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Shyam Benegal: She gave details that no biography would provide

Updated on: 15 December,2022 07:27 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Upala KBR |

Benegal, who is readying Sheikh Mujibur Rahman biopic, says Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina gave him rich account of leader-father

Shyam Benegal: She gave details that no biography would provide

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Shyam Benegal spent his 87th birthday yesterday just how he likes it — immersed in his next directorial venture. That his next is a definitive biopic on Bangladesh’s founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, only adds to the joy. “I was inspired by Mujib’s fascinating life, and his tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. His entire family was assassinated, except for his two daughters [Sheikh Hasina, and Sheikh Rehana] who happened to be in London,” reflects the veteran filmmaker.

In 2020, India and Bangladesh announced the co-production, Mujib — The Making of a Nation, to mark the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, as the late leader was fondly called. Benegal, who took the Bengali film on floors earlier this year, is currently working on its post-production. “We shot in Dhaka, Chittagong, north and south Bangladesh, as the film traces Mujib from his late teens to his politician [days]. The cast comprises Bangladeshi actors Arifin Shuvoo [in the titular role], Nusrat Imrose Tisha and others. Since Dhaka is a crowded city, we conducted the second half of the shoot in Mumbai.”

Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina

Rahman served as Bangladesh’s first president, going on to become the prime minister between 1972 and 1975. He served as the president again before being assassinated in August 1975. As Benegal brings the late leader’s legacy to the screen, he says Rahman’s daughter and Bangladesh’s current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed gave him insights into the visionary behind the man. 

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was extremely helpful. She provided us with details about their family life, and her mother [Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib], who was a source of inspiration to Mujib. [This is the kind of] information that no biography would provide. During the shoot, she invited me for lunch at her home. She is a wonderful cook, and had whipped up some special Bengali dishes, including hilsa. After the  post-production is complete, I’ll invite her for the first screening.”

Also Read: Have you heard? Another biopic for Vicky Kaushal

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