May 23, 2024

Bangladeshi auteur Mostofa Sarwar Farooki has wrapped his latest film “Last Defenders of Monogamy.”

The cast is headlined by popular Bangladeshi actor Chanchal Chowdhury (“Karagar,” “Hawa”) and Xefer Rahman and the cast also includes Samina Hussain Prema and Shuddho Rai.

The film follows Shafqat (Chowdhury), a father of two adolescents and a loving husband, who is a firm believer in the ideals of monogamy but the winds of change take a big test of his ideologies.

“Working with Farooki is always special. With ‘Last Defenders of Monogamy’ we have tried to break the prevalent streaming trends of sex and violence and have delivered something new. With this film we are creating a new, diverse space in streaming,” Chowdhury said.

The film is part of leading Bangladesh streamer Chorki’s 12-film “Ministry of Love” anthology. The first film in the anthology, Farooki and Nusrat Imrose Tisha’s “Something Like an Autobiography,” premiered at Busan earlier this month, where it was in the prestigious Jiseok competition

“Not sure if it’s conscious but definitely my subconscious pushed me to pick two very different styles, temperaments and mood for two different films. ‘Monogamy’ was bound to happen as I have been missing doing this tragicomic stuff that encircles our life these days. Modern life is one big tragicomedy,” Farooki told Variety. “I made my first film ‘Bachelor’ which is cinematically poor but has a cult standing in Bangladesh due to its contextual relevance with urban youth’s romantic life. I took 20 years to come back with a new take in that zone but this time the central character is a married person. I am glad I waited this long for this as it allowed me to get a better and deeper understanding on the subject. No matter how you rate his choices, the character that Chanchal Chowdhury plays evokes a complex emotion. It’s not easy to love or hate him. Life doesn’t allow us to take sides like that.”

Chowdhury’s character in the film feels like a closely observed portrait. “As I always say, I take a cue from the world I live in. I steal things and change it in a way just so it’s not recognizable anymore. Chanchal Chowdhury’s character is certainly relatable from that of view. Maybe we won’t love to admit it but secretly we would know how relatable he is,” Farooki said.

Meanwhile, the next play date for “Something Like an Autobiography” is at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. The film follows Dhaka-based married couple, the filmmaker Farhan (Farooki) and actor Tithi (Tisha), who are under societal pressure to have a baby. Tithi conceives and towards the end of her pregnancy term an incident occurs that throws into sharp relief some realities of contemporary Bangladeshi society. The title, a nod to Kurosawa Akira’s celebrated memoir, is also reflective of the real lives of Farooki and Tisha, a real-life celebrity couple who are the most recognized filmmaker and actor in Bangladesh, respectively.

The film plays in Mumbai with a new ending, which Variety has seen. “I know it can be called sheer madness but I am sure it’s normal with many filmmakers. I don’t want to stop thinking about a film when I complete delivery. Although I know the rules of the game are we have to stop somewhere or else we would be constantly making one single film for our entire lifetime, but sometimes your heart wants to make some changes even after the premiere. I was moved by the audience’s reactions in Busan. But on my way back, I was feeling there is something more I want to tell. Something is stuck in my mind but I didn’t know what’s that. Few days back, I saw a dream. I woke and told Tisha, ‘I want to shoot this scene.’ And we shot it. I think this ending scene broadens the horizon of the film, makes the emotional palette much stronger, and blurs the boundary between real and life and fiction even further. I now love the film even more.”

“Last Defenders of Monogamy” and “Something Like an Autobiography” are produced by Redoan Rony for Chorki.  

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