Cinema of Bangladesh

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Cinema of Bangladesh
Number of screens 300 (2013)[1]
 • Per capita 1.5 per 100,000 (2014)[2]
Main distributors Impress Telefilm Limited
Jaaz Multimedia
Tiger Media Limited etc.
Produced feature films (2014)
Total 78
Number of admissions (2014)
Total 43,750,000

The cinema of Bangladesh, also known as Dhallywood informally, has been a significant film industry since the 80's.[3] The word "Dhallywood" is a portmanteau of the words Dhaka and Hollywood.[4] Dhallywood is one of the major centers of film production in South Asia.[5] Film production reached its pinnacle in 1990. During the 1980s to the first half of 90's, the Bangladeshi film industry produced some of the biggest films in Bangladeshi cinema.[6] According to film pundits, the Bangladeshi film industry is growing at a very fast pace in recent years. 2014 has proved to be an excellent year for the film industry, with some of the movies being the highest grossing Bangladeshi films of all time. The Bangladeshi film industry started its journey with the 1931 production of Last Kiss; the earliest feature film ever made in what would become Bangladesh. However, the first ever screening of films in Bangladesh started on 24 April 1898 by Bradford Bioscope Company at the Crown theater near Dhaka harbour.[7] Commercially successful Bangladeshi films include Tojammel Haq's The Gypsy Daughter, AJ Khan's The Face and the Mask, Giashuddin Selim's Monpura, Ashiqur Rahman's Kistimaat, Iftakar Chowdhury's Agnee and many more.[8]



The history of the cinema of Bangladesh dates back to 1898, when the Bradford Bioscope Company arranged the screening of a film at the Crown Theatre near Dhaka Harbour, which became the first film ever to be released in Bangladesh. Bangladesh started the journey of its own production in 1913, with "New Picture House" becoming the first theater to be built in present-day Bangladesh.[9]

On 28 December 1895 in Paris De Café, the Lumiere brothers started the first commercial bioscope show. After 6 months, the Lumiere Brothers started the screening of their films in Dhaka, becoming the first established bioscope of the subcontinent. The first ever films to be released in Bangladesh were The Jubli Michil, Greek-Turkey Battle, The Jump of Princess Diana, The Game of Snow and The French Underground Railway.[9]

Silent era[edit]

The first Bengali silent film, Bless the World, was released on 8 November in 1919 under the direction of Jotish Banerjee from the French Madden Company. There were eighty theaters in Bangladesh during that time. In 1927-28, the Dhaka Royal family stepped forward and produced a short film named The Good Girl.[10] After the success of The Good Girl, the Royal family went for a bigger venture.[11] They set up the Dhaka East Bengal Cinematograph Society and produced a full-length silent movie titled The Last Kiss, the first Bangladeshi full-length silent film.[12][13]

Early development[edit]

By 1947, there were around 80 cinemas in what is now Bangladesh.[14]:pages 1, 3

The first Bengali organisation for producing and exhibiting films was the Royal Bioscope Company, established in the 1890s in Calcutta by Hiralal Sen. Although feature films were made in Bengali as early as 1919 (Bilwa Mangal), most production was done in Calcutta. The Nawab family of Dhaka produced Sukumari (1928–1929) and The Last Kiss (1931).[14]:pages 2–5

Pakistan era[edit]

Mukh O Mukhosh screenshot

After the partition of India in 1947, the first film made in East Pakistan was a newsreel about the visit of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, produced in 1948 by the radio broadcaster Nazir Ahmed.

The first full-length feature film with sound made in East Pakistan was Mukh O Mukhosh, which was produced by Abdul Jabbar Khan and released on August 3, 1956. Editing, printing and all other film processing for this movie were done in Lahore, Pakistan.[14]:pages 7, 9[15]

The East Bengal Provincial Assembly established the East Pakistan Film Development Corporation (EPFDC) on April 3, 1957. The first film produced by this organisation was Asiya (The Life of a Village Girl, 1960), directed by Fateh Lohani. During the late 1960s, 20-35 films were produced every year.

In the 1960s, one of the prominent directors of East Bengal was Zahir Raihan. Some of his works include Kokhono Asheni, Kancher Deyal, Dui Bhai, Shangam, Let There be Light, and Jibon Theke Neya. In 1971 he made a documentary on the Bangladeshi Liberation War, Stop Genocide, which was one of the first internationally acclaimed films of Bangladesh.


BFDC Main Gate 2011

During mid 1990s, Bangladeshi films started losing a large sector of audience because of lack of quality. The film directors started giving more attention to film's music, dance and other elements instead of story and screenplay. Some also began to add action and intense scenes. A few directors began to imitate and copy foreign films, mostly Indian films. Hence, the fims could attract only the urban living small income people.

During 2000s, Bangladeshi films began doing poor business and initially, the numbers of films decreased. The term 'Bangla Cinema' became a matter of joke among the people. Though there always have been some independent film makers who attempt to make movies in a good manner, their work attract only a few audience.

After a drastic decline in the 2000s, the Bangladeshi[16] film industry bounced back after 2009. With the help of the Bangladeshi Government and the emergence of giant production companies, the Bangladeshi film industry is growing at a fast pace. Since 2013, Bangladesh has developed several large production and distribution companies, such as Monsoon films, Jaaz Multimedia and Tiger Media Limited and the films produced by them have been doing better business than others for their large budget and glamorous appearance. But these films hardly attract the educated audience living in rural and urban areas. After 2000 till now most of the Bangladeshi movies are low budget "B-Grade" movies with lower quality.

The year 2014 has been the most profitable year yet, while the previous record is expected to be surpassed in 2015, with some of Bangladesh's biggest films lined up for release. Bollywood's Reliance Entertainment Limited has expressed their interest in producing Bangladeshi films. However, the Bangladesh Film Corporation didn't respond due to the ban on Indian films in Bangladesh.

Government support[edit]

The government of Bangladesh played a huge role in the re-emergence of Bangladeshi films. The Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) was established as an assistance hub for Bangladeshi cinema. The government also spends about $1 million annually for the development of Bangladeshi art cinema.

Important figures[edit]





  • 2015 - 41 Films
  • 2014 - 78 Films
  • 2013 - 54 Films
  • 2012 - 50 Films
  • 2011 - 47 Films
  • 2010 - 57 Films
  • 2009 - 63
  • 2008 - 67
  • 2007 - 96
  • 2006 - 98
  • 2005 - 103
  • 2004 - 88
  • 2003 - 79
  • 2002 - 82
  • 2001 - 72
  • 2000 - 99

Notable films[edit]


Mukh O Mukhosh was released in 1956.

Modern era films[edit]

Agnee (2014 film) was one of most successful movie.

Cult films[edit]

Muktir Gaan (1995)

Commercial successes[edit]

Rajotto filmed by Shakib Khan.

Highest grossing Bangladeshi films[edit]

Rank Title Year of release Budget (BDT) Net Gross (BDT) Ref
1 The Gypsy Girl 1989 2,00,00,000 (with Inflation) 5,25,00,000 (with inflation) [25]
2 Hero: The Superstar 2014 1,80,00,000 3,50,00,000 [25]
3 Hitman 2014 1,45,00,000 3,30,00,000 [25]
4 Agnee 2014 1,50,00,000 3,25,00,000 [25]
5 Love Marriage 2015 1,50,00,000 3,24,50,000 [25]
6 Agnee 2 2015 5,50,00,000 3,20,00,000 [25]
7 Nishwartha Bhalobasa 2013 8,00,00,000 2,52,00,000 [25]
8 Most Welcome 2012 6,00,00,000 2,48,50,000 [25]
9 Kistimaat 2014 1,20,00,000 2,25,00,000 [25]
10 My Name Is Khan 2013 1,35,00,000 2,20,00,000 [25]
11 Purno Doirgho Prem Kahini 2013 1,35,00,000 2,00,00,000 [25]
12 Most Welcome 2 2014 ৳8,00,00,000 1,85,00,000 [25]
13 Romeo vs Juliet 2015 4,44,60,000 1,80,00,000 (Domestic Only) [25]
14 NO1SK 2010 1,00,00,000 1,70,00,000 [25]

Major events[edit]



Film education[edit]

  • Bangladesh Film And Television Institute
  • Television and Film Studies (under University of Dhaka)
  • Bangladesh Film Institute

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "After 40 years, Bangladesh lifts ban on Bollywood films". Retrieved 25 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "After 40 years, Bangladesh lifts ban on Bollywood films". Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Bangladesh's 'Dhallywood' Film Industry Soars In Popularity". Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Bangladeshis reject "smutty" Bengali films, AFP/Helen Rowe, accessed 2006-07-26
  5. ^ Average national film production, Cinema Statistics, Institute for Statistics, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2009
  6. ^ "Number of Films Produced by Countries". Nation Master. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Finding Simple Methods In bengali entertainment". Skillshare. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Mukh O Mukhosh". Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "History of Bangladeshi Film". Cholochitro. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Liberation Struggles of a Country and a Festival". Dhaka Film Festival. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Raju, Zakir (2015). Bangladesh Cinema and National Identity: In Search of the Modern. London: Routledge. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-415-46544-1. 
  12. ^ "Dhaka Nawab Family and Film". Nawab Bari. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "Did you know? First Pakistani silent movie makes it to international film fests". Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c A Brief History of Bangladesh Cinema, accessed 27-July-2006
  15. ^ Celebrating 50 years of our cinema, Karim Waheed, The Daily Star (web edition), vol. 5, num. 431, accessed 27-July-2006
  16. ^ ""
  17. ^ "Bhalobasar Rong Film". Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  18. ^ "Shakib, Apu bag best actor awards". Daily Sun (Dhaka). 2013-07-09. Archived from the original on 2013-12-16. 
  19. ^ "দুই ছবিতে সাইমন". Daily Manobkantha. Retrieved 2013-05-09. 
  20. ^ চলচ্চিত্রে আলোচিত ৫ নায়িকার দৌড় চলছে এখন!. Ittefaq. 
  21. ^ আবার মৌসুমী. Prothom Alo. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  22. ^ "Big screen celebrities protest Hindi film release, call off productions". Dhaka Tribune. 2015-01-22. 
  23. ^ "Ferdous produces 'Postmaster 71'". The Daily Star. 2015-10-13. 
  24. ^ ছবি বানাতে টাকার চেয়ে বেশি দরকার মেধা : মোস্তফা সরয়ার ফারুকী [Pictures need more than talent to make money: Mostafa Sarwar Farooqi]. 2008-10-08. Archived from the original on 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "All Time Highest Grossing Bangladeshi Film". 

External links[edit]