The Bangladesh Oscar Committee has selected acclaimed anthology film “Sincerely Yours, Dhaka” as the country’s entry to the 2021 Oscars’ international feature film category.
“Dhaka” is a collection of 11 shorts set in Bangladesh’s capital city by 11 emerging filmmakers: Nuhash Humayun, Syed Ahmed Shawki, Rahat Rahman Joy, M.D. Robiul Alam, Golam Kibria Farooki, Mir Mukarram Hossain, Tanvir Ahsan, Mahmudul Islam, Abdullah Al Noor, Krishnendu Chattopadhyay and Syed Saleh Ahmed Sobhan.
The film is produced by Faridur Reza and Ebne Hasan Khan for leading Bangladeshi studio Impress Telefilm.
The project was the brainchild of “Dhaka” creative producer Abu Shahed Emon, a directing masters graduate of the Korea National University of Arts. His debut feature, 2014’s “Jalal’s Story,” was Bangladesh’s entry in the Oscar foreign-language category and was nominated for the New Currents Award at Busan.
“Sincerely Yours, Dhaka” had its world premiere at Busan and has since played at more than 20 festivals worldwide. It won the Critics Award at the Kazan International Film Festival.
“All the talented directors who worked in the projects, I believe they will actually be the future of Bangladeshi cinema representing Bangladesh in many festivals,” Emon told Variety.
The film had a commercial release in Bangladesh in 2019 and was acquired by Netflix. “When it actually landed on Netflix it was an amazing experience for us because it would have a wider audience reach,” Emon added. “And now it’s going to be the Bangladeshi entry to the Oscars. I think a lot of audiences will find new interest about the project.”
The film, which features a galaxy of Bangladeshi stars including Nusrat Imrose Tisha, Fazlur Rahman Babu and Shatabdi Wadud, begins on a light note. The stories, set in various strata of the teeming, densely populated metropolis of 19 million people, get progressively darker and the anthology ends with a rousing feminist tale.
“Impress Telefilm has been curating and initiating the kind of interesting projects that other producers in Bangladesh usually don’t risk their money on,” says Emon. “In that context, ‘Sincerely Yours, Dhaka,’ as the first Bangladeshi anthology film now representing Bangladesh at the Oscars is a very historical moment for Bangladeshi cinema.”
Bangladesh has been sending entries to the Oscars since 2002. It has yet to receive a nomination.
The 93rd Academy Awards will take place on April 25, 2021.