Not much is known about Dhaka during the year 1758 or around that era. A television serial 'Zindabahar', in the making, focuses on that period, brining to life some unknown characters like Nayebe Nazim, Nagar Kotwal, Kuthi Chief Captain Sweeton, heirs of Delhi’s Amirs and Omars, muslin weavers, and the Sardars of Dhaka.
Veteran actor, director and playwright Mamunur Rashid has created this drama highlighting the 250-year-old history of Dhaka.
Playwright Mamunur Rashid said work on 'Zindabahar' began in November. At the time he had told Prothom Alo that he had written a long drama serial for Bangladesh Television (BTV). This excellent idea first came to his mind after reading a book 'Nawab Siraj-ud-Dowla', written by Abul Kalam Mohammad Zakaria and published from Prothoma in Dhaka. Then he started working on it.
Mamunur Rashid said not much work has been done on Dhaka after the fall of Siraj-ud-Dowla. He said, "After studying the topic, I wrote the screenplay, creating an image of that period. When Dhaka was the capital (of Mughal Bengal) it was like a glamorous city of England. The Armenians, British, French, Portuguese came here because of its wealth. I tried to highlight that period in the serial.”
Director of the serial drama Fazle Azim said work on 52 episodes has been done in the first season but more seasons are likely. He said, the serial is on how Dhaka was ruled by Delhi after Nawab Siraj-ud-Dowla’s death, what had happened or what could have happened and so on. No drama has ever made in Bangladesh on such a story. The viewers will learn about the 250-year-old Dhaka through the serial.
Fazle Azim said, the opening scene of the serial will show that one day in 1758, a vessel carrying armed guards comes up the Meghna River and anchor at Chandpur. They are on the way to Jinjira Palace in Dhaka. The boat passengers are widow of Nawab Siraj-ud-Dowla, Lutfa, his daughter Umme Zohra, mother-in-law Ghaseti Begum and his mother Amena Begum. After a short break, the vessel sets sail for Dhaka. Then the tale of 18th century’s Dhaka ‘Zindabahar’ begins.
Mamunur Rashid said, “I found letters of several French soldiers who fought for Siraj-ud-Dowla. While reading these letters, I found information that can help create the fiction.”
Shooting of the first season has completed. The serial is likely to go on air on BTV in March-April. Mamunur Rashid, Lutfur Rahman George, Azad Abul Kalam, Ahmed Rubel, Ananta Hira, Shatabdi Wadud, Samu Chowdhury, Shamim Visti, Shyamal Zakaria, Alif Chowdhury, Sadman Pratya, Yusuf Russell, Shakil, Rosy Siddiqui, Nazneen Chumki and Sharmi Mala, among others, star in the serial.