Tareque Masud left a mark on Bangladeshi film making that will be a point of reference for future Bangladeshi filmmakers. His in depth portrayal of the rural experience, as well as his sharp eye for detecting everyday struggles of the common people are the reasons why he will be remembered not just to art and cinema enthusiasts, but to all people. On the 6th death anniversary of the talented director we list the synopsis of the feature length films and documentaries that he made before his tragic passing in a horrific road accident on August 13, 2011.
The story of the film centers on the youth Ruhul, who lives with his family in a small hut next to the runway of an airport. His mother Rahima struggles to support the family by selling milk from a cow bought with a micro credit loan. His sister Fatima works long hours in a garments factory. There’s been no word from their father for over a month, since he left for a job in the Middle East. A madrasa dropout, Ruhul spends his days wandering under the shadow of the planes, aimless and frustrated in his futile efforts to find work. One day at a cyber-cafe he meets Arif, a computer savvy young man who exudes confidence and a sense of purpose. The world Arif introduces him to seem inspiring and new, but eventually Ruhul’s life spirals into a nefarious netherworld of intolerance, violence and ultimately, death.
A mother and her son return to their home in Sylhet, Bangladesh after 15 years abroad and try to retrace their roots. After 15 years abroad, Shireen and her son Sohel return to Bangladesh to attend the memorial service for Sohel’s father. After getting a divorce when Sohel was five years old, Shireen had fled to the UK and cut off all communication with her ex-husband. This included allowing Sohel to visit Bangladesh or communicate with his father in any way.
Bangladesh is not like Shireen remembers, and Sohel is experiencing it for the first time. As Sohel discovers the family that he never knew, Shireen is forced to confront her past and the decisions she made all those years before.
Matir moina (The Clay Bird) (2002)
When Kazi becomes a conservative Muslim, he opts to send his son, Anu, to an Islamic school in order to shelter him from the worldly influences of the 1960s. Meanwhile, Anu’s thoughtful mother, Ayesha, who isn’t inclined toward zealotry, handles the changes in stride. As the country heads into turmoil, the rigid beliefs that Kazi adheres to and his son tries to understand may have a lasting impact on the family.
A Kind of Childhood (2002)
It is a documentary filmed over six years about working children in Bangladesh. Idris is one of thousands of children who earn their living on the busy streets of Dhaka. Although he had to work from an early age to support his ailing father, he tries to hold onto his dream of an education, even while working long hours as an assistant on a public transportation vehicle. When circumstances force him to drop out of school, his desire for an education is replaced by new dreams of urban success. Eventually, the harsh realities of city life begin to close in on Idris, forcing him to reconsider his goals as he enters adulthood.
Muktir Kotha (Words of Freedom) (1999)
The film follows a group of projectionists who traveled throughout Bangladesh from 1996-1999, showing Muktir Gaan, a documentary film on the ‘71 Bangladesh Liberation War by Tareque and Catherine Masud, who are also the directors of Muktir Kotha. The film screenings prompted ordinary villagers to share their own stories of wartime suffering and resistance, which is the subject of this film. Often the projection space would be spontaneously transformed into a folk concert. Through these interactions with village audiences, the young projectionist came to ‘relearn’ the wider history of the Liberation War, and the continuing struggle of ordinary people for a more just and democratic society.
Muktir Gaan (1995)
During the Liberation War of Bangladsh in 1971, a cultural troupe, named ‘Bangladesh Mukti Shangrami Shilpi Shangstha’ (‘Association of Liberation Fighters (Artists) of Bagladesh’) used to travel to refugee camps and different places in liberated areas (also known as ‘Mukta Anchal’). They performed patriotic songs, arranged puppet shows and staged dramas to inspire the freedom fighters and lift the spirit of war affected people. In Muktir Gaan (1995), Tareque Masud and Catherine Masud used original footage shot by American film-maker Lear Levin, as well as other archival footage collected from United Kingdom and India.
Adam Surat (The Inner Strength) (1989)
Adam Surat is the first film directed by Tareque Masud. It is a documentary about Bangladeshi painter Sheikh Mohammed Sultan (aka SM Sultan). Masud started the film in 1982 and completed filming after seven years.
Kagojer Phool (The Paper Flower)
Kagojer Phool is an unfinished film by Tareque Masud and Catherine Masud. The film is based on the life of Tareque Masud’s father. The film is actually a prequel to Matir Moina released in 2002. It is set against the backdrop of unrest in East Pakistan in the late 1960s leading up to the Bangladesh War of Liberation. Kagojer Phool, would follow a younger Kazi, the main character of Matir Moina (based on Masud’s father) and zoom in on his years in Calcutta (now Kolkata) from 1945 to ’47. The film would show how Kazi’s character was shaped by the riots in Calcutta and partition of Bengal. Tareque Masud and renowned broadcast journalist and photography director Mishuk Munier died in the road accident when returning to Dhaka from Manikganj after visiting the filming location of Kagojer Phool.