Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's unveiled the first glimpse into his secretive project “Shonibar Bikel” (English title “Saturday Afternoon”) on Wednesday, in the form of an image given 'exclusively' to international film trade magazine Variety.
The Variety report also says the film ‘takes its cue from the brutal terrorist attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka which took place on a quiet Saturday afternoon and left more than 20 people dead,’ although the director in a Facebook post sharing the news said the film was a hostage drama indeed but “it doesn't reconstruct any real events.”
The report also confirmed that the film is a single-take (or one-shot) film, something Farooki had mentioned to The Daily Star last month, but requested to keep it 'off the record'.
“Our challenge was not to let the audience ever feel that they are watching a one-shot film,” the director told The Daily Star. “It was a very difficult process and we had to go through many hurdles but the audience will not see any of it.”
The Bangladesh-Germany joint production which is said to be in English and Bangla, went on floors last December with Palestinian actor Eyad Hourani, Indian actor Parambrata Chatterjee and Nusrat Imrose Tisha, Zahid Hasan, Iresh Zaker, Mamunur Rashid, Nader Chowdhury, Intekhab Dinar, Gousul Alam Shaon and others from Bangladesh in the cast. Principal photography was completed in 17 days under heavy wraps. Farooki had told The Daily Star that the film “will feature characters from a number of nationalities, and is a thriller where the lives of several people collide.”
The film, which carries a $500,000 budget, is being produced by Abdul Aziz for Jaaz Multimedia and Farooki for Chabial from Bangladesh, and Anna Katchko of Tandem Productions (Germany) is serving as co-producer. Farooki also got a heavyweight crew for the film, including Berlinale-winning Kazakh cinematographer Aziz Zhambakiyev and veteran Russian cameraman Valerii Petrov as the steadicam operator.
Farooki had first revealed plans for this film at the 2016 Busan International Film Festival (while serving as jury for short films) where he had particularly said he would be making a one-shot film on the tragic Holey Artisan attack that took place in Dhaka on July 1, 2016. The film was then titled to be “Holy Bakery”, but Farooki subsequently never clearly addressed whether “Saturday Afternoon” was that same project. When asked the reason, he said “Of late, we have seen that the audience and media are getting a little confused about films inspired from true events and documentaries; a fiction story doesn't have the liability to tell facts, and we changed the name to avoid fanning this confusion.”
This film, which doesn't have a sales agent or release date yet, is also set to put Farooki's 'Identity' trilogy in motion. The second part of that film, titled “No Land's Man”, already has funding from India's Film Bazaar and the Asia Pacific Screen Academy.