South Asian Projects
Field Marshal-Abid Sarkar Sohag (Bangladesh)
The story of a defiant dog witnessing, fighting and enduring the liberation war of 1971. Field Marshal, a Sarail hound, is among the firsts to face the brutality of the Pakistani Army. This documentary film depicts the extra ordinary journey of General Ataul Gani Osmani’s beloved canine companion.
When we look back at our liberation war, when we recall the heinous acts done by the Pakistani Army, when the memory of the darkest hour echoes in our brain, we imagine people dying, we remember men making sacrifices and we listen to the screams of all the people who were asleep. But what if we think less anthropomorphically? Only then, we willbe able to realize the bravery, sacrifice and persistence of Field Marshal. This is the story of a dog who also had a role in our fight for freedom. General Ataul Gani Osmani, Commander-in-chief of Bangladeshi forces during the liberation war of 1971, had a Sarail hound. Sarail hound, which is also on the verge of extinction, is probably the only remarkable breed from Bangladesh. This documentary film captures the heroic involvement
of General Osmani’s dog. Two of the Pakistani Cammando Platoon on a mission to kill Mr. Osmani jumped into his compound at 23-J Banani on the night of 25th of March, 1971. They were attacked by his ‘Field Marshall’ (A Sarail hound) and got bayoneted by the commandoes. The injured dog was later taken by the son of Mr. Justice Jabbar, to their house at Lalmatia. Despite his injury, he broke chain and was at large in search of him. Eventually after four years the dog traced him out. This film takes us on a journey to the house of our general and reminds us that on that night not only the men and the women, a Sarail Hound also was bayonetted. The film explores the apparently tiny but significant involvement of a dog in our liberation war. In doing so, the film shows the extent of the brutality of Pakistani Army. Even a dog was not spared.
I came across the moving story of Field Marshal while curiously researching the remarkable Bangladeshi dog breed Sarail hound. From then on, I could see an incredible plot of homecoming of a fighter dog. Many literary and visual texts have been produced that directly or indirectly reflect our liberation war of 1971. Though any war affects every living beings, the narrative of liberation war almost always revolves around the pain and suffering of the people involved. The journey of Field Marshal, allowed me to think about the war of ’71 with a fresh perspective. This documentary film would allow me to go beyond such anthropocentric thinking. An animated documentary film, I think, will enable me to portray the inspirational and emotional tale of one Sarail Hound.
Abid Sarkar Sohag is a young independent filmmaker. He graduated from the department of English, Jahangirnagar University. Being a former secretary of Zahir Raihan Film Society, he has been engaged in different types of activities that directly involve the world of motion pictures, such as organizing film festivals, arranging workshops, endorsing young film enthusiasts at university level. He has worked as an assistant director of Bhuban Majhi (2017). Songs of Sunflower is his first feature length documentary. Songs of Sunflower won The Best Bangladeshi Project award and The Best Pitch award at Dhaka DocLab 2019. The project was also selected for DocEdge Kolkata, 2020.
Sardar Zahidul Islam completed his MA in Literatures in English and Cultural Studies from the department of English of Jahangirnagar University. Songs of Sunflower (producer) is his debut feature length documentary project. He was the executive president of Zahir Raihan Film Society from 2016-2018. He teaches visual anthropology at the Photography department of Counter Foto- A center for visual arts.
Production Plan and Status
This project, Field Marshal, was selected for pitch at the “Exposition Young Film Talents:
Storytelling Lab 2020”. After the pitch, we have further developed our project. We have done the research and completed the script. Now we are working meticulously on the detailed Storyboard and afterwards we will do the Animatic. We are Planning to complete the storyboard by August 15th and the animatic by September 10th. As per our plan we will try to finish the animation part by February 15th, next year and hoping to make a the final cut by April 30th after the post-production process.
Total budget – 40,000 USD.
Secured Fund – 7000 USD (Mongoldip Foundation, Bangladesh)