Remembering Zahir Raihan, the legend

August 19, 2021

Today is the 86th anniversary of birth of renowned filmmaker, writer and freedom fighter Zahir Raihan.
Zahir Raihan was born at Majupur village in Feni on August 19, 1935.
Zahir Raihan, who made immense contribution towards shaping Bangla films, made his silver-screen debut as a director in the film Kokhono Asheni in 1961. He also made the then Pakistan’s first colour film Sangam in 1964. He completed his first CinemaScope film titled Bahana in the following year.
He earned acclaim directing films namely Jibon Theke Neya, Agun Niye Khela, Behula, Sangam, Kancher Deyal and others.
Besides, he worked as a journalist in Juger Alo, Khapchhara, Jantrik and Cinema and eventually became editor of Probaho in 1956.
He was also an acclaimed writer. His first collection of short stories titled Suryagrahan was published in 1955. He penned novels, namely, Shesh Bikeler Meye, Trishna, Hajar Bachhar Dhare, Arek Phalgun, Kayekti Mrityu and others.
Zahir Raihan actively participated in the Language Movement of 1952. He was present at the historic meeting held at Amtala on February 21, 1952.
The Language Movement influenced him to make his much acclaimed film Jibon Theke Neya. The film was praised by directors, namely, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha and Ritwik Ghatak.
In 1971, Raihan joined the Liberation War and made several documentary films on the war including ‘Stop Genocide’, highlighting the massacre orchestrated by the Pakistani Army..
He disappeared on January 30, 1972 while trying to find his brother, Shahidullah Kaiser, a well-known writer who was abducted and killed by the Pakistani Army and its local collaborators in 1971.
For his excellence in filmmaking as a valiant patriot, Raihan was posthumously awarded Bangla Academy Literary Award (1972), Ekushey Padak (1977), Independence Day Award (1992) and Bangladesh National Film Awards (2005).

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