Storytelling turning more diverse

Posters of the films 'Prohelika', 'Priyotoma' and 'Shurongo'.Collaze
Getting away from the influence of Bollywood, Dhallywood films tried telling local stories this year. Plus there were surprises in visualization and presentation also. Also, apart from thrillers, much versatile content including science fiction and period drama could be noticed on the OTT Platforms

Masud realised that he has been cheated on. He was running from one room to another. His wife’s infidelity was flashing before his eyes. The director portrayed this scene on the screen in a one take shot. Plus there was the use of colours that represented Masud’s mental state.

It was a scene from Raihan Rafi’s much discussed film ‘Shurongo’ that released this year. Afran Nisho had performed outstandingly in the role of a cheated, helpless lover.

At the same time, director Rafi also deserves credit for his skilled visualisation. Not only ‘Shurongo’, there were numerous successful examples of visual storytelling in local films and series throughout the year.

Toma Mirza and Afran Nisho in a scene from the film 'Shurongo'.
Courtesy of Chorki

New story, new presentation

There hasn’t been that much content of the music-based thriller genre in the country. So naturally Chayanika Chowdhury’s film ‘Prohelika’ created hype after its release.

The background score of the film is raaga-based, with many mysteries hidden in its folds. In the end, the decision of choosing such a story is more significant than the way it turned or how commercially successful it was.

A scene from the film 'Prohelika'.

The film had no leading commercial hero in it while the method of storytelling in the musical thriller style is also new. But when this film created hype leaving all these doubts behind, then the producers and directors are bound to think anew about working on such stories.

Similarly, Nader Chowdhury’s film ‘Jinn’ that released in last April was also noteworthy. It’s a new addition to the country’s handful of horror films. It takes different types of technological expertise plus of course a good storyline to make a horror film. Despite various limitations, ‘Jinn’ had caused quite a stir. 

Apart from these two films, ‘Antarjal’ must be mentioned as well. The subject matter of this cyber thriller genre film is completely new to the Dhallywood industry. This film directed by Dipankar Dipon grabbed attention for the variety of subject as well as for the modern production.

Shakib Khan sporting old-age look in the film 'Priyotoma'.
Courtesy of the director

Unrecognisable hero

A snapshot went viral within seconds of being posted on the web before the Eid-ul-Fitr last year. It goes without saying that this is the most talked about first look among the films that released in 2023.

The photo featured Shakib Khan’s look from the film ‘Priyotoma’. Everyone starting from Shakib Khan’s fans to even the showbiz stars, praised that photo of Shakib Khan sporting old-age look.

Naturally, the last half an hour of the film where Shakib Khan can be seen donning the old-age look came up in discussions after the film’s release. It was surprising to see that Shakib could break out of his ‘hero image’ like this for the requirement of the character.

Telling local stories

Apart from the commercial films, various content of artistic genre also released this year. There was variety in here as well. In a broader sense, two films, ‘Adim’ and ‘Shatao’ from the current year can be mentioned. Both the films told completely ‘local’ stories.

A photo from the shooting of the film 'Adim'.
Courtesy of the director

A drug addict named ‘Kala’, his wife ‘Shohagi’ and a cripple ‘Langra’, attracted to ‘Shohagi’, Adim moved forward with these three marginal characters.

This film directed by Juboraj Shamim featuring familiar characters from around us doesn’t feel like a ‘film’ per se, rather it feels like real life seen with our own eyes. Despite being release in a limited number of theaters, movie lovers did turn up to enjoy this movie.

Another talked about film of a different genre that released this year is ‘Saatao’. Khandaker Sumon made the movie based on the life and crisis of the marginalised population of Rangpur region.

the poster of the film 'Saatao'.

Incessant rain that continues for several days is called ‘Saatao’ in Rangpur region. This is what the film has been named after. Combining the story, acting performances and the visuals, it is one of the best films of this year.

Liberation war stories on a bigger scale

Fakhrul Arefin Khan’s ‘JK 1971’, Khijir Hayat Khan’s ‘Ora Shat Jon’ and Hridi Haq’s ‘1971 Shei Shob Din’, these three films about the liberation war were in the talks this year.

All three films tried to tell the story on a larger canvas. ‘JK 1971’ is based on a plane hijacking, ‘Ora Shat Jon’ was in discussion for its action while, ‘1971 Shei Shob Din’ grabbed attention for its art direction.

Shajal Noor and Sanjida Preeti in the look of the film '1971 Shei Shob Din'
Courtesy of the director

Not only thrillers

It’s snowing and the snowflakes are falling on the heroine’s face, how excited she is! This scene is from Vicky Jahed’s web series ‘Am Ki Tumi’.

The main theme of this web film of the science fiction drama genre that released on iScreen was the idea of a parallel universe. And it was a huge surprise for the audience of local drama series.

The poster of the web film 'Ami Ki Tumi'.

Not just this one, quite a few versatile series and film released on the web this year. And after seeing those it cannot any longer be said that OTT means only thrillers.

The web series ‘Internship’ released on Chorki towards the beginning of the year. This series belonging to the situation comedy genre was indeed refreshing for the web audience. Besides, Chorki’s romantic web film ‘Unish Bish’ garnered applauds for the chemistry of its cast.

A scene from the web film 'Internship'
Courtesy of Chorki

Meanwhile, Yasir Al Haq’s series ‘Sharey Showlo’ released on Hoichoi in August. This series belonged to the chamber drama genre and this is the first time a series of this genre has been made in the country.

Another series titled ‘Mobaraknama’ released on the same platform last Thursday. It’s a courtroom drama that is made in abundance in other industries but has not been seen much in our country.

Similarly, Chorki’s ‘Virus’ can be mentioned as well. The audience had a taste of newness in this series made on the spread of a virus.

There was another series that was in talks for the newness of the plot. It was Siddiq Ahmed’s period drama ‘Agochora’ that released on Binge. This series is based on the underworld of old Dhaka.  

Another web film from this year must be mentioned here. And that is Chorki’s ‘Something like an Autobiography’. Alongside some stories from his own life, Mostafa Sarwar Farooki brought up family, society as well politics in this film.

Mostafa Sarwar Farooki an Nusrat Imrose Tisha in a scene from the web film 'Something like an Autobiography'.
Courtesy of Chorki

This film is a significant exception among the type of work that the audience is used to watching on the OTT platforms from home and abroad.

Female-centric stories increased

Quite a few female-centric contents including ‘Guti’ featuring Badhon, ‘The Silence’ featuring Mehezabien or ‘Friday’ featuring Toma Mirza, has released on OTT this year. Besides, contents like ‘Nikosh’ and ‘Marcules’ were in talks as well.   

‘Nikosh’ portrayed the desperate journey of a girl in search of her sister. Tasnia Farin played the role of one of the sisters. Breaking away from her girl next door image, she appeared in a glamour-free avatar in this web film. The whole uncertainty of the search for her sister was depicted in her face.

Sabila Nur in a scene of the web series 'Marcules'.
Courtesy of Chorki

Meanwhile, Sabila Nur played the role of ‘Joyita’ in ‘Marcules’.  The way this small screen actress holding a romantic image portrayed the helplessness, emotions and the indomitable mentality of Joyita’s character, even stunned her own fans.

There was diversity even in the character building of the female-centric contents. Starting from helplessness, simple family scenes to brutality, the artistes have shown their prowess in all sorts of roles on the screen.