Directed by: Rubaiyat Hossain
Starring: Jaya Bhaduri, Victor Banerjee, Omar Rahim, Shayna Amin
Rubaiyat Hossain’s Meherjaan is a film that has generated such an outpouring of hate from IMDb users that it outdoes any similar reaction I’ve ever seen. These responses come entirely from people giving their location as Bangladesh. The film is called “garbage,” “trash,” “lies,” you name it—and since the film ended up having to be withdrawn from exhibition in Bangladesh, the responses may well be fairly typical. The irony of all this is that it only serves to make Meherjaan seem more plausible. The fuss seems to be of the same sort of unfocused and unexamined hatred that the film decries. The movie itself strikes me as good-hearted and pretty blameless, despite the fact that there’s a forbidden love story between a Bangladeshi woman and a Pakistani soldier. I’d say watch it yourself and see, even though that, of course, is not the way people who want to ban things tend to think. It’s a beautiful movie, but it moves rather slowly (not entirely a bad thing in this case) and some of the minor roles are not acted very well. All in all, though, it’s worth a look.
Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Meherjaan at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 22, at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com
In Brief: Explosively controversial in its homeland because of its depiction of a love affair between a Bangladeshi woman and a Pakistani soldier, this Bangladeshi import isn’t likely to have the same impact here, and plays more like a star-crossed love story with an agenda about “loving the other.” Whatever its take, it’s one gorgeous film.