‘The story’s fake, but the emotion’s true’

Advertisement and documentary maker Piplu R Khan speaks during a master-class at the British Council on 16 September, 2023.
Dipu Malakar

Advertisement and documentary maker Piplu R Khan grew up in Chattogram. There was a shiuli (night-blooming jasmine) tree beside their house.

Their neighbours used to sing- that’s how far the memory goes. Based on that bit of memory he had made a promo for Bengal Classical Music Festival seven years ago.  

This sort of promo is called Public Service Announcement (PSA). That promo made in the setting of Old Dhaka had touched a lot of people. Piplu had expanded the story even further based on his imagination.

Advertisement and filmmaker Amitabh Reza speaks during a master-class at the British Council on 16 September, 2023.
Dipu Malakar

Piplu then brought life into the story by including Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, poet Shamsur Rahman with musical instrument shop Jatin and Co. going beyond that Shiuli tree.

Sharing this backstory during a master-class organised at British Council as part of the European Film Festival yesterday, Saturday Piplu said, “I made the story at the cost of my teenage memory. The story’s fake, but the emotion’s true.”

In Piplu R Khan’s words, “It’s not that you have to know everything as a storyteller. You should be able to demonstrate and imagine it. You have to build stories from what happens in your life, what you eat or what you see. There will be fabrication in the story, but what’s important is how much truth-like is your portrayal.”

Director with the young film lovers.
Dipu Malakar

Advertisement and filmmaker Amitabh Reza also repeated the same. In his words, “The entire cinema is a lie. We are shown a fabricated creation. The hero stands on a train stretching his hands out, to drag the heroine on to the train at the last moment. Then there will romance. They keep telling such lies and we do believe them.”

The directors also showed the way of how to tell a story. Piplu r Khan said, “You can spawn stories from the books that you read, food that you eat or clothes that you weae. That will come to you naturally from the inside.”

European Union and Prothom Alo jointly organised this event for young filmmakers to enrich the diversity of European and Bangladeshi culture through creativity. The purpose is to showcase emerging talents as well as to form cultural exchange and mutual understanding.

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The master-class started at 4:00pm on Saturday. Apart from the Bangladeshi directors, Belgian director and sound designer Nicolas Blasband joined the session virtually and talked about the art of music. The master-class on Saturday was conducted by Tahmina Sultana.

Meanwhile, ‘European Film Festival-2023’ is about start today Sunday, 17 September at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. A total of 300 guests including Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman and diplomats of different countries will be present at the opening ceremony.

Films of the festival will be screened at the Alliance Francaise, the Dutch Club and the University Club. The festival is scheduled to end on 23 September.