Heartwarming stories from the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War would come alive on celluloid at the Kolkata Film Festival (KFF) here.
Guerrilla and Meherjaan - two recent Bangladeshi films which take different stands on the events of the war would be screened at the festival, which kicks off today.
Directed by Rubaiyat Hossain, Meherjaan, which stars Victor Banerjee and Jaya Bachchan in lead roles along with some Bangladeshi and Pakistani actors, has courted fierce controversies ever since its release forcing the distributors to withdraw the film from theatres in the neighbouring country.
The "unofficially banned" film, which is about a Bangladeshi woman's love affair with a Pakistani soldier during the 1971 war, critiques certain pitfalls of nationalism that create conditions to justify war, killing and violence.
"The purpose of Meherjaan is to break the glorious narrative of national history and open up a modest avenue to explore perhaps, not only one or two, but multiple narratives of war," says debutante director Hossain.
On the contrary, Nasiruddin Yousuff's Guerrilla is a delicate, artistic rendition in moving images of the heroic deeds of the liberation war's valiant freedom fighters on an epic canvas.
During the nine month long war, lakhs of people were killed in East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh.
All films made in Bangladesh on the Liberation War have so far been presented in a narrative that set the pro-Liberation War forces on one side and anti-Liberation elements on the other.
Meherjaan, which will be screened this Saturday in KFF, however, remains a controversial exception.
A section of the intellectuals and freedom fighters in Bangladesh had flaked the film for allegedly distorting the country's independence war and humiliating the freedom fighters and 'Biranganas' (Bangladeshi women who were raped by occupation Pakistani troops during the Liberation War).
The film has however received critical appreciation and even awards at various film festivals like Moondance International Film Festival and Silent River Film Festival.
Guerrilla, on the other hand, is regarded as one of the best Bangladeshi movies ever made on the history of liberation and has even achieved box-office success.
The film is based on Syed Shamsul Haq's novel Nishiddho Loban and the director's personal war-time experiences as a freedom fighter.
Released in April this year, it narrates the gripping tale of Bilkis whose husband disappears as the Liberation War breaks out. As the war progresses, Bilkis finds herself being drawn to the freedom movement. She starts actively collaborating with the freedom fighters, hoping for the safe return of her husband.
B'desh Liberation War to Come Alive at Kolkata Film Fest
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