Nusrat Imrose Tisha from Bangladesh speaks about “Mujib” in Cannes.

Top Bangladeshi actress Nusrat Imrose Tisha is in Cannes to promote her new film ‘Mujib: The Making of a Nation’. A trailer for the film, a biopic of the late Bangladesh leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was unveiled at the Cannes Film Market.

Popularly known as Bangabandhu (Friend of Bengal), Rahman was one of the founders of the Awami League party and led the movement for political autonomy for East Pakistan and the subsequent formation of independent Bangladesh in 1971. He was the first President and then the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh until he, his wife and sons were assassinated in a 1975 military coup. His daughter Sheikh Hasina is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

Arifin Shuvoo, winner of Best Actor at the Bangladesh National Film Awards for “Dhaka Attack,” plays Rahman. Tisha plays his wife Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib.

“Everyone knows Bangabandhu, but many don’t know Fazilatunnesa,” says Tisha diversity. “As the saying goes, behind every successful man there is a woman and Fazilatunnesa supported him, cared for the family and made important political decisions when Bangabandhu was imprisoned as a political prisoner during the freedom struggle. She was a strong woman.”

“She did a great job and I think people will learn about Fazilatunnesa and her work and her sacrifices with this film,” adds Tisha.

Tisha has enjoyed a glittering acting career, winning Best Actress for “Ostitto” and “Haldaa” at Bangladesh’s National Film Awards and gaining international recognition with Rotterdam and Busan titles “Third Person Singular Number” and “Television”. “Television” won at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Dubai and Jogja, closed Busan and played at festivals around the world including Locarno, Gothenburg, Sydney and Beijing.

Tisha is currently in talks with a Kolkata-based Indian company about her next acting role.

“Third Person Singular Number” and “Television” were directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, Tisha’s husband. Tisha became a producer on Farooki’s No Land’s Man, which won at Vesoul, played Black Nights at Tallinn and heads to Sydney. It was a learning curve that Tisha thoroughly enjoyed and there are plans to produce more. Next up as producer is a film that Tisha describes as “a deeply personal project” that Farooki will direct.

Pioneering Bangladeshi filmmaker Tareque Masud won the 2002 FIPRESCI award at Cannes for The Clay Bird and died in an accident in 2011. Farooki has carried on his legacy, and there is a generation of filmmakers making their mark internationally today. These include Abdullah Mohammad Saad, who was in Cannes with Rehana last year, Rubaiyat Hossain (Made in Bangladesh), Abu Shahed Emon (Jalal’s Story), Amitabh Reza Chowdhury (Rickshaw Girl), Rezwan Shahriar Sumit (“The Salt in Our Waters”) and Bijon Imtiaz (“Kingdom of Clay Subjects”), to name a few.

“I think Bangladeshi film has a bright future because we have a lot of young directors trying to do something special,” says Tisha.

Mujib: The Making of a Nation is directed by veteran Indian filmmaker Shyam Benegal (The Making of the Mahatma, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero). It is a Bangladeshi-Indian co-production between Bangladesh Film Development Corporation and India’s National Film Development Corporation. The two organizations handle international rights sales together. Nusrat Imrose Tisha from Bangladesh speaks about “Mujib” in Cannes.

Charles Jones

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