Bangladesh's once-vibrant film industry is now struggling to survive
Film actors, directors, producers and critics yesterday appealed to the state to bring back the golden days of the country's dying film industry.
The industry, which directly or indirectly employs about two million people, is struggling in the absence of support from the state and much of society, industry leaders said during a discussion meeting in Dhaka with Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu.
“There were 1,500 theaters across the country in 1971. Forty-one years later the number has fallen to 600 and the majority lack a decent environment,” said Amzad Hossain, a filmmaker.
Most of the cinemas don’t have digital screens, and there is only one multiplex cinema in the country.
“Lack of state support and monitoring, uninviting theater environments, indecency in cinema, piracy, the aggression of satellite TV channels and a lack of good artists, scripts and directors are behind the fall of the film industry,” Hossain said.
About 150 to 200 films were produced per year in the 1970s and 1980s, but now only 10 to 20 films come out of Bangladesh a year, he added.
Actress Rokeya Prachi says the state-run Film Development Corporation (FDC) is old-fashioned, ill-equipped and doesn’t help produce good films.
“The FDC must improve dramatically to save the film industry,” she said.
She also said the government needs to stop film piracy and create tax holidays for new cinemas to encourage growth.
Cinemagoer Anisul Haque, 45, is an example of how the film industry is losing its audience.
“Even 10 or 12 years ago I used to go to the cinema every week, but now it’s not more than once a month. Movie plots and actors don’t entertain me anymore,” he said.
He believes a wave of indecency in Bangla cinema in the past decade has left a negative impression on people.
“Many people now think film is not a good profession and the cinema is not the place to watch movies. Only good films can change this scenario,” Haque said.
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