In order to accurately depict a village on screen, filmmakers would often have to travel long distances to conduct a shoot. However, a small village in Pubail, Gazipur, has become a hub for shooting village-based dramas and movies.
The name of the village is Bhadun, and it has become a popular destination for filmmakers because of how close it is to Dhaka. The first shoot at the village happened almost twenty years ago, and it has been a popular shooting destination ever since. Today, Bhadun is known as the village of shooting.
Cameras are always actively operating in almost every house, and from the people of the village to even the cows, goats, ducks and chickens have all starred next to countless popular actors over the years.
How it all started
Late filmmaker Amjad Hossain first shot his drama 'Agun Laga Sandhya' in this village. Since then, word about the place spread within the filmmaker community.
Popular drama series such as 'Sakin Sarisuri', 'Ronger Manush', 'Sonar Kathi Rupar Kathi' were filmed here under the direction of Salahuddin Lavlu.
At the very beginning, there were no shooting houses. But the demand from directors increased, and so did the provisions and services.
There was only one shooting house until 2006. Now there are ten in that very place. But these houses are not made from bricks, rather these are village houses made from earth, tin and wood. Next to the houses are ponds, hen houses, cow barns, trees, and porches.
The owners of these shooting houses mostly belong to the filmmaking community. They either own the property, or are running their business on leased land. Some of the houses are also rented out by local people.
Mohammad Ali Bashir, the owner of the production company Telehome, has a shooting house in the village. Actor Shamim Zaman rents a house for shooting here as well.
Popular actor Azizul Hakim said, "I have been shooting in this village for almost 20 years now. Initially the local people had no experience of observing a shoot, but they have become more and more accustomed to it over the years. They have become one of us."
A shoot at every corner
After visiting Pubail last week, we saw director Rajib Moni Das shooting a seven-episode Eid drama 'Biyain Saab' at Shamim Zaman's house. The cast included Farzana, Tanin Tanha, Rashed Mamun Apu, Tareq Swapan, and Akhm Hasan, amongst others.
Actress Farzana said, "People in the area have become so accustomed to filming. Nobody flocks around shoots anymore. The village is also quite secluded. You can comfortably film here."
Director Shokal Ahmed was also seen shooting at Choter Aga in the village. He was filming a series called 'Sarkar and Sons'; starring Azizul Hakim, Shahnaz Khushi and Pran Roy; set to be telecasted on Maasranga Television.
Pran Roy shared his thoughts about Bhadun village. He said, "My village home is at Bagerhat but I rarely visit there. I have been coming here for many years. This village has become very close to my heart."
Everything is up for rent
Different houses have varying rates of rent. The rent for a house can range between Tk. 4,000 to Tk. 10,000 per day. As a manager of one of the houses explained, the rent depends on how beautiful the house is as well as the facilities available; air conditioning, cleanliness, props, generator power backup.
However, everything one might need to shoot a film is available at the village. Starting from the people to cows, ducks, chickens, pots, pans, sarees, bowls, bangles, to even brooms; everything is available for hire.
These things were initially available for free at the beginning, local people were happy to facilitate a shoot. But as the demand grew, and crews need more and more things, the villagers started renting out everything.
"You will get everything here, as long as you pay. It will cost you one thousand takas for you to rent a cow and Tk200 for a chicken. In many areas you will find local extras for free, but here you need to pay," explained Director Rajiv Moni Das.
"All in all, this village has become popular due to its proximity to Dhaka," he added.