Aynun Putul plays a sex worker mother who will stop at nothing to make sure her teenage daughter gets a proper education in the 17 minute short film “Pounopunik: The Hamster Wheel Rebellion.” But as fate would have it, her profession puts more obstacles her way than what she could’ve ever foreseen.
After eight film festivals and four awards, “Pounopunik” is now available on YouTube. In an interview with Showtime, the film’s director Khandaker Sumon talked about his inspiration, the characters and his experience in the festival circuit as a first time director.
What inspired you to choose this story?
In the last scene of Azizul Hoq sir’s 1960 short story “Shokun,” a flock of vultures swarm around a dead child. We still see similar sights today where children are born without the hope of becoming a valued citizen.
In most films, sex worker characters arouse perverted desire in men, but don’t evoke empathy. So, I tried to tell the story differently.
Tell us about the strong female characters in your film.
I tried to keep the mental state of all the characters of “Pounopunic” independent. For that reason, we didn’t hear any philosophical statements through the dialogues of a sex worker. I tried to portray them differently from how they’re traditionally depicted in films.
The four female characters in “Pounopunik” are very significant. The school teacher, being a woman herself, is a representative of the strictly conformist society. The (other female characters) grandmother, mother and daughter, three women from three generations, are tied by the same thread.
How was your experience at the international film festivals?
Film festivals are like pilgrimages for film lovers. When the international politics is moving towards nationalism and racism, international film festivals are smudging out the borders.
Kolkata International Film Festival was the first film festival where I went to show my film. I wasn’t nervous showing a Bangla film to Bangla audiences. But when it came to Nepal International Film Festival, I had to rely on the body language of the audience during screening to understand their reaction.
I later received Special Jury Mention Award at the Patna Bodhisattva International Film Festival, Special Festival Mention Award at the Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival in Delhi, Best Short Film Awards at the Nashik International Film Festival in Mumbai and Special Jury Mention Award at the 16th
Dhaka International Film Festival. “Pounopunik” started its festival journey with 11th
Seattle South Asian Film Festival and ended with the prestigious Mumbai International Film Festival.
What films are you planning to make next?
“Pounopunic” is my first film. I’ve made another short film “Ongoj” (2017) and is shooting a feature film “Satao” in December this year.