By Goutam Shankar
At the end of seven minutes, the jam-packed audience at the Nandan – II Auditorium sat still and speechless, mesmerized by the depiction of Jihad – a term that the world has been forced to shudder at.
It took long, lingering moments for the effect of this short film to sink in before the hall reverberated with loud applause of an audience that gave a standing ovation when it was premiered at Kolkata recently.
Nasir Hossain, a builder, has produced this film. Far from pure materialistic pursuits, he is a keen observer of human life and delves deeply into world events that directly or indirectly motivate thought processes and actions.
Nasir stated that his studies and experiences gave birth to many ideas that he wanted to share with people but talking amidst friends and familiar people would not satisfy him. He wanted reactions from wider quarters to his thoughts.
‘Jihad’ was one such idea. “’This half-understood concept of ‘Jihad’ is being rubbed the wrong way. It perturbs not only me but the human community. Half knowledge is dangerous as the world is seeing and feeling now more than ever.
“’Jihad’ comes from the Arabic term, ‘Jihada’ which means, in the holy text, to fight the evil within us. It has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.”
He gave the example of a drug addict trying to combat and shed the habit. “He fights within himself to kick the habit and when this addict emerges out of the craving, he has waged ‘Jihad’.”
Nasir said that he felt that only the experienced and time-tested, young cine director, Tathagata Bhattacherjee would be able to do justice to his concept.
The filmmaker, when queried on ‘Jihad’, observed, “Nasir’s concept immediately attracted me. It posed a big challenge to me for two reasons. First, ‘Jihad’ is in the international news for all the wrong reasons and that outlook needed a change through depiction of truth by bringing out the real meaning and purpose of ‘Jihad’ as per the holy texts.
The second reason was that it was to be made in Arabic, an alien language. A lot of research work has gone into this film. The end result, ‘Jihad’ is there for all to see and absorb.”
And absorb the audience did at Nandan – II.‘Jihad’ will next be screened at other national and international Short Film forums. “The heart-warming response here has added to my urge of exhibiting ‘Jihad’ in its true meaning to the world. Tathagatda (director Tathagata Bhattacherjee) has added the depth and meaning to this sensitive subject in a seven-minute celluloid essay,” stated producer Nasir Hossain.
Director Tathagata Bhattacherjee made a point when he urged theKolkata audience, stating before the screening, “Don’t clap after viewing the film. Let the concept of ‘Jihad’ seep into your thoughts. Feel the impact of reality as defined in the holy text.”
A tumultuous ovation to the film was the response.