'Monpura' famed director Giasuddin Selim has started shooting his fourth film 'Gunin'. It will be produced by OTT platform Chorki and Porimoni, along with Shariful Raj, will be playing the lead actors.
Before departing for shooting, Giasuddin Selim engaged in a candid conversation with The Business Standard where he shared interesting details about his films as well as his personal life.
The Business Standard (TBS): Firstly, tell us a bit about your fourth film 'Gunin'.
Giasuddin Selim (GS): Before talking about Gunin, I would like to talk about my favorite writer Hasan Azizul Huq. He wrote a wonderful story, which I thought could be turned into a movie. He is a teacher of my university, hence it is a happy and proud moment for me to make a movie from one of his stories.
That is why I am working with great interest in this project. I don't want to share the story's premise just now. Let the audience watch the story on screen. Although it is a feature film of Chorki, it will be first released in theatres and then will be available on the OTT platform.
TBS: What is the shooting location and who are you casting for this movie?
GS: I don't want to mention the exact shooting location for good reasons. But I am shooting outside Dhaka. Besides Porimoni and Shariful Raj, many others, including Mostafa Monwar, artist Sarkar Apu, Dilara Zaman, Azad Abul Kalam have been cast.
TBS: Your fourth movie is being shot now. The lead actress for two of your movies is Porimoni. Are there any special reasons for this?
GS: It's actually because of the circumstances of the film industry. Filmmaking is one of those things where no one knows where the profit is. The project probably required an actress like her. There is no specific reason.
TBS: A lot has happened in Porimoni's life recently, including a few controversial issues. Didn't you feel it was risky casting her in your new film?
GS: No. People's personal lives and professional lives are separate from each other. As a human being, as an artist and as a colleague, we should be supporting her. We should not be too judgemental regarding Porimoni's issues. Life is unpredictable and we cannot say what will happen in someone's life the next second.
TBS: Most of your movies have a genuine connection with nature, including our beautiful villages and rivers. Presumably, your childhood was very radiant?
GS: I was born in the village and spent my childhood in Feni. The village's name is Jahanpur and it is four to five kilometers away from Feni city. I lived there till I was a student of Class Three. I spent a significant period of my childhood there. I grew up in an extended family. At that time there was no electricity in our village. I along with my cousins used to do numerous fun activities together all day long.
Even though we did not have electricity, the funny thing was that still we had everything we needed to lead a good life. Only kerosene or salt might have been purchased from the market. The rest were produced fresh. In some of our lands we grew onions and in some we grew ginger. We also produced paddy. There was a pond in front of our house where lots of Lotus flowers bloomed. Picking them was a very significant task for us. So as I spent my childhood in a village, it definitely has an impact in my movies.
TBS: Did you pursue education there as well?
GS: I studied at Jahanpur Government Primary School till Class Three. Then, I got admitted to Feni Pilot Primary School and after that Feni Pilot School and College. Finally, I got admitted to Rajshahi University's Marketing department. Study came second to me as I used to spend hours doing dramas and theatre. I was gaining knowledge through my theater practice.
TBS: Did you start writing plays at the same time?
GS: I used to write poetry during my teenage years and then I wrote a few street plays while studying in university. At that time, I wrote a drama from a part of Akhtaruzzaman Elias's famous literary work 'Chilekothar Sepai'. It was a thrilling adventure. He was supposed to come from Dhaka to see the play. But he couldn't travel by bus. He had to take a plane. Unfortunately, we could not raise the money at that time.
TBS: You studied marketing but now you are a full-fledged filmmaker. Is it sad to not be able to wander into the world of marketing?
GS: Absolutely not. I really enjoy the profession I am in. If I pursued a career in a multinational company, maybe I would be working in a big position. But I do not know what it would be like for a person like me as I do not have that experience. Moreover, I did not want that life and hence I do not have any regrets.
TBS: At which point of your life did you decide to stay in the media?
GS: After finishing my studies when I came to Dhaka in search of a livelihood, I formed an advertisement firm with Salauddin Lavlu and Masum Reza. I had experience in copywriting. So one day Lavlu Bhai told me that since I am good at writing, I should start writing dramas for television. My first written television drama was 'Pounopounik'. It was directed by Kawsar Chowdhury and my career took flight after it was aired. You can say that in one night I became a star playwright. That's when I decided not to get a job and stay in the media.
TBS: You debuted as a director through 'Biprotip'. But you did not have any experience as a director at the time. Did you find the task difficult?
GS: It was a seven-episode drama and I was given the responsibility to write the play. Nawazish Ali Khan was supposed to be the director but later he did not work. Then Masum Bhai told me to do it. But I did not know anything about directing. I didn't even know how to shoot. But I am lucky that I got Nurul Alam Atique as the first assistant director. The second assistant director was Samir Ahmed and Jayanto was the production manager. Opu Rozario was on camera. They all came from outside the country having studied filmmaking. So the drama was well made because I had their assistance.
TBS: Giasuddin Selim has a signature style in all of his creations. How did you achieve this distinctive style?
GS: Every human being is different from each other. If a man draws a picture, he draws using his own imagination. If he writes poems, he does the same. Everyone has their own style derived from their own creativity. The case is the same for me. However, I'm lucky that people like my style. This is what gave me the courage to create more movies. So, after seven years of making dramas, I started filmmaking.
TBS: 'Monpura' was your first shot in filmmaking and then after a break of about nine long years, you resumed work as a filmmaker. What was the reason?
GS: The reason is very simple. In between, I started working for a film called 'Kajol Rekha' and unfortunately I wasn't able to finish it. But I kept insisting that I will finish it. In the end, I gave up and started working on 'Swapnajaal'.
TBS: Can we now expect regular films from you?
GS: Hopefully. Cinema halls are closing down one by one but new cinema halls are being built as well. Now there are OTT platforms as well. Hence, I am optimistic as we can now legally watch movies from home. Also, my third cinema 'Paap Punno' has received the censor board's clearance. So it will be released soon.