A shooting unit of almost a hundred people is stuck mid-river in Khulna. The unit was shooting for a film titled 'Adventure of Sunderbans' directed by Abu Rayhan Jewel. The government-sanctioned film is based on a story by Muhammad Zafar Iqbal.
The shooting of the film started on March 14. A portion of the film was shot at the Sunderbans, but the unit got stuck on the way back as inland water transport across the country was suspended to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The shooting unit, as a result, got stranded and is unable to return home.
The shooting unit includes lead actors Pori Moni and Siyam Ahmed, and the director of production house BongoBD. The launch also houses child actors.
Director Abu Rayhan Jewel informed that passenger launch transport was suspended on March 24. "The shooting unit was heading back through Dacope upazila of Khulna on March 26. We were stopped by the Coast Guard on our way," Jewel said. The unit is stranded mid-river somewhere past Dacope.
The stranded unit has reported to already have spoken to the local authorities and received verbal permission to return to Dhaka. The launch is supposed to be on its way tomorrow.
Speaking to The Business Standard, Jewel informed that they still need a permit from Launch Owners Association since the launch has to head back after transporting the unit to Dhaka.
"We are waiting for the permit. Even if we start heading back now, it will take at least three days to return," he said.
"We are shooting miscellaneous footage while on the launch. But everyone is anxious and restless. We're spending our leisure playing games and having meals," Jewel added.
Due to the coronavirus situation, the shooting unit is being cautious. "We have arranged for masks and gloves for the food servers. Anyone going outside their cabins is also taking proper precautions. We are taking a doctor's advice regularly," the director stated.
A large chunk of the film was supposed to be shot at Khulna Ghat and Dhaka's Sadarghat but that is not possible given the situation, he informed. They are now focusing on getting the team home as soon as possible.
The crew will head back to the Sundarbans after the situation improves and the shutdown has been lifted. These factors are increasing the film's production cost. The director estimates an additional cost of Tk20 to Tk25 lakh will incur.
The film's lead actor Siyam Ahmed's birthday fell amid the turmoil and members of the shooting unit arranged a cake for him.
The film received sanctions under the name "Nosu Dakat Kupokat" in the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year. Later, the name was changed to "Adventure of Sunderbans". The film follows the storyline of Muhammad Zafar Iqbal's book "Ratuler Raat Ratuler Din". The film is being co-produced by BongoBD.