All Section, Education & Culture

Zahir Raihan: Through pen and screen

Published : 21 May 2019 05:30 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 06:56 PM

Zahir Raihan is an iconic writer, novelist and filmmaker.  He had such a personality that in order show the truth he rarely cared about his own life. He remains ever immortal through his writings and films. His persistence in devoting himself for the awakening of the Bengali nation during the then domination of Pakistan is evident in his works.

We cannot help but look back again at the masterful works which this great personality has left. The most iconic element of this great filmmaker is the film Stop Genocide where he penned a documentary about the great Liberation War of Bangladesh. 

Another noteworthy film of Zahir Raihan is ‘Arek Phalgun’ where he talks about the Language Movement in 1952. Besides this he came into the spotlight through his milestone of a film titled ‘Jibon Theke Neya’. Here, he has taken stories from real life and established them in order to ignite the fire of freedom among the Bengali people long before the war of '71 was in horizon. 

Zahir Raihan was born in Feni, Bangladesh on 19 August, 1935 as Abu Abdar Mohammad Zahirullah. Having graduated from the Department of Bengali at University of Dhaka, he started his career as a Journalist at the daily Juger Alo. It's not as if journalism had occupied all his time. He was writing during this time too and his first collection of short stories titled Surjagrahan was published in 1955. 

With his role as the assistant director during the shooting of the film ‘Jago Huya Sabera’ he stepped for the first time into the film industry. His writings are based on real life; this statement can be solidified through watching his films and reading his novels. Many of his novels have also been dramatised and included in the text book for students to study. 

One example that comes into mind is ‘Hajar Bachhor Dhore’. This classic novel has also been adapted and made into a film with famous actors like Riaz, Shashi, Shahnoor, Suchanda and ATM Shamsuzzaman. A crystal clear depiction of a polygamous society and a cry against abusing of women, the novel and film are both great to foster development of ethics and morality.

Although most of the films that have been adapted from his novels were made years after his death, they are still masterpieces that reflect society and culture as it was at that time and is still persistent in the 21st century. It is not as if his works were confined to novels and short stories. He has also written songs. An iconic title that comes to mind right now is 'E Desh Tomar Amar'. 

It is to be mentioned that Zahir Raihan still remains an incomparable filmmaker. During the time of the Liberation War he was facing monetary problems, still he donated the lion's share from his film showing money to the 'Freedom Fighter's Trust. 

His noteworthy literary pieces are ‘Surja Grahan’, ‘Arek Phalgun’, ‘Borof Gola Nodi’ and many more. His intense love towards his countrymen is evident in his writings. His tries of shedding light on the oppressed and sufferers have forever and more made him immortal in the literary and screen scene of Bangladesh.