Swapnodanay Nominated for an Oscar

The Bangladesh Oscar Committee has nominated “Swapnodanay” (“On the Wings of Dreams”) as the country’s entry in the category of Best Foreign Language Film at the 80th Academy Awards to be held on 24 Feburary 2008 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The Academy Awards – also known as the Oscar Awards – is the most watched film awards program in the world. The Academy Awards ceremony, backed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has been taking place annually since 1928. Awards are given in a number of aspects of movie making, including acting, directing, screenwriting and musical score. Winning an Oscar award is seen as an endorsement of talent and, therefore, this gold-plated metal statuette is much sought after.

The movie, Swapnodanay, is based in a remote village in the Northern part of Bangladesh. The story-line follows the lives of some of the local inhabitants of the village. The central character is Fazlu, a peddler of herbal remedies and ointments. One day he brings home a pair of second-hand trousers for his son, unaware that this will set off a chain of events that will change their lives. While washing the trousers, Fazlu’s wife finds some foreign currency tucked away in one of the pockets. The family gets swept up in the exciting possibility of exchanging this foreign currency for a large amount of cash. So Fazlu and his friend Siraj set out on a beat-up motorbike, roaming around the rugged areas in and around the village, trying to find someone who will exchange the foreign currency for Taka. Soon greed starts to surface and Fazlu, his wife and Siraj, the central characters of the story, start to weave their individual dreams based on what this money will do for them. This leads to deception that changes their relationships forever. Mahmuduzzaman Babu, Fazlur Rahman Babu and Rokeya Prachy play the lead characters in the film. The songs and music used in the film were composed by Bappa Majumdar.

Swapnodanay has been screened at a number of film festival and events, including Rotterdam, Toronto and Shanghai – where Golan Rabbany Biplob won the Best Director Award in the Asian New Talent category. The director feels that the simplicity of the movie, which focuses on the desires and dreams of ordinary people, is what audiences find appealing. Judging by the response so far, he has hit a winning formula. Movie fans throughout Bangladesh will, no doubt, be watching the 80th Academy Awards with great interest in anticipation of the judges’ decision.