Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who is directing the biopic of the Father of our nation, shares details of his meetings with PM Sheikh Hasina and his journey of encapsulating the multiple layers of Bangabandhu's life into a film.
The highly anticipated biopic "Mujib: The Making of a Nation" is a joint venture of Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) and India's National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
Shyam Benegal had multiple conversations with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to get a clear picture of Bangabandhu's life.
"We had few dinner meetings in which she would talk about Mujib like the way a daughter talks about her father. There are several references that we have on the charismatic personality he was as a leader of a nation but I have got a great deal of understanding on how he was at home, with his family, his special bonding with his daughter. It really helped all of us to get a mental picture of the personality," Benegal told during a conversation with IANS.
The 87 year old director also reveals how he became a part of this project.
"It was a part of the cultural treaty between two countries, India and Bangladesh, where a film on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was offered to be made by our Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi to Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina. She happily agreed. They suggested a couple of names of filmmakers to helm the film and one of the suggestions was that of my name."
"When I was asked if I would like to make a film on Bangabandhu, I jumped at the idea because I believe that he was one of the exciting personalities of that time in our subcontinent. If we look at his journey, the story is really extraordinary, very powerful and deeply tragic at the same time."
"Perhaps that was one of the challenges yet exciting elements for a filmmaker to encapsulate different elements of his life into a film," added the Dada Saheb Phalke award winning director.
The script of the film is co-written by veteran screenplay writer Shama Zaidi and Atul Tiwari. They shared that PM Sheikh Hasina did not make any changes to the script except a few for the accuracy of information.
While explaining what he discovered about Bangabandhu while doing extensive research for the film, Shyam Benegal said, "I think he really was a very passionate man and he gathered all his strength from the love of his country, I mean he was the founder of a nation. We can see how the love that he got from people, resulted in the formation of a new country."
"But his weakness was also that he loved that country too much, he trusted some people, too much. So, eventually what happened to him, was a result of some of those people who betrayed his trust. They conspired against him...it's like a Shakespearean character existed in reality, isn't it?" he added.
Alongside starring Arifin Shuvoo as Bangabandhu, the film also stars Nusrat Imrose Tisha as Bangabandhu's wife Sheikh Fazilatunnessa Mujib, Nusraat Faria Mazhar as Sheikh Hasina, Riaz Ahmed as Tajuddin Ahmed, and Elina Shammi as Khaleda Zia among others