Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Photo Credit: File Photo)
India and Bangladesh on Tuesday signed an MoU for co-production of a film on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to be directed by eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal that will be released as part of birth centenary celebrations of the Bangladesh founder. The agreement was signed in the presence of Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and his Bangladeshi counterpart Hasan Mahmud.
Mahmud arrived in India on Monday night. The visit assumes significance as it comes after Bangladesh cancelled several high-profile visits to India amid anti-CAA protests and the controversy over NRC.
Javadekar said the funds required for the film have already been allocated by the Indian government. India has extended its support to establish a film city in Bangladesh and also have technical exchange between National Film Development Corporation and Bangladesh Film Development Corporation.
Both sides also agreed to scale up joint production and exchange of airtime between Prasar Bharati and radio Bangladesh Betar. With Tuesday's launch, content from Akashvani Maitree service has started airing in Dhaka and reciprocally content from Bangladesh Radio Betar has started airing on All India Radio in Kolkata.
"Akashwani and Betar cooperation dates back and we will add more dimension to it. Today Maitree is already running for 16 hours and therefore this exchange was necessary," Javadekar said.
"Happy to inform that a formal MoU for co-production of a film on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was inked today.The film, to be directed by eminent director/producer Shri Shyam Benegal, will be completed on time and released as part of centenary celebrations of Bangabandhu," he said in tweet.
The two ministers agreed to promote further bilateral relationships between the countries in Information and Broadcasting sector. "PM (Narendra) Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are two leaders who are also great friends and work together for prosperity (of the two countries)," Javadekar said.
Mahmud later told reporters that more joint production projects should be taken up between Bangladesh and India. Asked about media freedom, he said Bangladesh is enjoying better freedom than many developed countries.
Bangladesh's Deputy Foreign Minister Shahriar Alam had cancelled his visit to India to speak at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi as it coincided with the country's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's UAE trip, the Bangladeshi foreign office had said, rejecting as "misleading" some media reports citing other reasons for cancellation of the visit.
The cancellation of Alam's visit came just a month after two Bangladeshi ministers - Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan - cancelled their scheduled trips to India.
Momen was scheduled to join the ministerial keynote session of Delhi Dialogue and Indian Ocean Dialogue in December and was to meet his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar.
The cancellation came a day after Momen termed as "untrue" Home Minister Amit Shah's comments on persecution of religious minorities in Bangladesh. Both Bangladesh and India at that time, however, maintained that the visit was called off as Momen had to take part in two important national events.
Home Minister Khan also cancelled his private visit to Meghalaya reportedly due to disturbances over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).