Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki directorial feature film Shonibar Bikel (Saturday Afternoon) has won the ‘Kumamoto City Award’ from Fukuoka International Film Festival recently. Farooki shared the news on his Facebook page recently.
Shonibar Bikel is a Bangladesh-German co production film based on the Holey Artisan Bakery tragedy. The film had its world premiere at the Moscow International Film Festival 2019.
Synopsis: On a nice Saturday afternoon during Ramadan, citizens enjoy sleepy day time. Suddenly, a group of terrorists takes over a cafe in the city holding hostages of employees and customers. The police soon surround the building and demand negotiation and surrenders, the terrorists fortify the cafe with gas cylinders continuing their unfair tribunal. Foreigners, the disabled, women, businessmen, artists, non-Muslims, and even Muslims with different sect are subject to brutal hostility. The media streaming live news to attract more viewers doesn’t care for the safety of the hostages. Each time a hostage is executed one by one, the nightmare of violence is amplified.
In January 2019, the Film Censor Board of Bangladesh banned the theatrical release of Saturday Afternoon which portrays the July 2016 terrorist attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery as it would "damage the country's reputation". The censor board said that the film could "incite religious fervour in the Muslim-majority nation of 165 million".
Bangladesh has suffered from homegrown extremism for decades, but the Holey Artisan Cafe attack was the worst in years and seen as a major blow to the country's image as a moderate Muslim nation.
The government has always denied the five young men who seized the cafe for hours before killing many hostages and dying themselves were linked to the Islamic State (IS) group. Director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki criticised the decision to ban his film.
“As in most films that attempt to do everything in a one-shot single take, viewers soon forget technique in the heat of the evolving story. It doesn’t seem to faze either the professional cast or cinematographer Aziz Zhambakiyev (Harmony Lessons), as Valerii Petrov’s Steadicam goes flying around the airy restaurant with its picture windows onto a police stakeout and walls that seem to change color from blue to red to heighten the drama.”- Hollywood Reporter
The cast of the film include Zahid Hasan, Nusrat Imrose Tisha, Mamunur Rashid, Iresh Zaker, Intekhab Dinar, Nader Chowdhury and Gousul Alam Shaon, Parambrata Chatterjee (India) and Eyad Hourani (Palestinian).