A medium-sized local train was parked on platform number 9 at Kamalapur station. Its destination, Narayanganj. The departure time was supposed to be exactly at 10:50 in the morning, but today it was 5 minutes late.
This 5-minute delay means nothing to a local, as trains rarely maintain their schedules. The authorities knew beforehand that beloved actress Jaya Ahsan would board the train, which explained their uncharacteristic diligence.
But I didn't know which compartment Jaya was travelling in. On top of that, moving from one compartment to the other was no easy feat.
Luckily, I didn't have to struggle too much to find her, as most of the passengers on the train knew where she was and helped me find her.
Jaya's charisma has charmed people in Bangladesh, as well in Kolkata. There might soon be a possibility for her to cultivate a fanbase in Iran.
It is because, on 24 March, Jaya was on the train shooting for an Iranian film called 'Fereshte'. The majority of the members of the crew, including the director, were Iranian. But the language for the film was Bangla. It will be dubbed into Farsi for Iranian theatres.
The film is being co-produced by Bangladesh and Iran, and it will be released in both countries. It will be the first time Iranian viewers will see a Persian dubbed movie with Bangladeshi stars.
To shoot scenes for 'Fereshte', director Murtaza Atash Jamjam was also present on that local train. Jaya was accompanied by co-stars Nikita Nandini Shimu and Sumon Farooq.
After the establishing shots of the train sequence were captured, the whole crew packed up and retreated to a single carriage of the train. Jaya and the rest of the actors sat in one corner of the carriage.
Jaya was dressed in ordinary clothes with almost no makeup. Her simple attire nearly made her unrecognisable, just like her co-stars. At first glance it would be hard to differentiate them from other passengers on the train.
After a few moments, the train rolled out of the station. The next sequence of shots were in the interior of the carriage. Jamjam instructed the crew to take out the cameras and set up again, speaking through a translator who worked for the whole unit and deftly got across all the information to get the right shot.
It was a wide angle shot of Jaya Ahsan, Nikita Nandini Shimu and Sumon Farooq walking from the entrance of the carriage to the middle of it and taking their designated seats.
Afterwards, the three were accompanied by another passenger. A child actress by the name of Sathi. Mumit Al Rashid, a teacher at the University of Dhaka, who is also a consultant and advisor of the film, said that the little girl's character is impactful and important to the entire plot of the film.
After several takes, the director finally settled on one. By then the train had crossed two stations and it would soon reach its midpoint stopover in Narayanganj.
Another supporting cast member was added to the scene of the film. Md Rubel was a train singer, who plays a fictionalised version of himself. Passengers regularly listen to his songs while travelling. Jaya and others were filmed sitting and listening to his songs.
The train reached Narayanganj within an hour of finishing this scene. Everyone took a little break as the whole unit was exhausted from the heat and humidity.
After a brief respite, it was time to return to Dhaka. They were set to leave Narayanganj at 12:05 PM.
As soon as the train left the station, the shooting started up again. This time, Jaya and others had dialogue scenes.
"I can't remember how many days later I got on a local train inside the country," said Jaya to The Business Standard. "Although it was hard to shoot, especially in this summer heat, I enjoyed the whole journey very much. To make a good movie, this is the least we can do."
She further revealed that principal photography of this Iranian film will end in two or three days. After that, it will be released in the two countries.