Literature, paintings and performing art of Bangladesh

Arts and Paintings: Bangladesh takes pride in its glorious tradition of Art and literature. The tradition of painting started for religious purpose in Hindu temples and Viharas. Ancient terracotta and pottery testify our artistic ability and aesthetic taste. Zainul Abedin, who became famous for his paintings on the Bengal famine of 1943, is considered as the father of the modern art movement in Bangladesh. Many of the Bangladeshi painters have earned international reputation for their outstanding artistic abilities.

Literature: A collection of lyrical poems composed by the Buddhist Monks known as ‘Charjapada’ is believed to be the earliest specimen of Bengali literature. The earliest available specimen of Charjapada is of about a thousand years old. During the mediaeval period, Bengali Literature developed considerably with the patronage of Muslim rulers. The era of modern Bengali Literature began in the late nineteenth century, in which the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore played a pioneer role. Tagore won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. Kazi Nazrul Islam, Michael Madhusudan Datta. Sarat Chandra Chattopadhaya, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya, and many other succeeding writers of outstanding calibre have immense contributions in enriched the modern Bengali Literature.

Music and dance: Various forms of folk and tribal music and dance are of indigenous origin. Lyrics of the folk songs rooted into the tradition and spirituality. Most prevalent forms of folk songs and music include: Bhatiali, Baul, Marfati, Murshidi, and Bhawaiya. Lyricists like Lalon Shah, Hason Raja, Kangal Harinath, Romesh Shill, Abbas Uddin have enriched the folk songs of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has developed its own distinct dancing syles, although a few dancing styles of the adjacent north-eastern India like monipuri and santal dances are widely practiced in Bangladesh. Classical and modern songs and dances are equally popular in Bangladesh.

Drama and film: The theatre in Bangladesh is believed to have its origin in the 4th century AD in the form of Sanskrit drama. The folk theatre of Bangladesh has developed in distinct forms, which can be categorized into (i) the narrative, (ii) the song-and-dance, (iii) the processional, and (iv) the supra-personae. In present day theatre of Bangladesh, the influence of European theatre and indigenous folk culture is very prominent. The culture of theatre has great significance in the history as well as in daily lives of Bangladeshis. The theatre performance had vehemently inspired the culture and language based independence movements.

Bangladesh has a very strong film industry. Bangladesh started its journey of own film production with the silent film “Bless the World” by Jotish Banerjee, which was released on 8 November 1919. The first full-length feature film with sound was produced by Abdul Jabbar Khan in the then East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) was Mukh O Mukhosh (face and musk), which was released on 3 August 1956. In 2013, Bangladesh produced about 120 films to emerge as the 10th largest film producing country in the world. Bangladeshi film industry is the second largest film industry in South Asia after Bollywood and is the ninth largest in Asia in terms of revenue. In addition to providing entertainments to mass people, films industry also serves as powerful tool for creating public awareness in Bangladesh.

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