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Cinema of Bangladesh

by Life as Fiction
Added a Best Bangla Movies of All-Time list on IMDb, however imperfect. Recommendations welcome. One of the largest gaps in my cinematic knowledge are the films from Bangladesh, the country of my birth. So, here goes a list to fix that and bring awareness to others at the same time. There aren’t many Bangladeshi films on The Auteurs as of now, so please let me know if you have any suggestions, and I’ll work on getting them submitted and added to the site. For the time being, here is a slightly modified version of the “Cinema of Bangladesh” article from Wikipedia: On April 24, 1898, the Bengali weekly Dhaka Prakash reported that films… Read more

Added a Best Bangla Movies of All-Time list on IMDb, however imperfect. Recommendations welcome.

One of the largest gaps in my cinematic knowledge are the films from Bangladesh, the country of my birth. So, here goes a list to fix that and bring awareness to others at the same time. There aren’t many Bangladeshi films on The Auteurs as of now, so please let me know if you have any suggestions, and I’ll work on getting them submitted and added to the site.

For the time being, here is a slightly modified version of the “Cinema of Bangladesh” article from Wikipedia:

On April 24, 1898, the Bengali weekly Dhaka Prakash reported that films were shown in Dhaka by the Bradford Bioscope Company at the Crown Theatre. The show included news items and other short features. The first permanent cinema in Dhaka, named Picture House, began operation during 1913–1914. By 1947, there were around 80 cinemas in what is now Bangladesh.

The first Bengali organization for producing and exhibiting films was the Royal Bioscope Company, established in 1898 in Calcutta by Hiralal Sen. Although feature films were made in Bengali as early as 1919 (Bilwa Mangal), most production was done in Calcutta. The Nawab family of Dhaka produced Sukumari (1928–1929) and The Last Kiss (1931).

After the partition of India in 1947, the first film made in East Pakistan was a newsreel about the visit of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, produced in 1948 by the radio broadcaster Nazir Ahmed. The first full-length feature film with sound made in East Pakistan was Mukh O Mukhosh, produced by Abdul Jabbar Khan and released on August 3, 1956. Editing, printing and all other film processing for this movie was done in Lahore, Pakistan.

The East Bengal Provincial Assembly established the East Pakistan Film Development Corporation (EPFDC) on April 3, 1957. The first film produced by this organization was Asiya (The Life of a Village Girl, 1960), directed by Fateh Lohani. During the late 1960s, between 20 and 35 films were produced each year. Production quantity continued to increase after Bangladesh gained its independence on December 16, 1971. By 1979, 51 films were released, and in the 1990s, over 90 films were released per year. One of the first films produced in Bangladesh after independence was Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (A River Called Titas) in 1973 by acclaimed director Ritwik Ghatak, whose stature in Bengali cinema is comparable to that of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen.

Recently, the Bangladeshi film industry has faced increased competition from foreign films, satellite TV, home video, and other sources. Viewership of Bangladeshi films has dropped, and the industry has been criticized for producing low-quality films whose only appeal is that of sex, violence or melodrama.

Although the majority of the films made in Bangladesh are strictly commercial in nature, a handful of directors from Bangladesh have attained critical acclaim for their outstanding work. Among them are Zahir Raihan, Khan Ataur Rahman, Salahuddin, Alamgir Kabir, Amjad Hussain, Moshiuddin Shaker, Sheikh Niyamat Ali, Humayun Ahmed, Morshedul Islam, Tanvir Mokammel and Tareque Masud. Bangladesh has also been officially submitting nominations for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film since 2003.

External Links of Interest
A Brief History of Bangladesh Cinema by Anupam Hayat
Tareque Masud’s Interview with Drishtipat

The films below are ordered in chronological order.

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