Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen addresses the inauguration programme of the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival at National Museum, Dhaka on 16 January 2021
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen addresses the inauguration programme of the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival at National Museum, Dhaka on 16 January 2021PID

Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Saturday urged the filmmakers to make films patronising the saddest stories of Rohingyas for further sensitising world community about unimaginable atrocities that were committed against the ethnic group of Myanmar, reports BSS.

“An ethnic minority (Rohingya) that are the victims of hatred and enmity in a land of Buddhism (Myanmar) that believe in Ohimsa and Nirvana, self-purification where hatred and killing is unthinkable and against his teaching,” he said.

Momen made the remarks while inaugurating the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival organised by the Rainbow Film Society at National Museum in the capital in the afternoon.

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Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived there since 25 August 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” by other rights groups.

Indian High Commissioner Vikram K Doraiswami spoke as the special guest at the inaugural ceremony of the festival that will screen 226 films from 73 countries.

Films depict the art that transcends the boundaries of lives and livings and tell the stories which, often, we are even afraid to tell or look at
AK Abdul Momen, Bangladesh foreign minister

The foreign minister said films are one of the most poignant and invasive instruments accessible to the humankind for venturing into the realms of the mind, of the memory and of the imaginations that define the “human story”.

“Films depict the art that transcends the boundaries of lives and livings and tell the stories which, often, we are even afraid to tell or look at,” he added.

Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted untold sufferings for the artistes, he said the government has reopened the theaters under conditions of health and social-distancing restrictions for the sake of the film industry.

Momen hoped that the festival would provide a boost to the country’s film industry, and inspire all the participating artistes to produce even better films in the future.

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Lauding that this year’s festival is dedicated to the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he said, “It is coming up at a cusp of time when we are crossing over from within the ‘Mujib Year’ to the Golden Jubilee of our Independence.”

The minister recalled with the deepest respect that it was Bangabandhu who had first tabled the bill in the provincial assembly of then East Pakistan for the formation of Film Development Corporation (FDC) in 1957.

This FDC eventually became BFDC (Bangladesh Film Development Corporation) after the independence of Bangladesh and till now holds and nurtures the principal foundation of Bangladesh’s film industry, he said.

“I am also very happy that a biopic on the Father of the Nation, documenting the life and works of the greatest Bengali of all times, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s – a Bangladesh-India joint venture production also commences ‘shooting’ this January, he said.

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