Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Sublime Poetry of the Sky Electronic Programme Guide

I thought that Wikipedia didn't do slander.

On the Bangladeshi film industry:
the industry has been criticized for producing low-quality films whose only appeal is that of sex, violence, or melodrama

My ears are burning!

These are outright falsehoods. I have recently developed something of a mania for Bangladeshi films. Bangladesh. Most denseley populated country in the world. Birthplace of writers, thinkers, artists and directors such as Tagore, Amartya Sen and Satyajit Ray (Ok they are from West Bengal but still). Producers of epic bonkers-genius action films and a new artform as a by-product: The Electronic Programme Guide Haiku.

In particular, the channels that cater for the Bangladeshi community on Sky satellite are all free to air (something conspicuously absent for channels for the Punjabi, let alone Gujarati community).

This means that its quite usual to stumble across feature films playing on the main channels (Bangla TV, Sky 791, Channel S (Sylheti TV), Sky 814, and two Bangladeshi channels on Sky 826 and 827 whose names escape me).

Its GREAT. Because the prevailing culture is still conservative, the films have not yet lapsed into flesh-flashing shit softcore rutting of their pretentious neighbours in India. (Alas, modern-style progressive films don't mean women who can make their own decisions about where they work and live their lives in Bollywood cinema, but they do tend to mean women prancing about in Bikinis and being exactly as servile to their menfolk as the days of the bouffant and dupatta). Also. The women in these films...

How to describe?

For a start, they ain't having nothing to do with this superwaif shit. Bangladeshi lasses are well fed, and there is something glorious about watching them in dance routines and love scenes completely unfazed by any comparisons with Bollywood ex-models.

Watch them and the thing that strikes is just how stunningly violent these women are.

I mean they are fierce.

I've lost track of the number of Indian films (this being a culture that supposedly venerates women where apologists prattle on about Indian godesses) where the basic plotline is:

Indian woman moping

Its true that Bangldesh suffers appalling violence against women, but I've seen far more fights (proper headkickings) involving women battering men, and generally being shouty (and crucially not being punished for it) than the standard helpless Fair and Lovely maiden rescued by action hero of Bollywood.

These are normally labelled Social films in the Electronic programme guide (EPG).

Which is where Bangldeshi cinema truly excels.

I don't know who it is that has drafted the EPG descrptions of these films, they tend to be repetitive, but they are wonderful to read:

For the Film Shopner Bhalobasha (shown June 2007 on ATN Bangla):
This is a story about a rising singer entangled in the trap of social discriminations and triangle love..

The film Mone Pore Tomake (Ch 814, May 2007):
It is a beautiful story of triangular love. Passion struggle and sacrifice for love have been depicted here with a great emotional view.

The action epic Adhihar (May 2007):
This movie portrays the protest againstcorruption in the society

And then there is existential oddness:

Rajdhani (ch 827 June 2007):
In this mysterious world, anything can happen. Gratefulness could have opposite meaning. Love could be fake. This movie depicted the fact with an artistic view.

and the films Protishodh and Gang Chill both have the following cryptic note:
If you want to be something special, you must have to keep your eyes open. Are you ready? Keep watching the movie and get the answer.

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