Sohel Chowdhury, Diti’s daughter Lamia starting filmmaking with a heavy heart

Lamia Chowdhury with her father Sohel Chowdhury, mother Parveen Sultana Diti.from Facebook

In her childhood, she would go to her mother’s shooting after school. Her mother, actress Parveen Sultana Diti would introduce her to all the cast and crew. You can say that she actually grew up seeing shooting. That’s how little Lamia Chowdhury fostered a love for creative work.

That love kept growing with age. At one point she shared her likings with her mother Diti. But, Diti didn’t want her daughter to enter the showbiz. Out of love for her mother, Lamia is now about to start working as a film director with a heavy heart.

About one and a half decades back, Lamia had told her mother that she wants to work behind the camera. Diti didn’t want her daughter to work in the media. For, it’s not easy to build a career in films. Later, Lamia moved to the United Kingdom to study economics. But, she found it difficult to concentrate in her own studies rather she was drawn more towards cinema.

Lamia Chowdhury said, “When I went to United Kingdom, I told my mother that I liked directing films. After hearing about my interest in films, my mother told me that time, ‘First show me how serious you are, then we’ll think about it.’ I was reassured by my mother’s words.”

Lamia Chowdhury with her mother Parveen Sultana Diti.
from Facebook

“I left my studies in Economics and went to London Film School for a diploma in film production. I started learning about production, scriptwriting, storytelling, editing and everything else about filmmaking there. I was planning on working with my mother upon returning home later. Seeing my enthusiasm, my mother started helping me in ways.”

Diti was still alive back then. She admired her daughter’s efforts and planning skills. At that time, Diti herself wanted to be the producer of her daughter’s project. She started guiding her daughters through the alleyways of the media. Lamia wrote women-centric stories at first while Anam Biswas turned it into a script.

The plan was to make a telefilm. While she was almost done wrapping up everything, her mother died. After losing her father in childhood, she lived holding onto her mother. But after losing her mother, this young woman suddenly fell into a turbulent situation.

Lamia said, “I had returned home for working as a director with my mother. That was the dream of my life. My story was centered on women. My mother was very happy with my story idea. As much as I moved closer towards my dream, my mother started falling sick more and more. I was left completely alone after my mother’s death.”

Lamia Chowdhury with her father Sohel Chowdhury, mother Parveen Sultana Diti and younger brother.
Courtesy of Lamia

“First of all, I was new in the country. I didn’t recognise or know a lot of the things. And there was no one to guide me. It was like falling into an ocean. My brother lives abroad. The responsibility of handling everything fell on my shoulder at a very young age. Then I couldn’t move ahead with the work of my film any longer,” she added.

At one point she moved away from her dream. But, the motivation of directing a film always peeped through her mind. The profession that had a connection with her mother cannot keep her away from it. After Diti’s death in 2016 she tried to complete the project in many ways during the next few years. But she was left disheartened again and again. The characters of her story, she saw around her kept growing up by then.

Diti’s daughter said, “My mother was involved with this dream of mine right from the beginning. I repeatedly tried to complete it but couldn’t find anyone who could support me in this. Even after moving forward with the project a few times, I had to back off again later. I didn’t have any help. But, I always had a dream in my head that this particular story is special for me. I have to produce it. That dream of mine is about to be fulfilled. I am going to make a film.”

Lamia Chowdhury
Courtesy of Lamia

She started thinking about the film anew from the beginning of last year. She has been working on this film for five months at a stretch. That story from ten years back had to be completely revised. She herself made the screenplay this time. The story is familiar to her.

The characters would work their way through a plot based on the mother-daughter relationship. Diti was supposed to play one of the roles. It’s already hard for her to shoot the film without her mother. Yet, she’s moving forward with her dream holding onto her mother’s memory.

The daughter of actor Sohel Chowdhury said, “It would be really difficult to work on the film without my mother. I am becoming emotional frequently. I will start shooting the film with someone else in the role that was my mother’s. I have to start the film with a heavy heart. Every day I give myself courage that I can do this. I have my mother’s blessings with me. And that’s why I’m finally able to start this project. This is a huge dream come true moment for me.”

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Lamia is making a film titled, ‘Meyeder Golpo’. The story of three mothers and three daughters will move along the line of mothers’ relationship, expectations, friendship and understanding with the daughters of this generation who are now aged between 18 to 25 years.

She has already started working on the casting, selecting locations and designing costumes. She wants to move on with the shooting right after monsoon. She wishes to release the film on Netflix.

Lamia said, “I’m still in talks with the investors. I have had a deal with some and there’s more to discuss. I’ll work on the film following the type of conditions there is on Netflix. Some of my friends from London Film School are working for Netflix. I’m in talk with their agencies. But, I want to make the film for the country indeed. For, there are messages of awareness in the story. The viewers of this country should watch it first. May be then I’ll think about Netflix. In the film, I want to utilise the experience I gathered from my surroundings.”

* This report was published in the online and print versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Nourin Ahmed Monisha.