Abu Shahed Emon, a Bangladeshi filmmaker with close ties to Busan, is back at the festival with “No Ground Beneath the Feet,” directed by debutant Mohammad Rabby Mridha. He braved two weeks of quarantine to be in Busan in person.
The film, which premieres at the festival’s ‘A Window on Asian Cinema’ strand, follows the travails of an ambulance driver in Dhaka and the struggles of his wife in a slowly shrinking river delta, while tackling universal themes of climate change, poverty and societal ills. The cast includes Mostafa Monwar, who won best performance at the 2016 Singapore International Film Festival for “Live from Dhaka”), Priyam Archi and Deepanwita Martin (“Made in Bangladesh”).
Emon has been busy during the pandemic and will continue being so in the months to come. As a producer, he has a raft of films in various stages of production via his Golpo Rajjo Films.
Drama “Patalghor” by Noor Imran (“Komola Rocket”) boasts a star studded cast including Nusrat Faria, Afsana Mimi, Mamun-or-Rashid, Rawnak Hasan, Nazia Haque Arsha, Fazlur Rahman Babu, Salauddin Lavlu, Moutushi Biswash, Gias Uddin Selim, Nasir Uddin and Mamun Ul Haque. The film, which is in the final stages of production, is produced by co-produced by Faridur Reza Sagar and Tahrima Khan and executive produced by Mir Mukarram Hossain. It is a Box Office Multimedia presentation of a Golpo Rajjo Films production, in association with Impress Telefilm Limited and Batayan Productions.
Golpo Rajjo has teamed with Piplu R. Khan’s Applebox Films (“Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale”) for three projects. An as yet untitled drama directed by Khan, starring Jaya Ahsan and Mohsina Akhter has also nearly completed production and is gearing up for its world premiere. Ahsan also produces via her C-te Cinema outfit. In addition, Golpo Rajjo and Applebox’s horror-mystery-fantasy “A Blessed Man,” by British-Bangladeshi director Sadik Ahmed (“The Last Thakur”) is due to commence principal photography at the end of the year; and Iqbal Hossain Chowdhury’s debut feature, sports drama “Boli,” which has received a Bangladesh government grant.
“During his debut documentary’s journey ‘Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale’ me and Piplu R. khan traveled to DMZ Documentary festival in Korea and to Film Bazaar India and shared lots of ideas for collaborating and curating original voices,” Emon tells Variety. “His debut fiction, and the two other films are the reflection of that understanding where we are trying to create a healthy ground for producing original ideas together.”
Emon is also a film consultant at one of Bangladesh’s largest studios, Impress Telefilm, where Faridur Reza Sagar and Ebne Hasan Khan have films like the Emon directed “Jalal’s Story,” the Emon co-produced “Sincerely Yours Dhaka” and Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s “Third Person Singular Number,” all of which were Bangladesh entries to the Oscars.
Emon served as creative producer on veteran Bangladeshi director Gias Uddin Selim’s drama-romance “Pap-Punya,” starring Chanchal Chowdhury, Shahnaz Sumi, Siam Ahmed and Afsana Mimi, which is currently awaiting theatrical release once the COVID situation gets better; Niamul Mukta’s (“Kathbirali”) thriller “Roktojoba,” starring Nusrat Imrose Tisha (2012 Busan closer “Television”) in the lead role, which is in post; and Raihan Rafi’s account of the Bangladesh soccer team during the 1971 war “Damal,” starring Bidya Sinha Mim, Shahnaz Sumi, Siam Ahmed and Shariful Raaz, also in post.
Saiful Islam Mannu’s inspirational drama “Payer Chaap,” starring Meghla Mukta, is also under way, while debutant Mahmud Didar’s social drama “Beauty Circus,” starring Ahsan, is in post.
Emon is also a producer on Tahrima Khan’s sports documentary “Munni,” which won the Cannes Docs Think-Film Impact Award.
Finally, Emon’s directorial venture “A Foolish Man,” which has some funding from Busan’s Asian Cinema Fund and participated in the Asian Project Market and numerous labs including Film Bazaar and Locarno Open Doors, will shoot in early 2022.
In 2010, Emon participated in Busan’s Asian Film Academy program, and in 2012 received a scholarship for a filmmaking masters’ degree from the Korea National University of Arts. Also in 2012, Emon’s short “The Container” received Busan’s AFA Fellowship Fund and participated in the festival’s short film competition. His debut feature “Jalal’s Story” (2014) received the Busan Asian Cinema Fund post-production award and was a contender at the New Currents strand. “Sincerely Yours Dhaka” played at Busan in 2018 and in 2019 Emon was part of the Platform Busan program.
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