Friday, November 2, 2012

Nagpoornima: Just Another Snake Cinema

Bangladesh, 1983
Dir: Masud Parvez
Main Actors: Sohel Rana, Babita, Rozina, Adil.
Format: 35 mm
Duration: 135 mins
The Kalnagini (female black cobra) targeted a pet bird of a child for her dinner. The baby girl hits the snake with a stick for taking her bird. The Kalnagini bites the girl, the daughter of a snake-charmer, dies. The angry father plays the flute to find the Kalnagini and kills the son of the Kalnagini. Raged Kalnagini declares she will kill the son of the snake-charmer and thus will make him childless. The father rushes to Sadhu Baba, the saint. Sadhu Baba prescribes a difficult and complex way to save Mangol, the son. The snake-charmer has to feed the venom of black cobra everyday for 12 years. The boy was also given an armlet by the Sadhu Baba. The armlet must not be put off from Mangol’s body. If it is put off and one snake bites him meanwhile, from the next full moon, Mangol will be in trouble.
The snake-charmer follows the prescription. Mangol grows by drinking venom everyday. The young Mangol falls in love with Lachi, a beautiful neighbouring girl. The grandson of the head of the snake-charmers, Sheru also loves Lachi and wants to marry Lachi. He sends some thugs to kill Mangol. Mangol defeats them. But while fighting, his armlet was put off. And at that time the Kalnagini keeps her promise by biting Mangol.

Friday, September 21, 2012

‘I am assertively hearing footsteps of a change’

Fahmidul Haq, associate professor of mass communication and journalism at the University of Dhaka who has authored several books on the country's mainstream and digital cinema, is hopeful about positive changes to Bangladesh’s film industry. AKM Atikuzzaman writes

How do you relate the state of movie theatres with the sorry state of the country's cine culture?
Cinema halls are an integral part of cine culture so much so that without the former the latter will disappear. Watching in small screens or discussing movies might continue, yet diminished would be the cine culture in its proper sense. Absence of halls in a country would even bring its production of films to an end, although we might keep watching foreign movies in small screens.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Social Media: The Debate on Freedom and Responsibility

Defining social media Social media is a web-based platform where people share information, thoughts and activities. Social media has overtaken pornography as the number one activity on the web. According to Wikipedia, social media includes web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue ( The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centred design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web ( Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, video sharing sites, hosted services and web applications. The news site, Indymedia was formed after the anti-WTO movement started in Seattle in 1999. Later the news site opened 120 branch sites from Boston to Bombay (Beckerman, 2003). The reporter-activists of Indymedia do not believe in objectivity. They believe that no journalism is without bias and the mainstream claims neutrality to mask these biases. If the Seattle incident gave birth to Indymedia, 9/11 popularised the blog. The Iraq War increased the number of bloggers. This proves that bloggers want to express their opinions of major global incidents, and in many cases they provide instant information regarding the incidents. Thus, they play the role of citizen journalists and respond on behalf of humanity and to the greater causes of majority people. According to the blog search engine Technorati, there were 133 million blogs from 2002 to 2008. Every hour, 0.9 million blogs are posted in cyberspace ( Though not all, but a significant number of blogs are run by strong activists. Several bloggers around the globe have been arrested for writing against repressive governments. And recently, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been added in the row. Though these sites were introduced to offer casual friendship, they were used as key components in the contemporary Arab Spring. The social networking site, Facebook was introduced in 2004. Just six years after its inception, the number of Facebook users crossed 500 million (now 800 million). It has become the third biggest 'country' in the world (Fletcher, 2010).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Role of Media in Creating Consumer Culture in Bangladesh

The neo-liberal and free market economic system and deregulated media situation have ensured introduction of numerous commercial media outlets in Bangladesh. These entire media world are dedicated to create and to enhance consumer culture in the country. They are engaged in selling audience to the advertisers. This article will critically analyse how the media sell the audience to the advertisers. The theoretical aspect the political economy of communication would be instructive here in the critical engagement and case studies would be the method to investigate the role of media in creating consumer culture in Bangladesh. The areas of investigation in the article would be some cases selected from the newspapers, private television channels and FM commercial radios.

Media Sells Audience
In course of time, the idea of audience had shifted from mass to market. As the media have become bigger business, the term ‘market’ has gained in currency (McQuail, 2005). Media usually sells the market or this set of consumers to the advertisers. Denis McQuail defined audience as an ‘aggregate of actual or potential consumers of media services and products, with a known social-economic profile’ (McQuail, 2005: 399). In recent times audience is treated by media not as a group of public, rather a set of consumers.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Telecommunication sector under threat

The latest news in the telecom sector is "International Terrestrial Cable (ITC) license holders will be allowed/issued International Internet Gateway (IIG) license by default." The ITC license holders have already had meetings with the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (MoPT) and Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on the matter.

The reason they have shown in issuance of IIG license in their favour is that, as Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited (BTCL) and Mango Teleservices Limited (Mango) are holding both IIG and ITC licenses, if they are not given IIG license then they don't have any valid business case with ITC license only. One may be surprised to know that MoPT and BTRC may be considering such a request.

Issuance of the IIG license to ITC license holders would clearly cause procedural and legal difficulties for which the government/BTRC could come under questioning. If ITC license holders are of the opinion that BTCL and Mango are a threat to their business and they don't have any valid business case with ITC license only, then we may conclude that these five ITC license holders have submitted incorrect/wrong business documents/

feasibility reports without assessing their business risk factors; or they don't have any clear idea regarding ITC business; or BTRC/MoPT have failed to assess bidders properly and awarded these license wrongly. Before bidding, these ITC license holders knew that BTCL as an incumbent would be allowed one ITC license by MoPT/BTRC and Mango, as a prospective bidder for ITC license and as per the ILTDS Policy-2010, would also be awarded ITC license.