Meherjaan (FILM SCREENING)

Rubaiyat Hossain

Jyoti Puri

Rakshanda Saleem

Elora Chowdhury

November 3, 2011

Harvard University

Set in the background of Bangladesh's independence war with Pakistan in 1971, the film Meherjaan (2011) tells the story of Meher, a woman who fell in love with a soldier from the enemy side during Bangladesh's war of independence, and her reconciliation with Sarah, a "war child" and Meher's niece, who was given away for adoption. Bangladeshi filmmaker Rubaiyat Hossain has been accused of making an “unhealthy, misguided and ‘untrue’ feature based on a pro-Pakistan fantasy.” In the face of strong criticism, and violent threats against the film’s crew, the distributors pulled Meherjaan from circulation within a month of its release. Hossain sees her film as an attempt to present a counter-narrative of the war that does justice to the complexity of the times, calling into question the established heroic and masculinist nationalist narrative that has dominated discourse about and representation of the war - a women’s “feminine” re-visiting of the Bangladesh national liberation.  Following the film screening, Hossain and an expert panel from the region discuss this highly controversial film.

 

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