Thursday, December 22, 2005
photo: The filmmaker (in green) at spring festival of half-naked Sufi Saint - Langta Baba (right); the poster displayed at Montreal film festival (above); a village women shake at tune of Baul songs at the religious congregation (top)
Bangladesh born Canadian filmmaker Saiful Wadud Helal's short film COLOR OF FAITH (Bishwsher Rong) will be screened at Bangladesh International Short & Independent Film Festival 2005, Dhaka, 22-30 December.
After successful screening at prestigious Montreal Film Festival 2005, and South Asian Film Festival in December 2005 at New York, the film will now be screened in the his homeland where it was filmed last spring.
Helal is a journalist, television program director and a filmmaker. His previous two films Poet and Bonjour Montreal were released in 2000.
Each year at the end of spring hundreds of thousands of people gather for a week-long religious congregation in a remote village Badarpur, in Bangladesh. They sing and dance in remembrance of their saint ÂLangtaÂ. Hundreds of similar religious congregations of Sufi Saints are held in Bangladesh throughout the year.
Langta Baba, a Muslim Saint was a Sufi practitioner in ancient Bengal, who encouraged disciples from all faiths to believe in humanism. The different colors of faith blended into one, to experience the unity of all human beings. The villagers felt great pride that Langta Baba was a Bangla-speaking native who brought harmony between all faiths through special spiritual movement.
Albeit the film depicts a strong political statement through the simple language of the heart, and has also given an opportunity to the audience to interact with the disciples who remembers the Saint.
The people of this country struggle every day with nature for survival. They acknowledge, appreciate and revere all the forces of nature. Religious faith provides them with added strength and courage. The sapling of religious faith brought over by Sufis and saints from the dry, scorched earth of Middle East & mostly from Central Asia has blossomed in the moist, olden soil of Bangladesh. Nevertheless, the fruit it bore is considered forbidden by fundamentalists- as forbidden as Gandham (the forbidden fruit of paradise).
Today any and every place- from Bangladesh to Iraq, from Madrid to London- is vulnerable to the threats of the prevailing "culture of bombing". Even the deceased saint and his followers cannot escape this fear of terror. In a world where people blinded with self-interest don't hesitate to give up their values at a bargained price, can we possibly call these selfless, greedless people "fanatics"?
In ancient Bengal, the Sufi's practiced secularism and oneness of people. Recently the Islamist and Jihadis in Bangladesh declared the Sufi disciples as non-Muslim. There places were bombed, which mayhemmaiyham and fear. The fabric of secularism in the villages of floodplain Bengal has once again threatened.#
Please visit Saiful Wadud Helal's site for more information: http://homepage.mac.com/saiful/COLOROFFAITH.htm