First Chakma Film: Mor Thengari

A still from "My Bicycle", the first Chakma language movie ever made.

A still from the film

By Debdulal Munna, translated by AlalODulal

The name of the movie is ‘Mor Thengari’. The language is Chakma. 

The title is in Chakma and means ‘My Bicycle’. This is the first film claimed to be made in the Chakma language, a language spoken by a large Indigenous population in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The director is Aung Rakhine.

It’s a story of an unemployed youth and his life around his bicycle. He was born in a sparsely populated village, where a transportation like a bicycle is a big deal. Back from the city, the unemployed returnee managed his life and his family relying only on the bicycle.

But the bicycle became a source of envy for some powerful covetous people. And sadly, at one point in the film,  we see the bicycle was broken, mangled, and hidden behind a bush. A metaphor used to evoke realisation among the non-indigenous population about the ongoing plight of the indigenous people.

Like the broken bicycle, the young man is left with nothing but a broken dream. In the last scene, the protagonist returns to the banks of the Karnafuli river, with his broken bicycle, intending to go back to the city once more.

Shot in Rangamati and Bandarban, the short- film depicts natural beauty of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

The film premiered in Dhaka  in 2015, overcoming initial concerns, and traveled to overseas film festivals.  We see so many movies in other languages on TV – Hindi, South Indian languages, English, Chinese, and so many different kinds of movies – and hope that this will usher more movies in Bangladesh’s indigenous languages.

A video interview with the filmmaker Aung Rakhine taken earlier this year on SATV:

 

 

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