July 11, 2007
The Bangladeshi film industry is based in Dhaka and is also called Dallywood (a portmanteau of the words Dhaka and Hollywood), Dhallywood, or Dhaliwood. As of 2004, it produced approximately 100 movies a year. The average movie’s budget was about 6,500,000 Bangladeshi taka.
On April 24, 1898, the Bengali weekly Dhaka Prokash reported that films were shown in Dhaka by the Bredford Bioscope Company, at the Crown Theatre, in Patuatuli, near Sadarghat. The show included news items and other short features. The first permanent cinema in Dhaka, named Picture House, began operation during 1913â1914. This cinema was renamed to New Picture House and then again to Shabistan. By 1947 there were around 80 cinemas in what is now Bangladesh.
The first Bengali organization for producing and exhibiting films was the Royal Bioscope Company, established in 1898 in Calcutta by Hira Lal Sen. Although feature films were made in Bengali as early as 1919 (Bilwa Mangal), most production was done in Calcutta. The Nawab family of Dhaka produced Sukumari (1928â1929) and The Last Kiss (1931).
After the partition of India in 1947, the first film made in East Pakistan was a newsreel about the visit of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, produced in 1948 by the radio broadcaster Nazir Ahmed. The first full-length feature film with sound made in East Pakistan was Mukh O Mukhosh, which was produced by Abdul Jabbar Khan and released on August 3, 1956. Editing, printing and all other film processing for this movie was done in Lahore, Pakistan.
The East Bengal Provincial Assembly established the East Pakistan Film Development Corporation (EPFDC) on April 3, 1957. The first film produced by this organization was Asiya (The Life of a Village Girl, 1960), directed by Fateh Lohani. During the late 1960s, between 20 and 35 films were produced each year. Production quantity continued to increase after Bangladesh gained its independence on December 16, 1971; in 1979, for example, 51 films were released, and in the 1990s over 90 films per year were released.
Recently, the Bangladeshi film industry has faced increased competition from foreign films, satellite TV, home video, and other sources. Viewership of Bangladeshi films has dropped, and the industry has been criticized for producing low-quality films whose only appeal is that of sex, violence, or melodrama.
Although the majority of the films made in Bangladesh are strictly commercial in nature, a handful of directors from Bangladesh have attained critical acclamation for their outstanding work. Zahir Raihan, Alamgir Kabir, Humayun Ahmed, Tanvir Mokammel, Tareque Masud are among those prominent directors. Bangladesh has been officially submitting nominations for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film from 2003. The following films have so far been nominated:
Matir Moina, directed by Tareque Masud in 2003 – Matir Moina is the first film from Bangladesh that received official submission for academy award
Shyamol Chaya, directed by Humayun Ahmed in 2006
Nirontor, directed by Abu Sayeed in 2007
Asiya (1957), Stop Genocide, Jibon Theke neya, Shimana Periya, Ekatturer Jishu, Titash Ekti Nodir naam, Padma Nadir Mazi, Agami (1989), Muktir Gaan, Aguner Poroshmoni (1995), Matir Moina (2002), Antarjatra (2005), Shyamol Chaya, Bidrohi Padma (2006).