By Farid Ahmed;
Women’s bodies have historically been the unacknowledged casualties of war for too long. Rape and sexual abuses are not just a by-product of war but are used as a deliberate military strategy to perpetuate social control and redraw ethnic boundaries.
Bangladesh’s liberation war was no exception.
Daag (Scratch) – a 13-minute film by director Josim Ahmed sketched one such incident portraying a rape that led to revenge. The short film has already created a strong vibe with its selection in the Cannes Film Festival 2017.
Written by the director himself, Daag has been selected for the short film corner of the Cannes (Cannes court Metrage) making it the first short film of Bangladesh ever in the category. Sharmin Joha Soshee, Shotabdi Wadud, Bakar Bakul have acted in this Film.
Depicted on the urban Dhaka’s old landscape featuring a wedding, joy and festivity with crackers centering the event in 1979, the beginning of the film has captured a heritage.
Blasting sounds and lightening of firecrackers being a part and parcel of wedding ceremonies of old Dhaka, however, did not bring joy of happiness for the bride – Shila. Brutally raped by a collaborator of Pakistani army in 1971, her horrific experience flushes her memories in a parallel portrayal on the first night of her wedding.
During the war of liberation, Shila was an inhabitant of old part of Dhaka with her father. Her fiancé Zafar – a guerrilla freedom fighter – once storms into her place to inform her of an imminent guerrilla attack on the city in which he will take part.
But as he poises to leave on the security ground of the family, Shila bemoaned him with her courage of feminine gravitas symbolising the role of women in the war of liberation.
With Zafar’s departure, hailstorm broke on her door with a gang of Pakistani collaborators who looked for the guerrilla fighter and murdered her father. Top notch of the gang was Khayer who took the opportunity of Shila’s shocked vulnerability and raped her.
The face and posture of Khayer stitched in her memory that took her to look for him for a vengeance. To her, the war was yet to be ended. Khayer, however, forgot all his misdeeds as he got married and swooped on her with habitual style of bestiality on the wedding night.
Shila this time was prepared for her revenge.
The film has portrayed mastery in its photography, music and costume. Suspense created in portraying turbulent time of war, use of colour in choosing costume on the verge of deflection and parallel portrayal of two different times in juxtapose to depict the horror of insult, agony, pain and revenge can be thought provoking.
This is the first film of Josim Ahmed. Before this, he created many documentaries and dramas for the small screen. He mostly featured the Liberation War of Bangladesh in his documentaries which have received a lot of appreciation.
His documentary ‘Bondishalay Noy Mash’ that featured the nine month story of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman imprisonment of Pakistan has received a lot of praise.
Ahmed is still a real fighter!