South Asian Projects
Ojha-Molla Sagar (Bangladesh)
A innocent folk performer’s story with changing economy and battle between tradition and aggression of mainstream religion.
Faruk, better known as Ojha Faruk lives in the Hawar region of Sylhet in Bangladesh. He is a folk performer and sometimes spiritual healer. He sings and dances with ancient music and song of the subcontinent region (Monosha mongol). He learned it from his teacher (Guru) who died 20 years ago and now also leads a group of 8 members. His song and treatment are appreciated in the entire region. But now he is being threatened by religious groups to leave his home if he doesn’t stop music and performance as it is prohibited as per their belief. They already damaged his house three times and beat him up. But music is more than just a way of life to him.
As new forms of religious practice are increasing in the region so ancient or traditional belief is being replaced gradually. It also creates distance between communities. The peaceful understanding is declining day by day. In the village where Faruk lives people used to love music and organize Orosh (An annual ancient religious event of gathering). Now people from outside do preach and spread hate towards local culture.
This new form doesn’t bring any changes in Faruk’s belief. He sings for peace and relief. He respects and belongs to all the community. To him it is root.
Faruk has three sons and two daughters, so his economic needs are increasing. COVID also had a great impact on his life. Apart from music performance now he also tries to do some additional income possibilities. He took a loan from a local NGO to build a house and purchase a rice threshing machine but yet music is the great joy for him.
Faruk doesn’t want to leave his music and performance. But with the new form of social culture and economic changes can he keep it?
The film Ojha is on a folk singer and performer Faruk. He is locally known as Ojha Faruk. I am connected with this extraordinary young man since 2014. As a folksong collector, wandering of nomadic life took me to Faruk. When I discovered him, he was performing with a patient who was paralyzed and refused from doctor but with Faruk’s treatment he was much better than before. It creates a great curiosity inside me and I have developed a close relationship with Faruk.
Music and culture of this region is badly affected by religion intervention. The long-existed peace & believe are now threatened. In the film I will portray our local harmony of different culture with the life of Faruk and how the intervention is being made.
Ojha is a character driven documentary. Performance of ancient dances and songs give a view of the decaying cultural diversity. Viewers will see the film from the point of the character. Camera will move according to the subject.
In the film viewers will experience the landscape of the region and its peacefulness with the images of river, local rituals, music and performance.
When the calmness & beauty of the land establishes, we will see the arise of invaders (mainstream religious practitioner). How the invader interrupting and overtaking.
We will use mix of close and long shot to show the character and regional landscape. Film will mostly shoot handheld. Musical treatment going to be use in different sequence of the film and during the journey.
Molla Sagar is one of the prominent documentary filmmakers in Bangladesh. His films are loving and unsentimental. His people do not live in a space of pity; they continue daily struggles.
Molla Sagar has traversed almost all corners of Bangladesh– People’s Jute Mill in Khalishpur (Siren), Coal mine protests in Phulbari (Doodh Koila), Sundarban to Teknaf coastal areas in Jhor Jaillya (Natives of Tornado), Sunamganj (Cholo Mon Natok Dekhte Jai), Mongla port (Baniasanta), Netrokona (Dream), Bhola (Harmony of Dream), Buriganga (Gonga Buri), and Dhaka (Warmth quivering in blood).
His subjects are always the defiant ones. His works reflect the reality he encounters, from people’s view which echoes human rights and justice, culture and ethnic practices.
In development Stage