Script: Md. Rafikul Islam
Directed by: Mahmud Dider
Cast: Aparna Ghosh, Omar Ayaz Ani, ATM Russell, Rimi Karim
The title of “Birangana” is something associated with respect and courage. Being termed as a “war heroine” for surviving unimaginably horrific torture during the tumultuous Independence War of Bangladesh, the title is attached with an aura of admiration and iron-will. Purobi, the titular character, is a “Birangana” who has come back to her country after 45 years, only to meet certain individuals who she has a grudge with. The list includes her once two dearly loved people: her childhood lover and her elder brother; both of whom had deserted her during and after the War. She was left to fend for herself, leaving the country and building herself on her own; eventually becoming an accomplished theater dance teacher. This established and proud “Birangana” now attempts to seek crucial answers from the two targeted individuals, aiming to discover just why she was never saved by them.
The drama was touching and quite engaging. The story was emotional and the acting only served to made things look better. The story of a “Birangana” reminiscing her horror-filled days is something that is sure to stir emotions in anyone, and this one in particular did the job well. However, while this may not be a con per se, I expected some gruesome scenes depicting the cruelness the unfortunate women went through, but there was nothing of that sort. The drama was entirely from the personal perspective of the titular character and how she fulfills her desire to know why she was abandoned. The answer was something she had expected all along though, and it's an obvious one at that.
If rape is still considered taboo now, imagine how much worse it was as a social stigma back then. Her being labeled as a “Birangana” alone was what pushed her away from her own family and made her an immediate outcast. Her family members, father and brother to be particular, refuses to take her back in because of her circumstance; which is extremely infuriating because the whole scenario was sort of being blamed on her, when she was only a victim of a national atrocity. One positive element the story portrayed was how the character of her lover was handled. Her childhood beloved, admittedly abandoning her when she needed him the most, did try to come back to save her but was unable to. He also never really forgave himself and moved on, unlike Purobi's brother who took advantage of the war's aftermath and landed himself a nice job. Nonetheless, Purobi strived on her own and found success using her own effort: that's a moral we can all learn something from.
By Shams Rashid Tonmoy
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