Tareque Masud’s 62nd Birthday

The first Bangladeshi director to participate in the Oscars or to be honored at Cannes, Tareque Masud was a driving force within his country’s independent film movement. He and his wife Catherine, would visit remote villages all over Bangladesh showing films with a mobile projector, earning the nickname “Cinema Feriwalla” (Vendor of Movies).

Born in the village of Nurpur on this day in 1956, Masud was educated in a Bangladeshi madrassa, or Muslim school. Following Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, he became part of the film society movement and earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Dhaka. His first films were documentaries that told the story of his homeland, starting with 1989’s Adam Surat (Inner Strength) about the Bangladeshi painter Sheikh Mohammed Sultan. His classic 1995 feature-length documentary Muktir Gaan (Song of Freedom) about the independence movement in Bangladesh attracted huge audiences.

Masud’s upbringing in East Pakistan inspired his first feature, The Clay Bird. The Masuds invested all their savings into completing the film, which went on to win an International Critics’ award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

A founding member of the Short Film Forum, an important platform for independent film, Masud also organized Bangladesh’s first International Short and Documentary Film Festival, which continues to this day. To further honor his legacy, the Tareq Masud Memorial Trust launched the Tareque Masud Short Film Competition, encouraging a new generation of Bengali filmmakers to follow in his footsteps.

Happy Birthday, Tareque Masud!


Special thanks to Catherine Masud, Tareque’s wife and production partner, for her partnership on this project. Below, she shares her thoughts on the filmmaker’s legacy and today’s Google Doodle:

It is a great honor to have Tareque Masud’s legacy recognized by Google. Tareque was a visionary and a pioneer of Bangladeshi cinema, an inspiring figure for young people in his own country and beyond. Although he made films for the people of Bangladesh, his work also spoke to the world through universal themes of tolerance, compassion, and justice.

Pictured: Tareque Masud

Photo credit: Catherine Masud

It was an incredible privilege for me to have shared Tareque’s filmmaking journey over a span of more than twenty years. He was taken from us too soon, in the prime of his life and career. But for every life he touched he was like an igniting fire, setting the dreams of those around him alight. May those dreams continue to burn bright, lighting the way through dark times ahead. And may this honor bestowed upon Tareque by Google also shine that light around the world, so that others may find hope and inspiration on discovering his films and his legacy for the first time.

Pictured: Tareque Masud

Photo credit: Catherine Masud

(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)