How much can you tell in a film that only lasts less than 4 minutes? A lot, apparently. But if you choose not to have any dialogues in the film, it certainly becomes a lot harder to send the message across to the viewers.
For independent filmmaker Shakor Ahmed, however, that doesn’t seem to bother. Through his four-minute short film titled ProtiChobi — with a tagline “Social Illusion” — he manages to deliver a strong sense of realization and a deep meaning without requiring any of his characters to deliver a single line of dialogue.
You begin to watch the film as a beautiful girl is putting on makeup. Gradually, you realize that you’re looking at two different girls, doing pretty much the same thing — apparently preparing to go out or for someone to come meet them.
Someone does come to them. And when they leave, you get the message that Shakor conveys through a few cheerful and melodic moments that you thought you spent just watching two ladies getting ready.
Yes, I’m intentionally leaving out any details about the story. If Shakor can tell the story with no words — and does a great job doing it — then this short film is worth a watch without reading much about what’s in it.
“My audience will understand my language,” says Shakor about his film featuring no dialogues. “I keep it open for them. They may decide.”
The Bangla word ProtiChobi stands for ‘Reflection.’ For Shakor, ProtiChobi is a reflection of us and our society. When asked what part of society is he trying to reflect in his film, he says that although the majority of us engage in lies, selfishness and whatnot, pretty much all of us hate and ignore the minority that engage in prostitution.
ProtiChobi 2 is expected to release on International Women’s Day this year.
“We keep forgetting that many of them choose this lifestyle to lead their life because they can’t even eat properly because of money whereas the so-called lover boys/girls engage themselves with these kinds of activity just for their enjoyment.”
“I just wanted to show that people believe in give-and-take relationships no matter what they do,” says Shakor.
About the man behind it all
Shakor Ahmed is no stranger to the world of filmmaking as he has already got quite a few short films in his portfolio. He likes to hunt social problems and weaknesses and bring those to the mass through his films. But he doesn’t do this just for fun. He shares a sense of responsibility of bringing these social problems to the viewers’ eyes.
“If I will not concern my society then someday it will forget me, and, in a result, I will suffer in the long run,” says Shakor about his motivation to make films. “I will become a man without a decent society.
Shakor releases his films under the banner of UV Film. His ProtiChobi was released on Women’s Day last year. It was well-received by the audience. So much that a sequel is in the works. Shakor says that ProtiChobi 2 is expected to release on Women’s Day this year.
“Filmmaking is an art and art should come from your passion.”
In addition to that, a bunch of other short films and a couple of full-length films are also coming this year. Not just ProtiChobi 2, but the story of ProtiChobi 3 is almost complete, too. “We are just preparing ourselves to show the audience some better stories,” he says about the upcoming films.
Another film, titled Jibon Naki Jibanu (Life or Germ), is currently in pre-production and he hopes to finish it up by February.
You can keep in touch with Shakor’s films on his website which is still under construction, but you will find links to his social media channels on the site.
When asked what advice he would give to prospective filmmakers in Bangladesh, Shakor says, “Filmmaking is an art and art should come from your passion. You should love your work. and through your work people will hear about you and your localities, cultures, and whatnot.”
He also warns that if you’re planning to just make money through filmmaking then you should leave. “Because by your creativity, people will engage with your culture, your society and obviously your local people.”
“If your human agency does not work for those things, then you should not start or continue.”
Did you enjoy the short film ProtiChobi? Share your thoughts in the comments below.