‘Blessed to portray a story like Gondi’: Fakhrul A Khan

Dhaka, Feb 13 – Projecting the theme “friendship without boundaries,” Fakhrul Arefeen Khan-directed Bangladeshi film ‘Gondi’ (2020) has been adored by both audiences and critics and has recently been screened at several international festivals. The director shared his experience of making the film in a recent interview. The film, produced by Fakhrul’s production house ‘Gorai Films’ and starring veteran Indian-Bengali actor Sabyasachi Chakrabarti and eminent Bangladeshi actor Suborna Mustafa in the lead roles, has recently won the Best Audience Award in the “Bangladesh Panorama” section at the recently concluded 19th Dhaka International Film Festival-2021. It was also screened at the 3rd Bangladesh Film Festival-2021 in Kolkata, last week.
Marking the occasion of Pahela Falgun and Valentine’s Day, a special two-day screening of the film began Friday at the Shawkat Osman Auditorium in the Sufia Kamal National Public Library.
“‘Gondi’ was released on February 8, 2020 – and our beloved audiences embraced the film at that time – however, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and cinema halls got closed, we could not continue the screening for long. This year, we are arranging screenings like these for the love of our audiences who have always wanted to see these types of stories,” Khan said.
The film marks the first-ever performance of actor Sabyasachi Chakrabarti in a Bangladeshi film, alongside veteran Bangladeshi actress and MP Suborna Mustafa, actor Maznun Mizan, Aparna Ghosh, Payel Mukherjee, Shuvashish Bhowmick and child artist Mugdhota Morshed, portraying the role of ‘Arha’.
It is the second feature film of Fakhrul Arefeen Khan, who’s debut film ‘Bhuban Majhi’ (2017) based on the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh starring Indian-Bengali actor Parambrata Chatterjee and Bangladeshi actress Aparna Ghosh was both a critical and commercial success.
Speaking on his experience with working alongside veteran actors such as Sabyasachi and Suborna, Fakhrul said that it was a ‘blessing’ to work with these legendary superstars who vibrantly presented the true essence of the film through their wonderful on-screen performances.
Based on a story by Suvojit Roy, the storyline of ‘Gondi’ revolves around Asgar (Sabyasachi), a retired 60-year-old retired government officer who lives alone as a widower in Dhaka, dabbling in astrology to pass his time and suffering from dementia. His closest friend is his granddaughter Arha (Mugdhota) who lives in England with her parents (Maznun Mizan and Aparna Ghosh). The highlight of Asgar’s lonely days is the Skype call with his granddaughter every night.
Shamima (played by Suborna Mustafa), on the other hand, is a classy lady in her 50’s who is a dentist and a widow, whose daughter also lives in England. The fates of Asgar and Shamima coincided to play the role of Cupid as these two keep bumping into each other under hilarious circumstances. The eventual friendship between the two lonely people continues which their children misunderstood and heavily opposed, despite the two always remaining respectful to the barriers between their friendship.
With powerful dialogues such as “Is the term ‘friendship’ only applicable for the young souls, and we, the elderlies, are bound to wait for death?”, the film became a stand-out to the middle-class audiences who prefer to watch neat and clean films with thought-provoking dialogues and enthralling acting performances. “Dialogues and performances like these are rare these days, and the overall presentation of the film is pretty classy and eye-pleasingly good. I came here with my family and enjoyed the film for all the aesthetics,” Anik, a banker, shared his experience as an audience to UNB.
Calling his experience ‘delightful’, Fakhrul Arefeen Khan said, “The title of the film denotes ‘barrier’ – which I wanted to transcend in the film through narrating a refreshing story. ‘Gondi’ is all about transcending the barriers of not only friendship but also healthy relationships between people in our surroundings, and I am blessed to narrate this unique story of friendship, through this film.”
The special two-day screening of ‘Gondi’ will be continued on Saturday at 11 am, 3 pm and 6 pm at the Shawkat Osman Auditorium in the Sufia Kamal National Public Library. Ticket price for this special screening is 100 Tk and will be available at the venue. – UNB