Modernising BFDC In conversation with Pijush Bandyopadhaya
Pijush Bandyopadhaya has treaded into all media, including theatre, television, films and radio and has seized success at every step. An acclaimed cultural activist, Pijush is one of the founder members of Dhaka Theatre. Pijush, who recently took over the role of Managing Director of BFDC (Bangladesh Film Development Corporation), also fought valiantly in the Liberation War. He recently talked to The Daily Star on his plans to develop the film industry.
What's your take on the recent government announcement on terming films as an industry?
Pijush: I feel it's a great start. The idea of BFDC, its infrastructure, and establishment -- all came from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in 1957. This recent announcement is a milestone for us, as the government officially recognised cinema as an industry. It is a great honour for all the people involved with films. The announcement also opened many windows for our films.
All the benefits of the industry policies can be enjoyed from now on -- which should help realise the dreams surrounding our films. People from both inside and outside BFDC will be benefited by this move. I urge both the talented newcomers and the veterans to step forward and work together to make full use of these opportunities.
What are your goals as the new managing director of BFDC?
Pijush: I want to take a two-pronged approach with our films. One would be to change the perspective of our society, and the other would be to use cinema to present the achievements and culture of our country to the rest of the globe. If we have proper planning, as well as the support of the government, much can be achieved. Our current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is very keen to improve and develop Bangladeshi cinema. I also hope that quality movies will be able to stop the erosion of society.
What steps have you taken after taking office?
Pijush: We are slowly working towards our goals. After becoming the MD, I was shocked to see that BFDC didn't have its own library; so work on setting up one has begun. BFDC also doesn't have its own archive. We want to make arrangements to preserve the worn-out machines, which in its days produced many crowd-pleasers. We will also try to preserve many important documents, so that the history of our film industry can later be presented to the next generation. We are also trying to speed up the process of setting up a film institute. We have taken some plans to arrange better accommodations for BFDC employees too.
How much modernisation does BFDC require?
Pijush: I feel it is extremely necessary. If the modernisation is not done, then our Prime Minister's Vision 2021 will fail. If we cannot bring modern touches to our films, then we will continue to fall behind films from other countries.
Many movie theatres are being shut down. What is your opinion on this?
Pijush: The shutting down of cinema halls is a very sad thing. Because there will be no purpose of a film, if the audience do not have a place to watch. There are many reasons behind movie theatres closing down. The Hall owners did not act responsibly and did not attempt at introducing modern facilities. They did not give priority to the viewers' demands and comfort. So many halls were forced to shut down. They could've been commercially successful, but lacked the initiative.
Can Bangladeshi cinema regain its lost glory?
Pijush: I think so. The government's support is needed to meet that goal. The universities of our country are now teaching films as a subject. I believe that this generation -- with its fresh ideas -- will help regain the glory of our cinema.