I then did entertainment journalism. I work in ‘Ananda Alo’. Almost every day I wander around the cinema – looking for news. It’s about 2007 or ’08. It goes without saying that the movie is not being shot at FDC now. Most of the time, FDC rents different floors for shooting advertisements. Reality shows, cooking shows, etc. of private television channels also work. However, movie shooting is rare. In that situation, I am very curious to know that a movie is being shot here and shooting will start at the same time. The heroic freedom fighter Jasim appeared on the floor on foot at that time when the morning had not yet passed. The movie ‘Raja Surya Khan’ is a historical story based on folklore. Sohail Rana, the protagonist, is present on the set in the guise of a king. And there is Kobari. Director Gazi Mahbub is walking around with busy legs. He smiled and looked at me. Shooting a movie means a lot of light camera business. Here too he is no exception. The director shouted – All Quiet! Shot ready. I sat quietly in a corner – in a chair. Sohail Rana finished a scene shot with Kabari. Then a short break. This time I got up and started talking about my identity with Sohail Rana. I would like to have a long interview with him at one stage of the conversation. Said, not today. There will be a day later. Contact by phone. Sohail Rana left to give the next shot. I also crawled out of the floor. It was sunny outside that day. Sweating in the heat, I came to the office and wrote a report of two or three slips about ‘Raja Surya Khan’ for the next issue of the newspaper. After that I forgot to interview Sohail Rana due to various work pressures.
After a while I suddenly remembered – I was supposed to interview Sohail Runner. Frightened, I called him. Hold the phone. Reminds me of the interview – but he can’t find the time. After giving regular phone calls like this for a few days, one day he said- can Savar come? Tomorrow? I agreed immediately. He gave a detailed address. The next morning I left for Savar. Many find out and reach the destination. The old zamindar’s house is a building in Dhachen. It is the home of Dipzol, the actor in the movie. Shooting is rented as a house. Sohail Rana is shooting a movie here. Sohail Rana came after sitting for a while. Hero Sohail Rana.
Our conversation begins with the old days of Bengali cinema, the present tense. When it comes to politics. Tathan was involved in the politics of the national party? I don’t remember exactly. However, political issues were also in our conversation. Sohail Rana spoke in a very soft voice. Mepe Mepe utters every word. The reader will notice that he also speaks very softly on the screen. To draw attention to this – Sohail Rana’s reply – this style of dialogue in low tone is his own. But in Bengali cinema, most of the time we talk loudly like shouting and shouting, but this different style of Sohail Rana must have given him a different status. Sohail Rana smiled when he heard me. Almost unheard of – such a silent but lively smile. He said that many famous actors of the world perform in low tone. It’s a style.
The topic of liberation war comes in words. He is a heroic freedom fighter. The first movie based on the liberation war – they are also producers of 11 people. As such, if you sit down with him, the issue of liberation war is bound to come up. How were they 11? What’s the story behind it? Sohail Rana’s face became bright after hearing the question.
This is the first movie to be released after the independence of Bangladesh. The name of the picture is ‘They are 11’. The real freedom fighters acted in this film. Even real ammunition was used to show battle scenes. It is heard that some real Razakars were supposed to be caught for shooting the scene of execution of Razakars. Is that really true? Ask me.
Sohail Rana used to say like him- one side of Kaliakair bridge was damaged during the war of liberation. The other side of the bridge was chosen for the shooting of ‘Ora 11 Jan’. Explosives were placed in the movie to show the scene of the destruction of the bridge. The scene that the audience did not see was the most interesting. The water of the river rose high due to the explosion. After a while it suddenly rained. A moment later we discovered that they were the water of a rising river. After a while many fish floated in the river. Blood was coming out of their ears. We cooked and ate those fish, some took them home.
The movie is directed by Chashi Nazrul Islam. In this context, Sohail Rana said that famous director Mustafiz wanted to direct the film without pay. But on hearing that the farmer was joining, Mustafiz said, “He has been working for a long time. He can. ‘
Where did the fresh explosives come from? Sohail Rana said, I took my friend Chhatra League leader Noor Alam Siddiqui to Air Vice Marshal AK Khandaker. Hearing that it would take arms and ammunition to make the picture, he told the then Major Shawkat. With his help we took some rifles, stenguns, explosives from the godown. A major was attached to us to take care of the Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army uniforms.
Farmers Nazrul Islam and Sohail Rana are long time friends. They used to cut their hair together and wear clothes of the same color. How much money did the farmer get from his friend as a director? In the words of Sohail Rana – I had a good relationship with his wife Jyotsna. As long as the film work was going on, I would give Jyotsna some money every month. I told him not to bother the farmer. Let him make the picture with the mind.
How to raise money to make pictures? Sohail Rana’s father Abdul Malek was a retired police officer. Mother Delwara Begum handed over a portion of her pension money to her son.
After shooting some parts, it is the turn of the contract with the distributor Star. Sohail Rana went to their office near the stadium. He said that initially they wanted to take the picture for 10 years. I did not agree. I said, five years. They are happy to see the casting, agree. The contract was worth 4 lakh and a half, the signing money was 10 thousand. That was a lot of money for me then. We shoot very well in Joydebpur and FDC. When money was needed, I would pick it up from the distributor.
Some Razakars will be shown being shot dead on the banks of the river. Several Razakars were detained at the then Iqbal Hall. They will be caught to make the scene realistic, as planned in the beginning. But photographer Abdus Samad was shocked to hear that. It is not possible for him to capture such a scene. Although the judges will execute them in this way. Sohail Rana said that Samad Bhai, who has been working in London cinema, did not agree. Later I also thought, they are not yet the final accused in the judgment of the judging committee. So we changed our minds about that scene. Different shots were taken without showing directly. Real shots were fired, shots were fired into the water, then bloody razakars were shown falling.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman saw the picture. He once invited everyone of Chhatra League to have tea at his house on Minto Road. Recalling that memory, Sohail Rana hugged me and said, “You made it well. Stay on this line. ” I stayed. But there is only one sorrow. I spent money and gave a print of the picture to the then government. It was also sent to different countries to show. No one ever gave me a written thank you, not even a telephone call. Of course, I do not regret it. I have made the country independent, got the country, got the land, got the identity under the direction of Bangabandhu, I am happy.
A lot of time goes by in words. Now it’s time to say goodbye. Sohail Rana said as soon as he wanted to get up – the interview is over? Speaking of only 11 of them? I do not give any answer to his words. Just a sweet smile – as he smiles, on screen and in reality.
PS: At the time of writing, he was hospitalized with coronavirus. I wish her a speedy recovery.
Author: Media worker.