As Pakistan struggles to eke out funds from IMF & Gulf, its military profits from sale of patriotism, propaganda on screen



International Desk, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Pakistan as a state is almost spreading its apron to get funds from International Monetary Fund (IMF) and friendly states in the Gulf, but its military is minting money in ways unheard of in the annals of professional armies. Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the communication wing of the military, is not merely limited to its job of briefing media and public of military’s various activities. It has established itself as the only arm of any military in the world that is producing, and controlling, the entertainment content in the country.

Be it Television series, movies, songs and advertisements and reality shows, the ISPR are producing all like a professional production house. Buried within its content, however, is hardcore propaganda that portrays military as saviour of Pakistan and the cause of Kashmir as a cherished humanitarian mission.

The entertainment industry has been collaborating with governments and the defence establishments world-over. The most glaring example is Hollywood enjoying long-standing relationship with the US Department of Defense. However, this association has largely been for the benefit of productions of movies dealing with wars and conflicts.

But, in case of the ISPR, it seems a matter of smoothening military’s image in the eyes of Pakistani public, selling patriotism and smartly peddling propaganda. As expected, the Kashmir cause is highlighted prominently in the ISPR productions.

Selling Patriotism, Spinning a Web of Propaganda
The ISPR has created or financed more than 60 patriotic anthems, 20 documentaries, and around ten television series and motion pictures apiece over the years. However, in the previous two years, there has been an increase in activity with an emphasis on establishing a favourable image of the nation and the military. When Major General Asif Ghafoor, then-Director General of the ISPR, spoke about the necessity for the media to raise public awareness and underlined its frontline position in fifth generation warfare a few years ago, he underscored this.

The involvement of the Army in Pakistan’s entertainment industry has evolved over the decades. During the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq (1977-1988), severe censorship was imposed on the performing arts sector. Later, under President Pervez Musharraf (1999-2008), the sector was liberalised, resulting in the burgeoning of private television channels. Today, it is an active partner and co-creator of popular content.

One prominent recent production of the ISPR is a telefilm titled Aik Hai Nigaar, which is based on the life of Pakistan’s first female three-star general, Lieutenant General Nigar Johar, was released on August 14, 2021. It featured Mahira Khan, who is the country’s biggest star. She also wore the producer’s hat for the project (on behalf of the ISPR).

The film was released around the country’s Independence Day and the ISPR was tagged on various social media posts along with the teaser of the flick. The ISPR then made the teaser viral by sharing it widely in different linked networks, giving the project its stamp of approval though it was not credited as a producer or co-creator.

The telefilm was well-received by the audience and grossed considerable moolah for the producers. More importantly for the ISPR, it was successful to generate goodwill for the Army, especially among the women viewers.

Another ambitious recent project of the ISPR has been a women-oriented drama series named Sinf e Aahan (Women of Steel). Centred on young women from different Pakistani cities and ethnicities joining Pakistani military, it stars all leading ladies of the Pakistani cinema like Sajal Aly, Kubra Khan, Yumna Zaidi, Ramsha Khan and Syra Yousuf. The series broke records of popularity and became a huge hit – the purpose that the military had aspired to achieve with its production.

Besides attracting youth and women towards Army, the ISPR has used references to Kashmir and enmity with India in the contents of the productions it has been associated with. It was no surprise that Squadron Leader Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by the Pakistani Army during the 2019 Balakot air strike, found a place in the ISPR drama series Ehd-e-Wafa, which also went on to become hugely popular among the viewers.

The ISPR also conceived and hosted the first National Amateur Short Film Festival in June 2021 to promote young talent “to produce high quality short films projecting a positive image of Pakistan”, which was attended by then Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The ISPR also produced a 26-episode military reality series called 60 Hours to Glory, which was based on one of the most difficult military contests dubbed the “Pakistan Army Team Spirit” and included eight local and four international teams. According to the ISPR’s Instagram post, it will “demonstrate the rigours of the Pak Army’s training regime, portraying ‘Why We Are the Best’.”

The goal of the programme was to “stimulate the entertainment industry to produce an innovative stream of thrilling and adventurous content.”

   

"Mujib: Shaper of a Nation" will go down in history



Upazilla Correspondent,Barta24.com, Gouripur(Mymenshing)
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

General Secretary of Gouripur Upazila Awami League of Mymensingh, Somnath Saha has commented that the film based on the life of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman 'Mujib: Shaper of a Nation' will be a document of history.

He made this comment while expressing his feelings after watching the movie 'Mujib Ekti Jatir Ropkar' with party leaders and workers at Priya Cinema Hall on Station Road in Gouripur city on Friday (October 20) night.

Somnath Saha said, 'Mujib is not just a movie about shaping a nation. It is the story of a teenager from Tungipara who became Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Juvenile Mujib once got involved in politics while talking about rights. He participated in language movement. Joined politics. The true history of the declaration of independence from the mass uprising, the call for the liberation war has come up in the movie.

At this time he urged people from all walks of life to come to the cinema hall and enjoy the film.

On October 13, the movie 'Mujib: the Rupkar of the Nation' was released at Priya Cinema Hall in Gouripur along with all over the country. Immediately after the liberation, the movie theaters in this town of Mofswal were crowded with spectators.

On Friday evening, under the courtesy of General Secretary of Upazila Awami League, Somnath Saha, five hundred people including party leaders, freedom fighters, students and common people sat together and enjoyed a movie at Priya cinema hall.

Masud Karim, Managing Director of Priya Cinema Hall, said that Mujib is a nation-shaping film and is getting response from the audience after the screening. Five hundred people enjoyed Awami League leader Somnath Dada's Friday evening show.

;

Inauguration of the premiere show of the movie 'Mujib: Ekti Jatir Rupakar' held today



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the premiere show of the movie 'Mujib: Ekti Jatir Rupakarr’, a biopic on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

On Thursday (October 12) at 10 am, she announced the opening by attending the premiere show of the film at Agargaon Bangladesh Film Archive in the capital.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Dr.Hassan Mahmud, actress Dilara Zaman, actor Arifin Shuvo, Nusrat Faria among others were present at that time.

The movie 'Mujib: Ekti Jatir Rupakar' based on the biography of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be released tomorrow Friday in 153 cinema halls across the country while in neighboring country India it will be released on October 27.

The film is a joint production of Bangladesh and India and is directed by famous Indian director Shyam Benegal. Bangladeshi actor Arifin Shubo played the role of Bangabandhu. Nusrat Imroz Tisha as Fazilatun Nesha Mujib, Nusrat Faria as Sheikh Hasina, Riyaz Ahmed as Tajuddin Ahmed. Dilara Zaman, Chanchal Chowdhury, Siam Ahmed, Zayed Khan, Khairul Alam Sabuj, Ferdous Ahmed, Dighi, Raisul Islam Asad, Gazi Rakayet, Taukir Ahmed, Misha Saudagar and more than a hundred popular artists of the country acted in other roles.

;

A short film about the cricket craze of expats is awash in praise!



Entertainment Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
photo: Collected

photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Just as the people of the country wait to watch the game of the Bangladesh cricket team, the expatriates also wait to hear the roar of the tiger on the field. However, their passion-mad image is often overlooked. But, this time their image has been presented to the people of the country by the producer Shafayet Hossain Shawon.

Actor Omar Sani and content creator Shamim Ahmed have acted in it. The short film was released on social media Facebook on October 6. It almost went viral in three days. The short film has crossed 33 lakh views. It has more than 8,000 shares with 350,000 reactions and 5,000 comments. Viewers are praising the work in all the comments.

About the short film, Omar Sani said, 'Even in a foreign country, the same emotion works for the Bangladesh cricket team in the minds of expatriates, it has been brought out here. The short film has been getting a huge response since its release. I hope Bangladesh will do great things in the World Cup with this love of people.

This special short film is produced by Star Line Food Products Limited. Director of the organization Main Uddin said that their initiative is to spread cricket passion and love among expatriates. Before this, the company has presented several short films about expatriates. They too received rave reviews.

;

‘Tabu used to cook food, we used to eat it for fun’: Badhan



Entertainment Desk, Barta24.com Dhaka
‘Tabu used to cook food, we used to eat it for fun’: Badhan

‘Tabu used to cook food, we used to eat it for fun’: Badhan

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Ajmeri Haque Badhan is a known face in the entertainment world. After the movie 'Rehana Mariam Noor', she was seen in the movie 'Rabindranath Ekhane Kokhono Khete Aseni’ directed by Srijit Mukharjee of West Bengal. She entered Tollywood through this movie. But this time she is not limited only to Dhallywood and Tollywood movies.

Recently she worked in Bollywood director Vishal Bharadwaj's film 'Khupiya'. She will be seen as a Bangladeshi woman in the movie 'Khupiya'. It is also known that she will be seen in a very important role even if she does not have much screen time.

The movie 'Khufia' is releasing on October 5 this year. The trailer of the movie 'Khupiya' was released last Monday (September 18) at noon. The 2 minute 39 seconds long trailer had mystery, action and romance.

While acting in this movie, she developed a good relationship with everyone. Although not friends with Tabu, who acted in the movie, a close relationship has developed. The actress also said that Tabu used to cook food for them and everyone enjoyed eating it.

Badhan said, those who like me and my work in Bangladesh will be interested in it. So they are excited after seeing the trailer. After watching the film, this love will hopefully increase. I am happy with the response I got in Bangladesh after watching the trailer. My many Kolkata fans also wished. It is a lovely place.

It is to be noted that she went to Mumbai to do a look test on September 26, 2021. The shooting started in Delhi the following month. That was the first lot of shooting of the movie. The shooting of the film was completed in 2022.

;