A PRODUCTION crew from Bangladesh’s answer to Bollywood – Dhallywood – is shooting a feature film about cross-continental romance, displacement and longing in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The drama – peppered with song, dance and a hint of jingoism – unfolds in Bangladesh, meanders to Port Elizabeth and winds up back in Bangladesh.
The Friendly City’s beautiful scenery and its large Bangladeshi community made it an ideal filming location for the 39-strong production staff, supporting actor Amaan Reza said.
“But the wind is a bit of a challenge,” the London-educated law graduate noted.
The production team chose to film Probashir Prem (A Stranger in Love) in Port Elizabeth because the city was not as “commercialised” as Durban and Cape Town, director Ahmed Ali Mondol said.
The team has been in the city since November 18 and leaves this Sunday. Yesterday, they said they had found people in South Africa to be friendly and raved about “the generosity of spirit” shown to them.
They also marvelled at the ease with which they had gone about the business of bringing their production to life.
The team has shot scenes at various spots in the city, including Happy Valley, Bluewater Bay, Central, Fernglen and the harbour. “The hospitality in Port Elizabeth, and South Africa in general, has been exceptional. We have also received tremendous support at every place we have visited in the country,” Reza said.
The film, which will premiere early next year, stars Miss Bangladesh 2007 Jannatul Ferdoush Peya, 22, Nirab Hossain, 29, Naznin Akter, 23, and Reza, 29.
Back home leading lady Peya began her career as a model and has entered, and won, many beauty pageants.
Reza’s upcoming film, Shongram, which depicts Bangladesh’s brutal struggle for independence in the 1970s, has generated a lot of buzz back home.
Probashir Prem’s plot revolves around two Bangladeshis who head for Port Elizabeth in search of greener pastures. As they confront their daily challenges they find love, which takes them on a roller-coaster of emotions.
Making the film has cost production house Dream Finders Film International “more or less” R1-million, producer Moshiur Rahman said.