MEHERJAAN (Bengali, 2011) - A Bangla Film About War and Love Starring Jaya Bachchan, Victor Banerjee and more

Meherjaan Bengali Movie Trailer

[Meherjaan (Meherjan) Bengali Movie Poster]Calcutta, Jan 30, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) MEHERJAN is a full-length Bengali feature film released in Bangladesh on Jan 21, 2011 produced by Ashique Mostafa under the banner of Era Motion Pictures.

The film is written and directed by Rubaiyat Hossain, with screenplay by Ebadur Rahman and Rubaiyat Hossain. The cinematographer is Samiran Datta, and the movie is edited by Sujan Mahmud and Mita Chakraborty. Subash Sahoo has engineered sound for the film, and art directors are Mashuk Helal, Tanseena Shaon and Neon Talukdar.

Music is directed by Neil Mukherjee.

Meherjan has a fabulous cast consisting of Indian and Bangladeshi actresses and actors, including Jaya Bachchan, Victor Banerjee, Humayun Faridi, Sharmili Ahmed, Khairul Alam Sabuj, Monira Mithu, Azad Abul Kalam Pavel, Shatabdi Wadud, Omar Rahim, Shaina Amin, Reetu A Sattar, Rifat Chowdhury, Iqbal Sultan and others.

The director Rubaiyat Hossain writes:

History is not a coherent narrative.

I learnt that first hand practically when I was doing the research for my MA dissertation. The purpose of my project was to look at the gradual disappearance of the raped women from the state sanctioned glorious narrative of the nation. Doing my research I realized that it is not only women who have been pushed to the fringes of 1971 history, rather there are many other groups who have been marginalized, the most ready example is of the population residing in the tribal belt.

A war is always made into a glorious narrative with certain male hero and villains. Women mostly appear as sacrificing creatures, mother and sisters who bravely let go of their men for the cause of the nation. Women also appear synonymous to the landscape, ready to be raped, plundered, and give their lives and izzat for the cause of the country. The purpose of Meherjaan is to break the glorious narrative of national history to open up a modest avenue to explore, perhaps, not only one or two, but multiple narratives of Muktijuddho.

History is always a creation of the present. We stand here, in our time and space, we look back in search of ourselves in the present time, and we piece together what we call history; stories of people who lived in the past. First of all, no one will ever know what it was actually like if one didn’t live it, however, there is at least one safe way to piece together a good enough contour of the past in order to comprehend the prominent political, socio-economic, cultural and spiritual forces at play during a certain chunk in time. This safe way is about making room for more than one voice. History has to be told, not only from the vantage point of the armed forces, the politicians, the freedom fighters, the men, rather, history has to be told from the voices of every other person that was left out, the old woman, the man who didn’t fight, and maybe a young girl who was coming of age and falling in love while the entire country plunged into hatred, killing, separatist emotions and nationalist turmoil.

The most intense love stories are those that are difficult to consummate. In Sufi philosophy love relationship between the divine and the devotee always remains fueled by the consciousness of the impossibility of union. Meherjaan love story is driven by such impossible material conditions of union and indefatigable emotional desire to unite. Perhaps, the story of death, violence, trauma and loss can be best told veiled in love and romance. Korean author Noeleen Heyzer, in her writing about Korean Comfort women’s sexual slavery during World War II, offers an aesthetic solution to overcome history of violence. She suggests that we look beyond feminist studies for a “more powerful power,” a “power” which is “life sustaining, liberating, and transforming.”

I believe love and compassion is that “power.”

While the world plunges into unlimited war and terror, we believe there is necessity to look outside the masculine ideology of nation-state and violence, in order to look for a feminine life sustaining language that is related to nature, beauty and love.

Meherjaan transgresses such superficial boundaries and longs for an impossible union in love. With this saga of love and romance we intend to instigate a process of healing the unattended wounds of 1971 by bringing out the otherwise inaudible voices of history.

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