South Asian Projects
Project Name: Faded Soul
Director’s Name: S M Monowar Jahan, Bangladesh
A bus, a country, a family, where Nazma despite being a woman, is working as hard and risky as men through various social problems.
In conventional society, various taboos are imposed on widows and manual laborers. Nazma is also a middle-class widow in Kamalapur, south of the capital.
Angered by her parents, Nazma left Gaibandha at the age of 14 and moved to Dhaka. She got married at a young age. Nazma’s dream was to alleviate the grief of family separation from her husband at a young age. However, her husband, who works as a night guard, struggles to make ends meet. So, she moved to Dubai to work as a housemaid. Unable to bear the torture of the oppressed landlord there, she fled to Abu Dhabi. Name used to bear the expenses of two families for her two sons and daughters living in the country by accepting hardships and torture. After an eventful three years abroad, she fell ill and returned to the country for treatment. She brought with her a large sum of money.
While abroad, Nazma’s husband got involved with another woman. When they got married, Nazma went out in search of a job to support herself and her two sons and daughters. Seeing the recruitment notification for the post of bus conductor, Nazma joined the work. She did not hesitate to take on the difficult and deadly task of finding a suitable job for herself. In the context of the country, such a picture is very strange. Still, the middle-aged woman has to choose a life-threatening job in order to survive. She continued to work ignoring the harsh words, reprimands, contempt for society, and discrimination against men and women in the workplace. However, when Nazma lost her job in the lockdown in 2020, the deficiency in the family started again.
She could not arrange higher education for boys and girls due to poverty. Due to lack of money, Nazma got rid of her daughter’s responsibility by marrying her daughter. Then, in 2021, the untimely death of her husband brought darkness into Nazma’s life. She became alone without a guardian and any support from his brothers and sisters in her father’s family.
After the lockdown, Nazma returned to her former workplace. She got back to his previous job by holding the hands and feet of the officers. Despite getting back her job to survive, Nazma continues to work through the contempt of the people of the society, harsh words, and various other problems. With the inspiration and support given by the boys and girls, she is overcoming all obstacles and enjoying her work. Where Nazma, not even from relatives. So, she wants to leave the country to go to Dubai again. Despite thousands of hardships in going to Dubai, Nazma is determined not to return to her homeland.
The inverse relationship of society with women has been going on for ages. In a hostile environment, becoming a woman and working hard at the risk of death like a man and trying to make a living, the relationship of the society with Nazma is direct. It is as if a bus is clear in front of us as a country. In contrast, in the conventional social system, Nazma’s lack of confidence in the social structure, which failed to ensure a secure life, represents a large section of women in society. She has taken herself to a unique place by doing such work even though she is physically unfit. And, a woman can become more productive than men with the cooperation and support of the family. Nazma of courage and strong morale is a reflection of a class of women in society. Those, are constantly being oppressed by the people of the society. But, Nazma has solidified her position in the documentary as the role model for those oppressed women. Yet her faded soul wants to flee far away.
The story will be formed by following the relationship between Nazma and society and the events that happened with Nazma. In Observatory and Participatory mode, the story will be presented. The camera will follow Nazma’s daily life, depicting everyone’s relationship with Nazma. The documentary will follow the character inside and outside the house, society, neighbors, people in the area, and every incident. Along with Nazma, her two sons and daughters will be the main characters in the documentary.
Will be shown reactions each passenger to Nazma on the bus, where a bus will represent a country. We will see the reaction and bitter look, contemptuous words, and contempt for society and the people who are living near Nazma. All will be shown by close cuts. There is a story behind becoming the current Nazma. Independent Nazma’s going abroad, returning homesick, and her husband’s cheating can be known through Nazma’s monologue and their still image. Nazma will be followed by a video of relatives visiting her village home, highlighting their relationship with a female bus conductor. The camera will be handheld when Nazma is busy outdoors, the camera will be in a static state when she is in indoors as a motionless character.
Every short word and the work of Nazma the main character of the film will be filmed. Besides, her son and daughter associated with Nazma will also be followed through the camera. As if, the present Nazma is found in the correct form.
From the archives to the lockdown, the city’s stagnation will be shown and the news of the catastrophic Corona epidemic will be linked to Nazma’s eventful life. The tragedy of Nazma’s life will be reflected in the play of light and base in contrast to the hard light of noon. Nazma’s rough look will be metaphorically portrayed in the city’s narrow Alley with many images of roughness. Even in such a hostile environment, Nazma endures everything with a smile on her face.
Metrorail work is going on in different parts of the city so the sound of hammers can be heard day and night in those places, those sounds are very much like the sound inside Nazma’s chest. A chest full of the pain and emptiness of losing Nazma, the sound of a hammer blow creates a throbbing inside the chest. So, loneliness will be the use of words in solitude. Through the creative process, the visual style of storytelling and the character arcs will become one. Just as everyday drama is born in the course of everyday life, so too, when events unfold, emotions set a dramatic tone in the film. And because of this, excitement and anxiety increase as the film progresses.
I am S M Monowar Jahan. I am a freelance filmmaker and photographer. I had done my basic and professional photographic course at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. After that, I completed a course on documentaries from Bangladesh Cinema and Television Institute (BCTI) and completed a film production course organized by the Bangladesh Short Film Forum. After that, I worked with Khan Sharfuddin Mohammad Akram as an assistant director in his government-funded movie. And, I have also worked as an assistant director on a web series produced by the Indian OTT platform HoiChoi.
To date, through personal investments, we have already spent almost $10000 for pre-production. Now, we are waiting for the production fund. Our goal is to further raise $10000 through crowdfunding campaigns and other in-kind support. We intend to partner with grassroots conservation-based non-profit organizations in Bangladesh and will try to raise $10,000. We plan to raise $60,000 through film foundation grants. We have already applied to World Cinema Fund. “Faded Soul” had participated in Liberation War Museum Doc Fest. We will continue to use out-of-pocket expenses to bridge the funding gaps along with crew deferrals as much as possible.
Total Budget in BDT: 8,44,5000/ taka
Total Budget in USD: 90,379/ USD
The project is currently in its early production.