Every year, book lovers from all over the country flock together at Shahbag to replenish their stock of brand new books. A cheerful crowd wearing flower crowns and exotic Bengali clothes swarm the vicinity of Bangla Academy and Suhrawardi Udyan. The book fair never fails to erect a few stalls dedicated to film lovers. Books on screenplays, cinematography, film history and such can always be detected lurking in some corner of the fair.
This year was no exception. Many TV channels had their separate stalls, but only a few displayed books. The Information Ministry’s Department of Films and Publications (DFP) had their individual booth, but to the dismay of many, it didn’t contain any film related publications. However, the Bangladesh Film Archive stall, from the same ministry, didn’t disappoint. Besides hosting their annual “Bangladesh Film Archive Journal,” they had an impressive collection of well researched books. A lot of those books were on the promotional materials of films, like “Bangladesher Cholochitro Posterer Biborton” by Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain and Tania Sultana and “Bangladesher Cinemar Banner Painting” by artist Shawon Akand.
“Cinema Posters (1956-1986),” published by Bangladesh Film Archive, was one of the truly outstanding coffee table books at that stall. It’s the perfect collectable item for all Bangladeshi film enthusiasts. Edited by Dr. Mohammad Jahangir Hossain and Md. Jahangir Hossain, the book contains 405 Bangladeshi movie posters expanding four decades – 3 from the 50s, 48 from the 60s, 190 from the 70s and 168 from the 80s. These posters were selected from a collection of 6958 posters of 1357 movies. The book traces the evolution of Bangladeshi cinema posters through a significant part of our national history.
Abdul Jabbar Khan’s “Mukh O Mukhosh” (1956), the first Bengali language feature film to be made in East Pakistan, marks the starting point for this volume. In a delightful coincidence, the year also signifies the time when Bengali was, at long last, declared as a state language alongside Urdu.