Pirated films found a place in the social and cultural sphere of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh during the 1980s. State controlling the access to and the viewing of films is nothing new. As Amos Vogel stated, film as an art form (and I would propose, a commercial entity) forever faces the state’s repressive rule of the censors due to its “affinity to trance and the subconscious, and their ability to influence masses and jump boundaries”.1 Therefore, to transgress the suppressive reality, the local audience and with the presence of pirated films reiterated Michel Foucault’s proposal about transgression. Foucault indicated that transgression is a nonconformist process of traversing any moral, political or legal rules which safeguard socio-political conformity.2

Pirated VHS and DVDs eventually subverted the state’s rational order of film exhibition, and the alternative window of viewing experience transgressed the obligation of watching films in theatres. That triggered an act of subverting and transgressing the exploitative aspects of the Censorship of Films Act (1963)3 and the Film Clubs (Registration and Regulation) Act (1980).4 Since the millennium, the growth in consumer and digital culture, fast internet, access to piracy-based torrent sites, and the ready availability of pirated DVDs have impacted film consumption practice and taste. While Bangladesh, as a state, maintains an official anti-piracy policy such as the Copyright Act (2000) to protect the local film industry, Dhaka’s film societies and cinephiles engaged with the new opportunity presented by digital technology to organise, share and screen pirated films.5

Photo by Md. Farhad Rahman, collected from Dhaka University Film Society’s archive.

This experience of subversion and transgression has led to a rise in cinephilia in the 2000s. That, in turn, has brought forth an increase in the ‘cinematic’ production values for local television industry and the competitiveness of Bangladeshi films at international film festivals. I will reveal how film piracy in Bangladesh is a radical act that democratises the distribution and exhibition of national culture resulting in a new cinephilia and the rise of filmmaking talents achieving success on the world stage. Furthermore, I will tread the grey area between piracy and the anti-piracy position.

The ‘80s: VHS and Pirated Films in Dhaka Households 

In the ‘80s, local audiences or citizens contravened the existing viewing option through the home video system but also encountered a subversive reality regarding human rights. Due to the unrest in the political climate, Bangladesh went through a military regime, and during that regime, the state opened doors for Western and Arab donors.6 In the same period, citizens faced a drastic shift in the urban landscape and metro life. This rapid change added two layers to the urban culture: it created a social and cultural alternation in educated urban dwellers’ psychology about their existential views, and underemployed or landless farmers started to migrate to cities and towns to find jobs. Impoverishment in countryside areas pushed rural farmers’ to get employment in the newly established ready-made garment (RMG) industry and other sectors.7 The cultured urbanites were also exposed to Western art and culture, which informed them about the absence of dramatic representation of existential crisis and ‘art cinema’. Besides, the educated middle class of this post-colonial nation space did not have any direct threat from Hollywood films which historically led European countries in the ‘50s and ‘60s to develop the notion of art cinema to generate resistance against American films. Instead, the local nationalist, anti-colonial middle class borrowed the concept of art cinema and better cinema from the West and India, respectively, as a modernist lens to show their cultural preference over local popular film culture. It is important to note that the tendency and practice of gatekeeping foreign and imported films to protect the local film industry started in the ‘60s when Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) was a part of Pakistan.8 Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan through the bloody war in 1971. However, the ban on Indian and foreign films remained active, to secure and protect the local film industry’s potential “to develop artistic and commercial independence”.9

As I grew up in the late ‘80s in Dhaka and began to understand the surroundings, I found that my maternal aunts and uncles really enjoyed watching Indian feature films, particularly films made in West Bengal (Bengali vernacular) and Bombay (now Mumbai; Hindi vernacular). They were big fans of Hollywood spaghetti western films, romantic comedies and action films. Moreover, my teenage cousins were big fans of Bruce Lee and Wuxia films from Hong Kong. The only available means of watching those films were a Sony CRT television, an Akai VCR player and the neighbourhood’s video rental club. All these films came in VHS format and were pirated or bootleg copies. There was an unofficial screening schedule, such as a matinee session for the melodramas and a late-night session for the action-packed films. In between, they watched children’s films whenever they got a chance. We also exchanged films with our peers to share the pleasure and fun of watching secretly forbidden content. Hence, pirated VHS had become the alternate window for the affluent and cultured middle class and upper class to taste the cinematic culture of the contemporary world.

Eventually, the ‘80s educated urban middle class stopped going to theatres. There were many reasons for this. The military regime passively ruined the culture of treating theatres as a hub for social gatherings and a popular destination for families and friends to spend time together. Theatres lacked air conditioning, comfortable seating and stands selling snacks and drinks. The convenience of VHS and VCR offset these factors. Consequently, pirated films and home video technology met the audience’s demand for an alternate viewing experience. It also fulfilled the autocratic government’s desire to dismantle the theatre as a point of interaction between different social classes.

However, in the decades following independence, that protective measure created an ongoing crisis in Bangladesh film culture. Instead of developing a national cinema or      style, the local film industry mimicked our neighbours. The industry oscillated towards      formula films that imitated Hindi and Tamil films with plagiarised narratives.     Commercial producers, filmmakers and distributors kept exploiting the characteristics of melodrama at the expense of underdeveloped screenplays. Interestingly, industry      filmmakers and producers also plagiarised Indian film’s formal features as their point of reference from the pirated VHS copies. Nevertheless, film activists and independent filmmakers were aware of the unlicensed existence of Indian and American films without any theatrical distribution. However, they positioned local popular film culture in the place of a sinister force.10

Broken Barriers: The Transgressive Side of Film Society Movements

Between the triangle of entertainment, cinephilia and pirated films, there is the non-profit cultural organisation of serious film enthusiasts like film societies. Film societies have been a critical discourse in Bangladesh’s urban cultural landscape since the early ‘60s. The first film society in Dhaka, the Pakistan Film Society (later renamed the Bangladesh Film Society in 1971), was established in 1963.11 It was established to promote alternative cinema, encourage critical thinking and provide a platform for emerging filmmakers to showcase their work. Film societies have also served as a hub for film enthusiasts and critics, fostering a culture of artistic appreciation of cinema. One of the most significant contributions of film societies in Bangladesh has been their role in promoting the work of independent and alternative filmmakers. These filmmakers often face difficulties getting their work screened in mainstream cinemas, but film societies provide a platform to showcase their films and gain recognition. Film societies have also been instrumental in promoting film literacy. Many societies regularly organise workshops, seminars, and other educational events to help people learn more about film as an art form.

While film societies have been present in Dhaka’s urban culture since 1963, they became ambassadors for a resistance against formulaic film culture in the ‘80s. Film activists believed that good cinema could transform viewers’ understanding of society and politics, enabling social change and political transformation against structural oppression.12 Film activists also raised concerns about how the tyranny of VCR culture and illegal VCR film club exhibitions frustrates the local film industry and causes the state to lose revenues.13

When every class of audience started becoming accustomed to watching Indian or Hollywood films on their TV screen, film societies emerged as an alternate hub for showing foreign and world classics on the big screen at alternate venues and acted as a social melting point for people who stopped going to theatres. Under martial law and military rule, the parliament passed the Film Clubs (Registration and Regulation) Act in 1980 to regulate the operation of film clubs in the country. The dictatorial government introduced this Act to ensure that film societies or clubs, which were gradually becoming popular, complied with the law and didn’t promote anything transgressive,      anti-state or anti-social. It was geared towards controlling the civilian population.     

The Film Clubs Act  restricts the club from freely and independently curating international films or sessions for their esteemed members. Nevertheless, organisers found a loophole within the existing regulatory law. Film societies, from their inception, maintained strong ties with foreign cultural centres to procure and curate their films to develop cinephilic communities. Due to the Film Clubs Act, local film clubs and societies were barred from exhibiting a film without certification from the Bangladesh Film Censor Board. According to Article 7.2 of the Act, a registered film club may show a film given by any foreign diplomatic mission in Bangladesh if the request is submitted       with the authorities prior consent. Film societies used that gap in the law and collaborated with European countries’ cultural centres such as Alliance Française de Dhaka (France), Goethe-Institut Bangladesh (Germany), Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Dhaka (Russia) to watch European arthouse films in Dhaka. These foreign cultural centres played a significant role in providing access to world film to cinephiles from the ‘60s to the mid-’00s.14

In 1990, Bangladesh experienced a significant shift in its political landscape as the autocratic regime fell from power. The military regime was overthrown by a mass uprising in 1990 and Bangladesh began a democratic electoral system. This marked the beginning of a new era of democracy in Bangladesh, with the formation of a caretaker government and holding free and fair elections in 1991. Despite that, the film viewing experience at theatres, film societies and the Act remain the same. The democratic government ignored the unjust reality of the pre-existing film-viewing culture. In the late ‘90s, the nation transitioned from VHS to satellite channels or the cable TV era, which at the beginning of the ‘00s, evolved into watching VCDs and DVDs on a home PC or DVD player. 

Since the beginning of the millennium, Bangladeshi techno-culture saw a radical shift due to the access to pirated VCDs, DVDs, high-speed internet and peer-to-peer file-sharing options like torrent sites. Unexpectedly, home PC culture opened a new way of sharing data, or, in this case, films between peers which bypassed government      control. Now audiences gained the power to choose whatever they wanted to watch and develop a virtual film culture by distributing the films. Home PC silently transgressed the limit of viewing options beyond the control of the government, and each viewer became the potential source of sharing and distributing film or media in the form of digital files through copying.15 Viewers gained an awareness of world film culture by collecting films in the form of data and building communities based on their interests and critical position about films. IMDB film lists provided information regarding what film to watch and what not as a cinephile. People began watching films on PC monitors. Once again, the silver screen got cropped.     

In the early ‘00s, I had limited exposure to contemporary global cinema due to limited resources and access to the internet. I mainly depended on the cultural centres of European countries. We sometimes shared a desktop PC as an alternative means of watching films back in 2004 in Dhaka. One evening, I found a DVD lying on the computer table. I recognised it as an imported French film that came in a friend’s luggage. I checked the cover and the back for a synopsis and only recognised Monica Bellucci from the cast (because of the infamous Malèna (Giuseppe Tornatore, 2000).16 I had no clue about the director, Gaspar Noé, the rest of the cast, or the cinematic experience I would embark upon. I was perplexed and bewildered by Noé’s transgressive film style and unconventional narration, which was then an unknown quality to me. At that time, I was a film society activist, so I turned to my peers and fellow cinephiles with questions about Noé and Irréversible (2002), and everybody replied with a blank look; they had never heard of him.

Soon, shops filled with bootlegged VCDs and DVDs at shopping malls become a contemporary destination for movie lovers to collect and share films. As a consumer, I saw that those pirated DVDs (except the Indian ones) were imported from Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand or burned on the generic blank DVDs in Dhaka. Alongside the shopping mall, street vendors also set up their shops on the street with locally burned VCDs and DVDs. Those DVD stores, regardless of their business location, provided a range of pirated films from Bollywood to South Indian films to Hollywood blockbusters to American indie to European classics to global arthouse films to erotic cinemas. From Ingmar Bergman to Tinto Brass, Alfred Hitchcock to Brian de Palma- everyone was there on the shelves of the pirated DVD shops. Original and pirated copies of Bangladeshi films and popular TV dramas have also become available.

Eventually, film societies also started organising shows with pirated VCDs and DVDs. At this juncture, Dhaka’s film societies diplomatically subverted the prevailing conformist reality of the film viewing process. Local film societies played a significant role by quietly transgressing the Film Club Act and again using foreign cultural centres’ premises to avoid the clause of censoring a film before the exhibition. Here, film societies played the role of curator, disseminator of knowledge and mediator      between cinephile communities by regularly organising screenings on genre film, film movements, auteurs, experimental films, festival favourites and films by local independent filmmakers. For example, in 2000 the Dhaka University Film Society (DUFS) started organising monthly film screenings in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, Indian Cultural Centre, Iranian Cultural Centre, and Russian Centre for Science and Culture. DUFS called these screenings the World Film Manifestation Program or, in short, WFMP. This was primarily for registered members, but the general public could join too. From the cultural centre’s perspective, the policy was that DUFS should prioritise films from the venues’ countries’. For example, if they were using the Iranian Cultural Centre, Indian Cultural Centre or Russian Centre for Science and Culture’s auditorium for WFMP, they must curate a program with films which were also available in that cultural centre’s video library and films made in or from those countries. Among those centres, Goethe-Institut Bangladesh’s policy was flexible from the early days, and they allowed organisers to program films and filmmakers from outside of Germany.

As mentioned earlier, easy access to DVDs changes the spectrum of film viewing screens and experience. DUFS utilised that cultural moment and pursued pirated DVDs to share the films of Luis Buñuel, Jean Cocteau, Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, and other classic filmmakers. Among the many screenings, DUFS programmed a session titled ‘Broken Barriers’ to showcase auteur film practices where they creatively use excess, violence and non-linear storytelling such as Fargo (Coen Brothers, 1996), Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer,1998), Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) and Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) – the session used pirated DVDs. Under the banner of this series DUFS later screened One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman, 1975), Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996), Los otros (The Others, Alejandro Amenábar, 2001), Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (Guy Ritchie, 1998), C’est arrivé près de chez vous (Man Bites Dog, Rémy Belvaux, 1992) The Dreamers (Bernando Bertolucci, 2003). I      mention these titles because all of these films contain transgressive, non-conformist, taboo elements and embody excess and violence. It would not be possible to program these films in accordance with the Film Censorship Act or Film Club Act

Broken Barriers’s success pushed me to think again of Irréversible. As a cinephile and organiser, I attempted to arrange a public film screening of Irréversible in Dhaka in 2007.      This was not possible. Due to Irréversible’s formal and thematic excess, I knew that the Bangladesh Film Censor Board would not certify this film for a public screening. My post-viewing experience led me to think that local audiences would not appreciate the film for its content and unorthodox film style – its poetics. I also realised the limit of transgression. Foucault clarified that a transgression could not exist without a limitation or boundary in place, as Foucault suggested that a spiral shape of transgression plays between the shadow and soul of the limit of the extreme.17 For film society activists, their transgressive act exists as long as it does not cross the line of extremism.

Against the backdrop of pirated DVDs and the growing culture of cinephilia and peer-to-peer file-sharing virtual reality, Bangladesh’s national daily newspapers allocated spaces for the daily public events column where they circulate details of the film screening sessions. Newspapers like the daily Prothom Alo published weekly news about top tier festival favourites (from Cannes, Venice, Locarno, Sundance) and      pirated DVDs with a synopsis and their availability to purchase (fig. 1). In this figure, we see news about Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog, Luis Buñuel, 1929), Popiół i diament (Ashes and Diamonds, Andrzej Wajda, 1958) and Le huitième jour (The Eighth Day, Jaco Van Dormael, 1996) with the address of the DVD shops published in July of 2006.

Figure 1.

Remarkably, from 2005 to 2010, Bangladesh’s local film industry faced a challenging situation because video piracy had become a significant concern. Commercial filmmakers were losing profits and the government was losing revenue. To tackle this problem, lawmakers introduced the Copyright Act in 2000. To control and combat video piracy, a task force was formed and led by Rapid Action Battalion’s deputy director, which has the legal authority to arrest anybody involved in video piracy, seize indecent posters and prints and turn the suspects over to law enforcement. The task force was      also empowered to take action against cinema halls exhibiting explicit material.18 On the one hand, local newspapers reported on the anti-piracy task forces raids. On the other hand, the same papers advertised pirated foreign films and DVDs news regularly. The irony is that ‘piracy’ found a negative connotation concerning the local entertainment industry, but has become a source of appreciation regarding alternate viewing options. 

Curating Perception: Global Cinema, Piracy and Independent Filmmaking

Independent filmmaking in Bangladesh has a close connection with the film society movement.19 Before the millennium, film societies organised film appreciation courses and curated world film programs to introduce the art film practice to local cinephiles.20 Those film language understanding workshops and classical film sessions planted the seed for making a certain kind of film about national identity and what identity means nationally. This cohort of filmmakers heavily inspired the film style and creative practices of Ritwik Ghatak, Satyajit Ray, Akira Kurosawa, Andrei Tarkovsky and the French New Wave.21 Among them, a group of advanced cinephiles (and members of different film societies) established an organisation of independent filmmakers known as the Bangladesh Short Film Forum (BSFF) in 1986.22 This group of (university graduated) independent filmmakers aspired to make an alternative film stream in response to local formula films to cater for civil society’s appetite for watching ‘better films’ and used the short film form as their narrative container. Under the military regime, filmmakers had to be tacit to avoid the censorship act. At the time, Iranian New Wave postulated a theoretical and practical notion around re-presenting and documenting the current reality with a 16mm camera, poetic tone and self-reflexive attitude. Again, filmmakers were introduced to the films of Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Majid Majidi through film societies screening sessions. 

As I discussed earlier, access to global cinema through pirated DVDs, torrent sites, and the rise of private TV channels opened a new door for young, advanced cinephiles (who had basic hands-on filmmaking training or no schooling at all) to make TV drama as the      groundwork for their debut film production. The film society movement influenced and impacted this group of filmmakers.23 They find creative inspiration from the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wong Kar-Wai, and Yasujirō Ozu, available on pirated DVDs or downloaded from file-sharing sites. They moved away from earlier generations’ film ethos. Instead of locating national identity through moving image and sound, they were more interested in portraying the individual and collective sufferings within urban narratives as if they were on a quest of locating the individual’s journey to liberation and demystifying their existential crisis.

Regarding the formal aspect of their production practice, I observe that they follow occult filmmaker Kenneth Anger’s craft of using a ‘found soundtrack’ with the visuals as an abstract character in their narrative world. Like pirated films, pirated music punctuated their tv productions’ soundtrack. In the second decade of the ‘00s, Bangladesh’s audience saw a shift in independent filmmaking as new filmmakers shifted their aesthetic focus from art films to a global art film approach. In comparison, single-screen theatres were closing down due to a lack of customers, poor amenities and a lack of quality films from the film industry. On the contrary, the creative commercial industries like television commercials were getting big budgets and high-tech facilities to produce 10 to 30-second audio-visual productions. Again, at the expense of the flailing film industry, new groups of people appeared who were literate in contemporary global cinema and had hands-on experience in visual production. They were groomed to work in a chain of command with precise roles and responsibilities. Films such as  Nonajoler Kabbo (The Salt in Our Waters Rezwan Shahriar Sumit, 2020), Rehana Maryam Noor (Rehana, Abdullah Mohammad Saad, 2021) and Moshari (Nuhash Humayun, 2022) brought recognition and accolades from distinguished film festival circuits around the world and have been led by the filmmakers who have professional experience of TVC making with long-time creative collaborators and understanding about festival film distribution practice.24

“Sharing is caring” is a common phrase, but people do not often realise that sharing can be transgressive or an act of transgression. In relation to pirated DVDs, exhibiting-viewing culture and film society activities, it is evident that pirated copies of films or data can create an alternate reality where humanity begins by sharing data.25 The difference between state apparatus and public domain is that the state collects and controls data or information through censorship, but the public shares data (in this case, film) to generate wisdom and build community. Nevertheless, regarding Bangladesh, the political step of controlling the accessibility of film and film viewing screens changed the cultural landscape of an urban community and created a reference for actual transgression. Bangladeshi film societies pursue pirated materials as an alternate and radical exhibition window to bring contemporary cinema to the country, including transgressive material, which plays a role in community building. As a result, Bangladesh forged a generation of young cinephile-turned-filmmakers who have achieved a position in local creative-commercial production dynamics and concurrently found places in the competitive international film festival circuit with their films.


  1. Amos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Act, (Random House: New York, 1974), p. 11.
  2. Michel Foucault, “A Preface to Transgression”, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews by Michel Foucault, D. F. Bouchard, ed. (Cornell University Press: New York), p. 34.
  3. The Censorship of Films Act (1963) governs nationwide film screenings. The Act has been in operation since 1963 and has been amended multiple times. The Act’s principal goal is to guarantee that films screened in the country adhere to Bangladesh’s values, cultural standards, social ethics, and the terms of the national film policy.
  4. The Film Clubs (Registration and Regulation) Act (1980) was passed in 1980 to govern the country’s film clubs. According to the Act, film clubs must register with the government and acquire an operating licence. Film clubs must submit a list of their members and the films they intend to screen to the film censor board for approval. The Act also requires clubs to keep detailed records of all their operations, including the films shown, the number of attendees, and the revenue collected. This Act specifies the penalty for noncompliance, including fines and imprisonment. The Act gives the government the authority to check the premises of cinema clubs and withdraw their licences if they are discovered to be operating unlawfully. Later in 2011 Bangladesh parliament repealed the 1980 act and reformed it as Film Clubs (Registration) Act (2011).
  5. Copyright Act (2000) was amended in 2005 and repealed in 2022 to strengthen copyright protection for creators.
  6. Md. Ataur Rahman. “Bangladesh in 1982: Beginnings of the Second Decade,” Asian Survey, issue 23, no. 2 (February 1983), p. 149-57.
  7. Zakir Hossain Raju, Bangladesh Cinema and National Identity (London and New York: Routledge, 2014), p. 143-171.
  8. Pakistan specifically banned importing Indian films during the 1965 war as an act of nationalism. That embargo impacted Dhaka (the capital of East Pakistan) and the Bengali vernacular film industry,      which was known as East Pakistan Film Development Corporation (later renamed to the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation). In 1965, Bengali audiences experienced the first box-office hit film Roopban (Rupban, 1965), by local filmmaker Salahuddin. Roopban transgressed the predominance of Urdu and Hindi films at the local box office and generated a solid Bengali audience across the delta. Roopban is a tragic-melodrama often coined as the first folk-fantasy film based on a famous Bengali folktale featuring a female character-led narrative. In 2023 under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) treaty, Bangladesh’s information ministry issued clearance to import Indian films, mainly Hindi films, into local cinema theatres.
  9. Armes Roy, Third World Film Making and the West (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), p. 131.
  10. Zakir Hossain Raju, Bangladesh Cinema and National Identity (London and New York: Routledge, 2014), p. 175.
  11. Imran Firdaus, “50 years of Film Society Movement in Bangladesh: Achievement and Expectation” (in Bengali), Kali O Kalam, vol. 10, (January 2014), pp. 47-50.
  12. Lotte Hoek, “Pictures on paper: Censoring cinematic culture through the Bangladesh Film Club Act”, Terrain, issue 72 (2019).
  13. Alamgir Kabir, “Tyranny of VCR and middle-class audience” (in Bengali), Film and National Freedom (in Bengali), Abul Khayer Mohammad Atikuzzaman & Priyum Pritam Pal, eds. (Agami Prokashoni: Dhaka, 2018), p. 145-149.
  14. Lotte Hoek, “Films in the Diplomatic Bag: Sovereignty, Censorship and the Foreign Mission Film in East Pakistan and Bangladesh”, Media and the Constitution of the Political: South Asia and Beyond, Ravi Vasudevan, ed. (Sage: New Delhi, 2021), p. 23-50.
  15. Mark Poster, “Internet Piracy as Radical Democracy?”, Radical Democracy and the Internet: Interrogating Theory and Practice, L. Dahlberg and E. Siapera eds. (Palgrave Macmillan UK: London, 2007), p. 207-225.
  16. Malèna is an Italian coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. Monica Bellucci starred in Malèna, a local hit among Bangladeshi urban cinephiles. In early 2000 through pirated DVDs, Malèna and Monica Bellucci became word of mouth in the film society circuit.
  17. Michel Foucault, “A Preface to Transgression”, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews by Michel Foucault, D. F. Bouchard, ed. (Cornell University Press: New York), p. 34.
  18. BSS (Dhaka), “Task force to stop vulgar films, video piracy”, The Daily Star, 03 October 2007.
  19. It is important to note that besides making feature films, the local independent filmmaking system primarily depends on making films for domestic and international NGOs, development agencies, corporate documentaries, TV dramas and TVCs. Also, male filmmakers dominate the independent stream’s scenario and dynamics. Female filmmakers (regardless of independent or industrial status) are routinely subjected to a barrage of social and cultural struggles and physical hurdles to realise their screen idea and present the film to viewers. Yasmine Kabir, Rubaiyat Hossain and Humaira Bilkis are among the contemporary female independent filmmakers who regularly produce and distribute their films through the film festival circuit.
  20. The first film appreciation course was conducted by Professor Satish Bahadur of the Film and Television Institute of India in 1975 and was organised by the Bangladesh Film Society.
  21. Alamgir Kabir, Masihuddin Shaker, Tanvir Mokammel, Morshedul Islam and Tareque Masud are the leading filmmakers from this cohort.
  22. Fahmidul Haq and Brian Shoesmith, Identity, Nationhood and Bangladesh Independent Cinema (London and New York: Taylor & Francis Group, 2022), p. 57-58.
  23. Nurul Alam Atique, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and Giasuddin Selim are prominent filmmakers of this period.
  24. Imran Firdaus, “Selling Culture, not for the People: Film Festivals, In/dependent Cinema, and Bangladesh” (in Bengali), Flashback: Film Co-Production in Bangladesh, Asif Karim Chowdhury ed. (Dhaka University Film Society: Dhaka, 2023), p. 1-16.
  25. Mark Poster, “Internet Piracy as Radical Democracy?”, Radical Democracy and the Internet: Interrogating Theory and Practice, L. Dahlberg and E. Siapera eds. (Palgrave Macmillan UK: London, 2007), p. 207.

About The Author

Imran Firdaus is a Film Scholar, Filmmaker, and Art Organizer based in Sydney/Dhaka. Imran recently received his PhD for the dissertation Gaspar Noé: A Poetics of Transgression from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Imran teaches Global Cinema as a Casual Academic to undergraduate students at UTS. His films and video art have been exhibited in Amsterdam, Caserta, Dhaka, London, Oslo, Sydney, and Yogyakarta. During his undergraduate study at the University of Dhaka, Imran established and organised the International Inter-University Short Film Festival (IIUSFF) in association with Dhaka University Film Society from 2007 to 2009 and 2015. He writes extensively on popular culture, history, and memory on various public and academic platforms.

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