English titles of Bangla films discouraged

August 17, 2014

Letter issued by information ministry to film bodies
English titles of Bangla films discouragedSweeping use of English titles in Dhallywood films has been discouraged by information ministry of the country in a written letter.
Signed by M Rabiul Islam, deputy secretary of the information ministry, and dated on August 06, the letter stipulates that use of ‘English titles in Bangla films do not go well with our culture, literature, tradition and history’. Copies of the letter have been sent to concerned bodies of the film industry- Film Censor Board, Film Producers and Distributors Association and Film Directors Association.
‘There is no legal restriction as to the use of English titles in Bangla films. But as we have noticed a growing tendency to use English titles, which in fact does not relate to the films and our tradition, we have sent a letter of discouragement to concerning bodies’, Rabiul Islam, deputy secretary at information ministry, told New Age.
To note, all the four films released this Eid-ul-Fitr had English titles like Hero: the Superstar, Honeymoon, Most Welcome 2 and I Don’t Care. More films with English titles are in the pipeline like Zero Degree, Warning, Hit man, Desha the Leader. It actually seems, as said by Rabiul Islam, that there has been a growing inclination by makers to use English titles; and in most cases the reasons of using such titles are not well-founded.
‘Information ministry does not strictly prohibit use of English titles, as there are English words that have become a part of our language, and as there can also be films that actually require such titles’, added Rabiul Islam.
However, the letter of discouragement has met diverse and differing responses from the filmmakers of the country. Some of them show willing acceptance, while others think English titles should also be allowed.
‘It is understandable that overuses of English titles in Bangla films look odd and may appear a bit clumsy too. But it is also true that there are instances where English titles seem more appropriate’, said director Shafiuddin Shafi, whose Honeymoon was released this Eid-ul-Fitr.
Shafi expects that extensive use of English titles should be controlled, but reasonable use of it should be allowed and accepted.
Noted filmmaker Mostafa Sarwar Farooki thinks the letter of discouragement should be more elaborate and pointed. ‘There are English words that have wide currency while their Bangla counterparts are not commonly used and understood’, Farooki told New Age.
Referring to his films titled Bachelor and Television, he says that it would have been clumsier to use their Bangla counterparts. The filmmaker shares that there has been funny and ‘fashionable’ use of English words as titles which filmmakers should do away with.
Director Badiul Alam Khokon, who directed Hero: the Superstar, thinks that the audience they target are well-acquainted with such English titles. ‘In fact, these titles often sound more catchy than Bangla ones’, defended Khokon.
Khokon’s explanation is, however, not supported by seasoned director Sohanur Rahman Sohan who says, ‘It is really unwanted that Bangla films are released with English titles, or mixture of English and Bangla words’.
The Film Directors’ Association has come up with a decision not to allow English titles in Bangla films. ‘In a meeting recently held, we have decided we will not allow any English title for Bangla films. If the film is done in English language, only then we will allow English titles’, said Shahidul Islam Khokon, president of Bangladesh Film Directors Association and also a member of Bangladesh Film Censor Board.

-With New Age input

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