B’desh director dedicates new film to 1971 war martyrs

New Delhi: Bangladeshi director Tanivr Mokammel has dedicated his new film "Rabeya" (The Sister) to martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War who were denied a proper burial.

Scenes from the war seems to have left an indelible mark on a then 16-year-old Mokammel, who says he was horrified by the insensitivity of occupying Pakistani troops who let bodies of Bangladeshi fighters rot in fields, rivers and ponds without being allowed a proper burial.

"Rabeya, a de-construction of Greek philosopher Sophocles' play "Antigone" is set for its debut in international festival circuit next month in Singapore.

"I had read 'Antigone' when I was a student (of English literature) and was moved by the courage of a sister who, against all institutional forces, was determined to bury her dead brother," Mokammel told.

"Indeed, to honour the dead is a sacred custom, which is followed by all. But in 1971, the Pakistani military and their Bengali collaborators denied this right to many; corpses were left in the open during the war in a devastated country.

My film is dedicated to the memory of the martyrs who didn't even get buried properly," the director said at the movie's premiere last year.

Having made acclaimed films like "Chitra Nadir Parey" (1998), "Lalshalu" (2001) and "Lalon" (2004), Mokammel opens "Rabeya" with a shot showing some local allies of Pakistani army declaring that anyone trying to bury the corpse of an "Indian agent" and "terrorist" killed by the "patriotic" Pakistani army would be shot dead.