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2012: end of an eventful year

Ershad Kamol

A file photo shows Dhaka Theatre stages The Tempest at the Globe Theatre in London.A file photo shows Dhaka Theatre stages The Tempest at the Globe Theatre in London.

It was an end of an eventful year in terms of cultural activities across the country. Both the government and private oirganisations including Bangladesh Shilapakala Academy, Chhayanaut, Bengal Shilpalaya, Dhaka Art Centre and several other film and theatre organisations had organised different types of festivals. 
A record number of new productions were premiered by the troupes in a record number of theatre festivals. All the major galleries remained busy holding big exhibitions all the year round. A significant number of film, music and dance festivals had also been organised. 
Film and music industries, however, struggled till the end of 2012.
It is true that a remarkable number of film festivals including Dhaka International Film Festival, International Short and Independent Film Festival, International Children Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival and others had been organised by different film societies. Thanks to the government service provider Bangladesh Film Development Corporation, digital devices for screening of the digital films were introduced in 50 cinemas across the country but it couldn’t bring any potential change in the film industry in general which faced the biggest business loss in this year.
Forty seven films got permission for release in 2012, but 34 films got commercial releases across the country. Only a very few films such as Khodar Porey Maa,Bhalobashar Rang, Jiddi Mama and Bazarer Kuli could make moderate business, said the sources.
 Despite the release of 13 films starred by Dhallywood ‘heartthrob’ Shakib Khan, none of these films could make good profit.  Even very big budget films such as Most Welcome and Laltip could not do the deserved business. 
Recently demised filmmaker Humayun Ahmed’s latest film Ghjetu Putra Kamola, which will represent Bangladesh in the upcoming Oscars, Mostafa Sarwar Farooki’s Television and young filmmaker Redwan Rony’s action thriller Chorabali remained as the most discussed films of the year.
Country’s music industry also struggled throughout the year and only a very few solo and band studio albums had been released. Even the mixed albums those were released in 2012 could not do good profit due to the ongoing piracy problem. The loggerhead situation arised between the bands and the production houses on question of royalty sharing is also another major cause for the slumped trade market.
But, big concerts were organised in which internationally acclaimed bands and solo artistes such as Michael Learns to Rock, Aasha Bhosle and Sonu Nigham performed in Dhaka along with prominent local solo singers and bands in big music concerts.
Leading Indian and Bangladeshi artistes performed at the joint Tagore’s 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations and Nazrul’s 113th birth anniversary celebrations programmes.
Another important aspect of the country’s music arena in 2012 was efforts taken by Chhayanaut and Bengal Shilpalala for the revival of the popularity of classical music. The three-day Bengal-ITC SRA Classical Music Festival music concert held in December at the Army Stadium featured top classical singers from India and Bangladesh who performed at the biggest show of its kind in the immediate passed year.
Remarkable number experimental dance productions such as Mayar Khela, Ay Amader Angoney and Rai-Krishna Padavali had been produced by leading Dance Troupes including Sadhana and Nrityanchal. Indiragandhi Cultural Centre sponsored many prominent Indian classical dancers to perform in Dhaka and other cities. Chayanaut and Bangladesh Shiplakala Academy also organised different dance festivals.
In fact, the government agency Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy remained vibrant throughout the year by organising theatre, music, dance and film festivals and art exhibitions. It also initiated the National Theatre Reparatory and produced three theatre productions- Target Platoon directed by Mamunur Rashid, Rudrarabi O Jallianwalabagh directed by Ataur Rahman and Bideho  directed by Lucky Enam. The academy also produced a jatrapala styled Isa Khan. Besides, it took the project of forming a National Orchestra.
But, the biggest achievement of the academy was organising the National Theatre Festival on Liberation war in which about 100 theatre productions based on the war of independence of Bangladesh including 74 new productions, were staged by theatre troupes and one of the colleges from each of the 64 districts.
Funded by the government, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation have jointly organised the festival titled ‘Muktijuddher Jatiya Natyotsab’, which was inaugurated by prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
Another big theatre festival organised in 2012 was the eight-day ‘Theatre in Asia: Asia in Theatre’ festival with participation of 25 local and foreign troupes. Funded by the government, the festival was organised by Bangladesh centre of International Theatre Institute in association with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Moreover, different theatre troupes like Theatre Art Unit, Nagorik Natyangan, Nagorik Natyangan Ensemble, Swapnodal and others organised theatre festivals in Dhaka. Lucky Enam’s 60th anniversary was celebrated in a theatre festival. Another festival was organised marking iconic playwright Selim Al Deen’s 63rd birth anniversary with participation of 13 theatre productions by local and Kolkata, India, based troupes.
But, the biggest achievement of the theatre arena in 2012 was staging of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Bangla following the traditional performing art form of the region by Dhaka Theatre at the historic Globe Theatre in London as part of the six-week international theatre festival, organised by Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company, began on 21 April at the Globe Theatre featuring William Shakespeare’s 37 plays in 37 languages by theatre troupes from different corners of the world.
The troupe also premiered another new production titled Pancha Nri Akkhyan.
Shubachan Natya Sangsad staged Mohajoner Nao in a theatre festival in South Korea. Another achievement of theatre arena in last year was translation of Mamurur Rashid’s play Manush into Cantonese language. A Hong Kong based troupe staged that play. Mamunur Rashid’s troupe Aranyak also revived its first production Kabor  this year.
Kanjush was staged for a record of 600 times and Court Martial was staged for 200 times. 
Moreover, Dhaka based troupes such as Prangone Mor primiered Ayrangozeb, Palakar premiered Narigon, Kanthoshilon premiered Uttarbangsho, Desh Natok premiered Arakkhita, Natya Teertha premired Phagun Sheshey, Drishtipat premiered Raja Himadri and Swapnodal premiered pantomime Muktir Chetona in 2012. 
The year also remained vibrant as a remarkable number of photography and art exhibitions with participations of the leading artists of Bangladesh and India which had been organised by Bangladesh Shiplakala Academy, Bengal Shilpalaya, Dhaka Art Centre, Galleri Kaya and newly opened Athena Gallery.
Gallery Basilio at New DOHS exhibited prints of the legendary Indian artist Maqbool Fida Hosain’s paintings for Dhaka audience in February. Legendary Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s original world famous engravings were on display at the Bengal Shilpalaya in October. In December, Bengal exhibited iconic Indian photographer Raghu Rai’s photographs taken during the war of independence.
The 18th Young Artists’ Art Exhibition -2012 was organised at the National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in March. The four-day Dhaka Art Summit was organised in April organised by Samdani Art Foundation in cooperation with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and Bangladesh National Museum. The artists and art exponents from across the world participated in the summit.
National Photography Festival 2012, organised by Dhaka University Photography Society, continued at two venues in June.
The year ended with the 15th edition of the Asian Art Biennale, organised by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, featuring 475 artworks of 34 participating countries of the Asia-Pacific region.

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2012: end of an eventful year

A file photo shows Dhaka Theatre stages The Tempest at the Globe Theatre in London.
It was an end of an eventful year in terms of cultural activities across the country. Both the government and private oirganisations including Bangladesh Shilapakala Academy, Chhayanaut, Bengal Shilpalaya, Dhaka Art Centre and several other film and theatre organisations had organised different types of festivals. Full story

The country lost prominent cultural figures in 2012

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