Interview: Liberation War Through the Cinematic Lens

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  • November 2021

    Question: 01: How relevant was 1971 for you, both in political and cultural sense?

    Tanvir Mokammel:
    The events of 1971, I reckon, had such a tremendous effect on my psyche that you can call 1971 to be the year of my life. I was a teenager then, an age when the sensibilities of a person are most receptive. I witnessed all those horrifying mass killings, torture of women, inhuman cruelties perpetrated by the Pakistan Army and their local Islamic collaborators, the sufferings of distressed refugees, and at the same time heroic patriotism and sacrifices by the freedom fighters. All this had such an impact on my tender mind that even today whenever I think of making a new film, an incident or memory of 1971 crops up inside me. I guess, this is true not only for myself, but also for a whole generation of Bangladeshi filmmakers, artistes, and litterateurs, for whom the year 1971 has remained the most significant year in their lives. The year 1971, in our lives, can be best described by the well-known sentence from Charles Dickens: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times!’