his mind because he thought those who were involved in Gazipur murder are nothing but animals.
"At that time, I talked with the production company Live Technology. I made the big budget film Poran with them. But they could not release that due to Covid-19. For this reason, they asked me to create a content for them. Then I planned to make Janowar," said Raihan.
Before the contract with Live Technology, Rafi stipulated that he would decide on casting and there will be no stars in the film. The company agreed as they trusted Rafi's talent.
Rafi and his team started working on the project. He started writing the screenplay. One day he visited Gazipur, where the murder took place, and talked with the eyewitnesses. He also visited Kashimpur jail to meet the accused. Casting also began. He especially looked for theatre actors and those who do not generally play big roles in dramas or movies.
However, he faced problems in casting for the role of the baby girl. He had to interview at least 50 girls to find this cast.
Rafi said, "How can I describe rape to such a little girl? How can I tell her that another girl like her has been raped? Later, I found Aritra. I told her mother first. Then I explained to the girl. The girl already knew acting. It was an advantage."
The cast rehearsed for two or three weeks in a row in Raihan's Aftab Nagar office. He wanted to take a lot of one-take shots, that's why rehearsal was necessary. The advantage of one-take shots is that it gives a feeling to the viewers that the event is happening in front of them.
The shooting started after the rehearsal. The shooting was set at a house in Uttara. The whole house was painted before the shooting. Like that house in Gazipur, all the furniture was bought and arranged in the same way. But Rafi did not like the colour of the house. So, it was repainted.
The shooting started in a room which was lighted properly. But there was a problem that other rooms of the house were not lighted accordingly. Then how it would be possible for the actors to run from one room to another during the shooting? As a result, the shooting was stopped again. Lighting was done inside the whole house in one day. Then the shooting restarted.
Rafi said that after lighting the whole house, the artists got freedom. But we didn't do final shooting that day. We shot with a normal camera, much like the last rehearsal. After that we identified the mistakes and started final shooting from the next day.
There was a condition that the artists would not go back to their homes before the whole work was done because that would force them to get out of their characters psychologically. They agreed. They stayed in the house for 10 days.
Rafi said, "Sometimes the actors cried loudly while shooting because of the emotional attachment they felt with their respective characters. Because most of the actors have a little girl in their families. That's when we get confident that it's going to be something special. After the shooting, everyone went into a state of mental trauma."
"After finishing the work, I let Sandhi to do the music. He was the first viewer of my movie. He called me and cried," said the director.
Rafi did not reveal the budget of the film. He said the film did not have the option to spend a lot of money as there were no stars in the casting and the shooting took place in a certain house.
"But I make movies on a big budget. But its budget was not so high. All I can say is that the movie has already earned three times the cost. It was possible because of our viewers. I express my gratitude to the viewers as well as to the authorities of the Cinematic app," said Rafi.