Acclaimed director Humayun Ahmed’s latest celluloid feature “Ghetu Putro Komola” is being shot at Nuhashpolli, 55 kilometers away from the hubbub of Dhaka.
Ahmed says, the crew has shot in Brahmanbaria for six days; after Nuhashpolli, they will return to Brahmanbaria.
The shooting site at Nuhashpolli sounds busy. The commotion travels from the nearby pond, where the latest scene is being shot. Seated under a large umbrella, Ahmed shouts directions while keeping a keen eye on the monitor. As soon as he shouts “action!” the cameras start rolling, capturing young actor Mamun in the title role, on a boat in the middle of the pond.
It takes three shots before getting a nod from the writer-filmmaker, who asks everyone to applaud the effort. After a round of claps in unison, the unit gets ready for the next scene.
The film will be a big challenge for Ahmed as there are 96 scenes to be shot.
The next scene is a very emotional one between Tomalika Karmakar and Mamun. The son must join a ‘ghetu’ group to feed his family, but his mother is not ready to let him go. Just one take was needed this time. The actors’ performances seemingly bring Ahmed and his wife Shaon to tears.
What makes “Ghetu Putro Komola” so moving, says Ahmed, is that the film is based on a tradition that dates back 150 years.
Another scene is to be shot on a new set which took six months to build and will be the central point for several scenes of the ‘zamindar bari’. The entire unit gets busy preparing for the next shot.
Outside, under a tree, Ahmed strikes up an ‘adda’ (chat) with Jayanto Chattopadhyay, cameraman Mahfuzur Rahman Khan, Pran Roy, Shaon, Tomalika and Masud Akhand. Ahmed recalls the fun side of litterateur Ahmed Sofa. Jayanto also remembers several stories involving Sofa. According to Ahmed, he took Sofa to Comilla one. “But for some reason he got mad at me and walked all the way back to Dhaka,” he says. On another occasion the director was on a rickshaw with Sofa, when the latter suddenly collapsed and fell from the moving vehicle. Later, Ahmed found that Sofa hadn’t eaten in days.
Humayun Ahmed asserts that the film will have six songs, including five ghetu songs. The title song has been written by Ahmed, while singers like Selim Chowdhury, Kuddus Boyati, Fazlur Rahman Babu and SI Tutul have given their voices to Maksud Jamil Mintu’s tunes.
The film has an able crew as well. Mahfuzur Rahman Khan is the cinematographer, while Shaon is in charge of choreography. Masud Akhand is to take still photographs and art direction falls to Masum Rahman.
The ‘adda’ gradually wraps up as Tomalika gets ready for her next scene. Ahmed puts his eyes on the monitor again, with Shaon by his side.
Tomalika begins her dialogue. Shaon suggests that the actress shift her eyes three times to the camera, and Tomalika complies. Ahmed gives his nod after only two shots and directs everyone to get over with their meal as Brahmanbaria awaits them that afternoon.
Food arrives and Ahmed, Jayanto Chattopaddhay, Tomalika, Mahfuzur Rahman, Pran Roy, Shaon and Masud Akhand take their seats. The ‘adda’ resumes with Jayanto and Ahmed sharing many stories. The menu is an interesting mix of beef, chicken, hilsa and vegetables.
It’s time to move on after the meal.