A recent talk of the town revolved around a musician, who is considered by many to be the icon of the youth audience. A musical film about Shayan Chowdhury Arnob, directed by Abrar Atahar, was released on Bangladeshi OTT Platform Chorki.
This film has been a journey to seek the person beyond musical stardom-- the stage shows, prepared videos and ready songs. The makers are reluctant to call it a documentary, rather a musical film, a journey to capture a ‘crazy artist's life.
Borrowing a line from Arnob’s song ‘Adhkhana,’ the film is named ‘Adkhana Bhalo Chele Adha Mostan.’ The duality of his personality and journey is explored in this film and in a way that does justice to the name.
Shaky shots of the camera helped to create a lively atmosphere where the audience can feel a personal touch. The essence of raw Arnob tends to come out in the scenes where he admits the weakness and change over time. Maybe evolution is all about accepting the changes and going on with the flow.
While walking on the seashore of Cox’s Bazar, Arnob looks back at the time when he could take his voice to the top level and now, somehow it seems difficult to master. Change is the only constant, the viewers wonder while watching.
When rock music reigned the realm of Bangladeshi music, Arnob appeared with his ‘Bangla band’ idea. Since then, he is nourishing the musical realm with songs to remember. These songs remain with us to hum when we are alone, with friends, in love, or even heartbroken.
How are songs created? How is music derived? Arnob questions these things while talking about his studio and rethinking music. He passes a thought that music can not be created being confined in the four walls as isolation also does not inspire him to create.
Being connected with people, travelling through places encourages the music he wishes to bring out. Even as a person, isolation is something he does not cherish. It is people around him who give him a real sense of reliability.
In this film, Arnob also reveals the inspiration behind his songs which helped those live in our hearts to date. In the world of nice and happy Bangla songs, he tried to discover darkness in this segment.
Maybe that’s why when we listen to his music, we don’t fly in the sky, rather we dive deep into an ocean of thoughts and nostalgia.
Arnob himself is an icon of nostalgia for Bangla music lovers. We somehow grew up with the melodies and these remind us of the life we have left behind, the life where everything was nothing like today.
The bond between the director and his subject took this film to a more personal level. How Abrar described the similarity between him and Arnob to be unable to face their own demons was something to remember. The continued conversations tried to bring out multi-dimensional philosophy.
Struggles as a musician and as a person came out in layers throughout the film. It seems like a reel of self-realisation. Admitting the vulnerabilities and how it still affects the present time gives a clearer view with or without specs.
Along with the ‘Arnob & friends’ gang, his life partner, and his parents, we also meet a longtime companion of Arnob - Dubba. Playtime with Dubba, Arnobs beloved ped dog, gets captured in the camera to be timeless. We meet a painter, a self-doubting person, an animal lover as well as with a musician.
Songs staged with the same setup gave it a unified vibe but it also took the surprise a little bit away. Though the same atmosphere presented the same enjoyment, yet, it could be done differently.
Even after exploring so many dimensions, the story of Arnob remains ‘Adhkhana’ (Only half of it) within this film because the journey is yet to be continued-- for many more days and years with enormous magical moments.
In the halfway, we manage to meet a concept of completeness of life, melodies, and thoughts. It provides a sigh of relief to the audience when Arnob states his present as ‘happily working.’
Funny that the OTT platform Chorki provided a disclaimer saying that it is fiction. Well, it can be said that life is always stranger than fiction and music is divine.
The writer is currently studying at the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Dhaka.