When the West Pakistani forces first entered East Pakistan in 1971, nobody knew if the latter would survive an unfair war. However, nine months later, the Mukti Bahini rose from the ashes bearing the victory that gave birth to the sovereign state of Bangladesh.
Dubbed as one of the most violent wars of the 20th century, the Liberation War of 1971 witnessed large-scale atrocities, the exodus of 10 million refugees and the killing of three million people by the Pakistani armed forces.
To preserve the memories of the resistance, sacrifices and hardships, numerous films have been made based on the Liberation War and sacrifices of the Mukti Bahini.
On this glorious day that marks the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's victory over the barbaric and heinous crimes the Pakistani military forces committed against Bangladesh, The Business Standard has gathered some of the country's beloved media personalities who talked about the Liberation War films that have touched their hearts.
Suborna Mustafa, Veteran Actor/Member of Parliament
"If I had to choose among my most favourite Liberation War films, I would choose two movies for two different reasons.
"Ora Egaro Jon" is an all time favourite which is also the first Liberation War film released after independence. The emotions and feelings reflected in this film are raw and fresh. It is a movie that embodies the War for me.
And from recent times 'Guerrilla' is my favourite because of its authenticity. This movie was made a long time after 1971 yet it kept the War's authenticity intact. The set, storyline and acting consists of really strong content.
The film depicted scenes and situations we are already familiar with. From the colour and structure of the train to showcasing the streetlife of Old Dhaka, everything felt real. Most Liberation War movies only show a freedom fighter wearing a pair of pants with a double-barrelled gun in his hand and fighting for freedom. This does not work for me. During the war, most freedom fighters did not wear pants. So 'Guerrilla' is special for me due to its authenticity to the reality of the War."
Rafiath Rashid Mithila, Actor/Development Worker
"'Aguner Poroshmoni' is that one Liberation War movie that does it all for me. I loved how this movie portrayed the Liberation War experience through the eyes of a middle-class Bangladeshi family.
As a child, I connected with the narrative on a soulful level. And I remember crying a lot. Asaduzzaman Noor and Abul Hayat are two of my all-time favourite actors and so is Bipasha Hayat."
Sakib Bin Rashid, Educator/Social Media Influencer
"I have two favourite Liberation War movies as it is difficult to choose just one. The first is 'Aguner Poroshmoni'. It holds a special nostalgic factor for me. I remember watching it as a child and crying a lot because it felt so real. This movie has a fear factor. Its intensity shakes you to the core and the ending is bound to make you cry.
The second one is 'Shyamol Chaya', which is an entirely different kind of a film - very cinematic. The storyline seems to be moving spontaneously and a lot of things happen within a very short span of time. We get to meet a wide range of characters and the growth of each character is brilliantly portrayed. We see Riaz as a very feeble 'Maulana' but eventually he gathers courage to save a girl against the razakars.
This movie takes a lot of unexpected turns. Late Humayun Faridi's character was outstanding as well. My most favourite part in this movie is how the characters' growth is shown in a different and interesting light."
Shihab Shaheen, Director
"I have two favourite Liberation War movies. The first one, for nostalgic reasons, is 'Jibon Theke Neya'. Although this movie was made before the Liberation War, it still managed to metaphorise our War within a movie through the lens of a family under autocratic rule. In this sense, 'Jibon Theke Neya' was a movie ahead of its time which I consider as a forerunner of 16 December 1971.
Another favourite movie of mine that was made on time and purely based on the Liberation War is 'Abar Tora Manush Ho'. The movie was made in 1973. Back then I was a child and I used to see posters that read "submit your arms". I had no idea what it meant.
Once older, I finally watched the movie and understood what those posters meant - it was a call to the freedom fighters to surrender their guns because why would the people of an independent country need guns?
Bangladesh did not need arms anymore. The independent Bangladesh needed people who left the barbarity of the war behind to become human beings again. This movie will always be on the top of my head because of those posters."