After the massive commercial success of “Poramon” (2013), which launched the acting careers of Mahiya Mahi and Saimon Sadik, Jaaz Multimedia scoured through countless scripts for a worthy sequel. With sky high expectations, a debutant director and a newcomer playing the female lead, “Poramon 2” is taking on a daunting challenge. Can they break the record set five years ago. The film’s leading lady Puja Chery, director Raihan Rafi and executive producer Afrina Moho share the never-before-told inside scoop of the much awaited Eid film with the Dhaka Tribune Showtime’s Sadia Khalid
Puja: It’s not a sequel. It can be called the second instalment of “Poramon.” They’re not alike. The protagonists carry the same name in both movies.
Rafi: It’s a new story. It was written as a love story, not as a sequel. When the producer found the script, he decided to give it that name. As “Poramon” was the biggest hit from Jaaz, he wanted to see if we could break that record with another love story.
It catapulted Saimon and Mahi into stardom. They wanted to make “Poramon 2” for a long time, but they didn’t find a suitable story.
Moho: It was our biggest hit. Back then when people saw the film, they cried. This story has the same heartbroken feel to it. When Rafi Bhai told me the story and asked if I’m going to work on this project or not, I could not control my tears. The story was so good. So we’re guessing after watching the movie, people will walk out of the hall crying. That is similarity between these two films.
Moho: Lets see.
Rafi: If “Poramon 2” does as well as “Poramon,” the producer might think about it. I can tell you this much, the Bangladeshi audience will get to see a conceptual romantic film after a long time. They won’t just cry; they’ll carry a message back with them - a trance that will make them think for days. It’s not a film that you can forget in an hour.
In the teaser trailer, we see that no one accepts the affair between the leads. However, it doesn’t explain why or to whom this love affair is so deplorable.
Puja: People need to go to the theatres to know these answers.
Rafi: We see the elder brother and the father having a hard time accepting the love affair. The rest of it you have to see for yourself. Siam’s character thinks of himself as a hero. He is a diehard fan of Salman Shah. He wants to become a film actor one day. It’s natural that no one wants to marry their daughter off to a groom like that. Audiences will get a unique presentation of a love story. We planned the story for one and a half years. We wanted to make sure everything is fresh.
Moho: This is the reason Jaaz Multimedia has been doing good in the industry. We believe we should always bring new things. The story and the presentation were entirely new as a pure commercial film.
Puja: We’ve been getting positive reactions from the audiences ever since we released the first poster. We then released a second and third poster, followed by the songs and the teaser trailer. We’re getting lots of praise. I am yet to receive any negative comment.
Moho: They really love the songs, they love Siam Ahmed and they loved Puja’s dancing.
Rafi: Our first song was about Salman Shah. For his fans, it’s huge to have someone make a song about him after so long. We tried to pay a tribute to him. To find the second song, we went to Mymensingh. We discovered a singer named Shah Alam Sarkar, who wrote and sang several famous songs. He wrote most of Momtaz’s songs. We brought him to the Jaaz office. But he couldn’t sing in the office.
Moho: He needed the environment to sing.
Rafi: He won’t just give you a song. He’ll sing many, we’ll record them all and select one from them. We liked “O He Shyam” and asked him where he found it. He said he heard his grandmother sing it. He doesn’t know who wrote it. Later, Emon Saha composed it. The hurdle we went through to resurrect this song, was very difficult. They don’t sing for money. They sing from the heart. There will be two more unreleased songs that the audience will experience for the first time when they see the film in the theatres.
Rafi: In Meherpur. We wanted to shoot at a location that people never saw before.
Moho: The story was so connected to the locations, I think we see the entire village in this film.
Rafi: The entire film was shot in Bangladesh.
Moho: Yes. In fact the technicians were also all from Bangladesh.
Rafi: Only the choreographer was from Bombay.
Moho: The costume designer (National Film Award winner for “Aynabaji”), the art director, the cinematographer, they were all from Bangladesh.
Moho: So many.
Rafi: We needed a house that will be on the bank of a river overlooking a bend. We found a bend, but there was no house in sight. Instead there was a pond that would take 18 trucks of land to fill. Our producers approved it. We could see the river, the mosque etc from that house we built on the pond.
Moho: It was monsoon when we shot the film. We had to cancel shooting for seven or eight days. One day, everyone was under a shade in the rain. I was at a loss what to do. We made a scene up right then and there. The director came up with a story, the DOP (director of photography) scouted for locations.
Rafi: It was a difficult shot.
Moho: The crowd was so co-operative even in the rain. They were constantly asking if we needed anything. They helped us out a lot throughout the film.
Rafi: It felt like a vacation in your grandparents’ home.
Puja: We worked really hard to make this film. Every day of the shooting was memorable. When we were shooting the third song “Chul Kore De Elomelo,” it was extremely cold. Everyone was wearing jackets. Only Siam and I were wearing summer clothes. Rafi Bhai entered the set wearing two or three jackets.
Puja: (laughs) He had gloves and a cap on. He had a really thick jacket on. Rafi Bhai, who treats me like a sister, how could he keep warm when we were shivering in the cold? We decided to not act till he takes off his jacket. At last, he gave in and took it off.
Rafi: 50 days. Some days were lost to rain and fog. It was my first film. I had never even made a TV drama. I went from short film to feature film.
Rafi: Not really. I was given the best technicians. Siam and Puja understood all my instructions really well. It was as if they could read my mind.
Moho: We had three months of workshops during pre-production.
Moho: When we have actors from both Banglas, we can consider both the regions as our market. It depends on how popular the actors are. Puja gained some popularity in Kolkata with “Noor Jahan.” Shakib Khan is also doing great there. Kolkata audiences have accepted our actors.
Moho: The audience response was amazing. When we released “Agnee,” it reached every single part of Bangladesh. Mahia Mahi’s fanfare was huge.