The HoiChoi web series 'Kaiser' has become the talk of the town for many reasons, one of which is its unique storyline centring around a detective living in the enigmatic city of Dhaka.
When compared to other Bangladeshi detective dramas, the script stood out effectively by addressing under-explored areas of the genre, like showing the grounded side of detective work.
Ayman Asib Shadhin, a 26-year-old film buff, is the scriptwriter of Kaiser. Besides screenplay and dialogue, he has also co-written the story with Abdul Qaiyum Leon and Tanim Noor.
He recently graduated in Development Studies from the University of Dhaka, and has been passionate about filmmaking from a very young age. The Business Standard reached out to Shadhin to learn more about his journey in this industry and his experience working on Kaiser.
"I have been working officially in the filmmaking industry since 2020. From my childhood, I was determined to be a part of it. Back then, when I figured out there's a part called script writing in the movies, and I had a knack for writing, I made up my mind to work as a screenwriter. Afterwards, I used to read every movie script I found to learn every aspect of the craft."
At the young age of seven, while reading Kakababu, Byomkesh and Feluda with his brother, he started to gain an interest in writing detective stories. His writing prowess grew over time as he began to write movie reviews and while being an undergraduate student, his first book called 'Cine-loid' with Arif Mahmud was published in which his love for cinema is self-evident.
When asked why he didn't pursue filmmaking as a degree, Shadhin shared, "For me, filmmaking is a skill that I never wanted to learn through the traditional curriculum, but through real-life experiences. When I worked with the directors and other film crews, I learned about intricate details that helped me become who I am today."
With aplomb, he bagged some extraordinary projects for his portfolio like 'Mainkar Chipay' (2020), Contract (2021), 'Ei Muhurte' (2022) and Kaiser (2022). Among them, Kaiser has recently drawn the attention of cinephiles, which took him half a year to develop. We asked about the inspiration behind that.
"Whenever we think about our favourite Bangali detective, only West Bengal-based characters pop into our mind. The director of Kaiser, Tanim Noor always wanted to introduce a local, Dhaka-based detective whose story will be different from the conventional ones, because it would show the reality of our administration. So while working with Tanim Noor for Contract in 2021, we discussed a potential murder mystery plot and started working on it."
He added, "What differentiates Kaiser is that we introduced an urban middle-class detective, whose world is similar to many of us. Also, we focused on exploring the personal life of a detective. We analysed it so much that Kaiser turned out to be a series with the elements of drama-mystery-comedy-thriller, but mostly a mystery-drama."
Kaiser is Shadhin's second time working with the popular actor Afran Nisho. Shadhin shared his experience working with the star and how Afran Nisho did a great job playing the titular role of Kaiser Chowdhury.
"It's been 10 years since I stopped watching Bangla dramas and unfortunately Afran Nisho started to become a heartthrob within that time frame. Nonetheless, when he learned about this, he took it very positively. He liked that the young man who was writing the script was unbiased toward him. So with enthusiasm, he showed me his strong side and his best work, to earn my trust."
The ease in this relationship helped Shadhin to frankly share the character's demands with the actor which helped to round out Kaiser better.
Shadin also said, "Given the circumstances of our industry it was quite refreshing that a superstar like Afran Nisho understood our position and limitations and worked relentlessly for two months. During that time he did not work on other dramas, which was quite unprecedented. It proves he was equally enthusiastic to play the role of Kaiser and we can see that zeal on screen."
Shadhin is currently working at a production house called Film Syndicate which produced Taqdeer, Unloukik, Kaiser etc. He has also been working on some undisclosed projects.
Shadhin concluded by saying, "It's a great time for cinephiles to be involved in the industry. Anyone holding any level of expertise related to filmmaking has better opportunities to flourish today."