Biplob Sarkar-directed Bangladeshi feature film 'Agantuk' (The Stranger) has recently been conferred as the unanimous winner of the Prasad DI award by the Film Bazaar Recommends jury in Goa, India in the Viewing Room section.
The Viewing Room presents Indian and South Asian films, in-production or completed, looking for film festivals, world sales, distribution partners and also finishing funds.
A total of 247 films were selected for the Viewing Room this year, out of which 30 films made it to the Film Bazaar Recommendations Section which includes 20 full-length, 2 mid-length and 8 short films.
Film Bazaar, held on November 20-24, dedicated to discovering, supporting and showcasing South Asian content is increasingly becoming a place of great interest for young filmmakers from South Asia. This event provides Film Bazaar with an opportunity to interact with renowned producers, distributors, sales agents and festival organisers from around the world.
This win will allow the recipients to make a complete DI DCP and to use Qubewire to transmit the film to film festivals and exhibitors. However, due to visa complications, director Biplob Sarkar could not attend the Film Bazaar and receive the award in person.
"The Prasad Lab in Hyderabad, India is a pioneer in film and video post-production for our creative industry over the years, and this is a great opportunity for us to conduct the post-production works of our film," Biplob Sarkar told UNB.
With editing being completed, the director and producers are now preparing for other post-production works. After completing the post-production at Prasad Lab, the target is to focus on its distribution and compete in global film festivals around the world, he added.
The story of Agantuk revolves around a 10-year-old boy named Kajal, living in a rural area of Bangladesh with their mother and terminally ill grandmother struggles with their gender identity.
Kajal's father, Javed, has been absent for a long time.
One day, Javed returns home. This change in dynamics creates a rift in the family; Kohinoor doesn't interact with Javed and Javed's mother doesn't recognize him. This return forces Kajal to share the bed with their grandmother.
Kohinoor fears Kajal's mental state, worrying about their cross-dressing as well as their attachment to their father. This hits a crescendo one night when Javed demands that Kajal be sent away to boarding school.
The following day Kajal runs away and is found at night in an abandoned house with a fever. After recovering they find a new cycle from Javed. When asked about their father's whereabouts, Kohinoor only replies "he left".
'Agantuk' features eminent actress Ferdousi Mazumder, alongside Sahana Rahman Sumi, Ratan Dev, Mahmud Alam, Ehan, Rafsan, Hriday, Hasimun and Nayeema Tasnim in the major roles.
The film is produced by Ramya Rahim Chowdhury, Tazul Haque, Saifur Rahman Lenin and Biplob Sarkar.
In 2019, Biplob Sarkar's short documentary 'Life Is Elsewhere' won the Tarek Shahriar Best Independent Short Award at the 15th International Short and Independent Film Festival held in Dhaka. In 2020, another of his documentaries 'Bismritajan' won Exposition Young Film Talent Grant organised by Liberation War Museum.
Earlier, he had worked as coordinator and faculty moderator of the film department at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. He had also worked as chief assistant director in 'Meghmallar' and 'Chander Amavasya' directed by Zahidur Rahim Anjan.