( Ongoing project )
by Faiham Ebne Sharif
“What is a film?” I asked one of my dearest ones during childhood. He replied, “Boi (Read ‘Book’ in English but commonly known as ‘Film’ in colloquial Bengali) is a moving visual book which encrypts peoples’ choices.”
In a country like Bangladesh cinema is considered as the most potent communication form. Starting from the day laborers to the filthy rich industrialists, film is like the great escape into a world of fantasy. These popular cinemas offer the only relief from loneliness, alienation, hunger and busty living condition of millions.
In such patriarchic culture, heroes are the social saviors who always survive from bullet-hits. On the contrary, the villains drink, mug and rape. Unlike western films, heroines have a little more fat, which matters in a society, where there are millions who struggle to manage two meals a day. In our agrarian society people still believe those old myths, fairy tales and fantasies. It’s the nature who nourishes most of the people and livelihood. Religion plays bigger role in shaping people’s choices. But still Lalon Fakir, a mystic character with no religion is our rural phenomena.
There is a popular notion–“if you have seen one, you have seen all”. So, there are repetitive elements in these films, yet people go back again and again to enjoy those clichés. That is why I believe, I am just not capturing the artists in front of the camera. Rather, I am photographing what is absent in those photographs. I believe I am photographing millions, who work for the famous clothing brands, cultivate food grains in the most challenged climate conditions and blow whistles while watching cinema. And most certainly they are the valued consumers who run the industry.