Bangladesh minister calls for increased collaboration with Indian filmmakers
Bangladesh Information Minister Hasan Mahmud

Kolkata: Calling for increased collaboration between filmmakers of India and Bangladesh, the latter’s Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said the barbed wire separating the two sides has not created any divide among people.

Mahmud, during his address at the inaugural function of the fourth edition of Bangladesh Film Festival here on Saturday, said people of his country have always loved and revered Bengali matinee idols from this side of the border, such as Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen.

“The barbed wire fencing separating the two sides has not created any divide among people who speak the same language, have grown up in the same environment and share similar love for arts and music,” the minister stated.

“Artistes from Bengal and Bangladesh should work together to make the Bengali film industry a formidable force in the world, on par with Bollywood and the western filmdom. We have talents; we have content on both sides. We just need to mount them on a bigger platform,” he said.

Mahmud also maintained that a film should not be confined within the boundaries of one country and be made available for viewing to the audience at large.

“Bengalis might not be as wealthy as their western counterparts but in terms of talent and intellect, the community is one of the best in the world,” he said.

West Bengal Minister of Information Technology and Electronics Babul Supriyo said there should be a mechanism for regular film exchanges between the two regions.

“The mechanism could check film piracy and the collective initiative can also ensure that people residing on both sides of the border get to enjoy the best creative works.

“This will also help the film industries economically without producers having to incur losses due to piracy,” Supriyo emphasised.

To requests from the audience, Supriyo, a singer-turned-politician, also sang the popular Bengali number “Ami banglar gaan gai, ami banglay gaan gai” (I sing about Bengal, I sing in Bengali).

Awami League MP Saimum Sarwar Kamal, who was present on the occasion, said film is a “powerful medium to fight against superstitions and religious obscurantism”.

Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Andalib Elias and ace Indian director Goutam Ghosh also spoke on the occasion.

Thirty-seven feature and short films from the neighbouring country are being screened at the six-day festival, which began from October 28.

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