Meherjaan / Narrative Feature Drama / 119 min / Bengali, Urdu & English / 2011 / Bangladesh
"The Film as a whole was thought-provoking and strangely compelling..."
to face up to the masculine grand narrative of a nation and nationalism in broad-spectrum, Meherjaan is a women’s “feminine” re-visiting of Bangladesh’s independence war with Pakistan in 1971.
Love in a time of war ...
In 1971, during Bangladesh’s war of independence, Meher falls in love with a soldier from the enemy side. When her love is discovered, she is shamed and silenced by her family and society. Today 38 years after the war, Meher has a visitor she cannot turn down. Sarah—a ‘war-child,’ Meher’s cousin Neela’s daughter, who was given away for adoption has come back to piece together her past. Together, these two women must re-tell history through their stories in order to cut through the stigmas and walk into light.
>Synopsis in Bengali
Meherjaan is a film about loving the Other. Meherjaan gives away with the unitary masculine narrative in order to usher in an emotional multiplicity of feminine emotion and sensibility. This film critiques certain pitfalls of nationalism that create conditions to justify war, killing and violence. Finally, Meherjaan attempts to offer an aesthetic solution to war and violence by taking refuge in love and spiritual submission.
In 1971, the state of Pakistan raged into war. As a result, the country was divided and East Pakistan emerged as sovereign Bangladesh. 38 years later, Sarah, a war child begins a journey into her past. Meher, a middle aged sculptress, a survivor of 1971 war lives in Dhaka city alone. When Meher opens her chest of memory she pulls one story after another: ... ... ...
Festival International de Films de Fribourg
Festival de Cine de Bogotá
Festival Cinematográfico Internacional del Uruguay
Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian & Arab Cinema
Fort Lauderdale Int. Film Festival
Kolkata Film Festival
Orsonn Wells Award at Tiburon Film Festival
Best Critic Award at Jaipur Int. Film Festival
Grand Jury Award at Northampton Film Festival
“…soulful, romantic storyline and an
honest appeal to find peaceful solutions to
Times of India
"The response to Meherjaan was a reaction to
the demasculinisation that might be felt by some
and is an insight into the psyche of Bangladeshi
masculinity which is uncomfortable with individual
expressions of female sexuality.”
Nayanika Mookherjee, Economic & Political Weekly
writer, director, producer
Rubaiyat Hossain is one of Bangladesh’s handful of female filmmakers, known for her critically acclaimed debut feature film Meherjaan (2011) which faced political and cultural wrath in Bangladesh for its anti war narrative, and its critic of masculine nationalism from a feminine point of view. Rubaiyat has completed her B.A. in Women Studies from Smith College, USA and M.A. in South Asian Studies from University of Pennsylvania. Currently she lives between Dhaka and New York making films and attending Tisch School of Arts at New York University in Cinema Studies.
Under Construction, 2015
The purpose of Meherjaan is to break the glorious narrative of national history and open up a modest avenue to explore perhaps, not only one or two, but multiple ... read more
“The film Meherjaan, which was released in Dhaka in January 2011, was quickly pulled out of theatres after it created a furore among audiences. The hostile responses to the film from across generations highlight the discomfort about the portrayal of a raped woman, and its depiction of female and multiple sexualities during the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971…” EPW