Bangladeshi-born British author and theatre director Leesa Gazi’s first documentary feature film ‘Rising Silence’ was screened at the Dhaka International Film Festival on January 12.
The feature film that sheds light on the lives of victimised women of Liberation War of 1971 will have its first screening at the National Museum’s Main Auditorium.
Rising Silence tells the stories of women dealing with war, violence and prejudices. In December 1971, East Pakistan became an independent Bangladesh after a nine-month war with West Pakistan. During the Liberation War, the Pakistani army inflicted rape and torture upon the helpless Bangladeshi women.
Bangladeshi government, only six days after the end of the war, publicly honoured every woman and child subjected to rape in the War as Birangona (brave woman or war-heroine). However, after 1975, Birangona women were socially ostracised and attacked, seen only as symbols of shame and violence rather than as normal women and freedom fighters.
Leesa Gazi, a Bangladeshi-born British writer, playwright, theatre director and founding member of a London-based arts company namely Komola Collective, has brought her film for the first time in Bangladesh at DIFF. Her father was a freedom fighter. She grew up hearing the stories of the War. When she turned 17, her father told her a story about Birangona women. In 2010, Leesa visited 21 Birangona women in Bangladesh. She then started collecting their personal stories.
“Their existence, in spite of being ignored and shut out for so long, is a testament to their resilience and their refusal to be diminished. They accepted me with no judgment and with an unconditional love.” said Leesa about the women in her first film.