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Nat’l award for foreigner raises eyebrows

An Indian citizen was named in the list of the Bangladesh National Film Award winners for 2017-18 published on the information ministry’s official website yesterday.

It came as a shock to many, as the criteria set by the ministry itself said no foreign citizens would be awarded.

According to a circular by the information ministry, published on February 14 this year, only Bangladeshi citizens would be considered for the national film award.

The circular was signed by Nizamul Kabir, vice chairman of Bangaldesh Film Censor Board.

Violating the criteria, Md Kalam, an Indian citizen, got the award for best editor for the movie “Dhaka Attack”, which won the Best Film award for 2017.

Contacted, jury member Mushfiqur Rahman Gulzar told The Daily Star that a foreigner cannot get the national film award.

“The jury, however, does not scrutinise the papers and documents. There are others who do that.”

Director of “Dhaka Attack”, Dipankar Dipon, said he did not know about the provision. 

“I did not file the papers and I am not aware of the issue. The film’s producer submitted the papers.”

Speaking to The Daily Star, “Dhaka Attack” producer Sunny Sanwar said, “We submitted documents following the criteria set by the ministry. We did not submit his [Kalam’s] name as he does not have a Bangladeshi national ID or passport.”

“The jury board probably liked his work and gave him the award,” he added.

Morshedul Islam, national film award winning director, said, “It might have been a mistake and I hope the authorities concerned will correct it.”

Speaking to The Daily Star over phone, Md Kalam, who lives in India and has worked in a number of Bangladeshi films, said, “First of all I am a Bangalee. So, any sort of recognition encourages me to do good work. I am happy. 

“If there is any clause that the national award would not go to any foreigner, I would say this barrier should be lifted for the development of film and cultural growth.”


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