BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 11:17 GMT
'Banned' Bangladesh film for Oscars
Anu, the film's main character, at a madrassa
The film tells the story of a madrasa student

Bangladesh has officially nominated a film for the Oscars, which was once refused a censor's certificate by the authorities in Dhaka.


I wanted to show that madrasas are no stricter than Catholic schools

Tareque Masud, director

This maiden entry from Bangladesh in the best foreign language film category is for Matir Moyna (or Clay Bird), directed by Tareque Masud.

It has already been acclaimed in various film festivals.

The film tells the story of a young boy living at a madrasa or Islamic religious school, and was first screened in the director's fortnight category at the Cannes Film Festival this year and won the "International Film Critiques' Award".

The Bangladeshi Government had first refused to issue a censor certificate for Matir Moyna, saying it gave a distorted image of the madrasa system, and that it could hurt feelings in this Muslim-dominated country.

Mr Masud denied the allegations and appealed against the censor board's verdict.

Amid widespread criticism at home and abroad, the authorities finally issued a certificate for the 95-minute movie, clearing its way for commercial release in Bangladesh.

Road to oscars

Matir Moyna is not only the first Bangladeshi film to be nominated for an Oscar, it was the first film from this country that opened the director's fortnight screening of the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

It also won the "best screenplay" award in this year's Marrakech film festival in Morocco.

The film narrates a story from the 1960s, a turbulent period for the people of Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan.

Movie theatre in Dhaka
Matir Moyna has only recently been screened

The story revolves around a boy named Anu (played by Nurul Islam Bablu) who has been sent to a madrasa away from his parents and finds a friend, Rokon.

Life back home with its freedom and colours and the joys of festivals is in stark contrast to Anu's madrasa experience.

Anu grows up in isolation and confusion. Ayesha, his mother, never liked her husband's sudden transformation into a strict disciplinarian Muslim.

Their daughter, who once gave Anu a clay bird as present, dies because of the father's orthodox beliefs.

With the son away in a madrasa and the daughter dead, Ayesha becomes increasingly restless. A series of tragic events follows.

Mirror image

Local film critics say the movie is beautifully made. But a few say its theme that Islamic schools encourage religious fanaticism and fundamentalism is one-sided and wrong.

Tareque Masud says he did not try to undermine Islam. "I wanted to show that the madrasas are no stricter than Catholic schools," he told the BBC.

He said the film was a credible answer to Western claims that Islam does not allow tolerance.

"It's an important achievement for Bangladesh that the country has been recognised by the world of cinema," he said.

See also:

30 Oct 02 | Entertainment
29 Aug 02 | South Asia
01 Oct 02 | South Asia
20 May 02 | South Asia
25 Mar 02 | South Asia
26 Jan 01 | South Asia
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes