Yesterday marked the 18th year of Star Cineplex. It would be in 2004, that Star Cineplex would bring out the first multiplex cinema theatre in Bangladesh. In attendance at the anniversary event were the team of the upcoming movie, “Damal”.
The journey over these last 18 years has not been easy for the organisation. “The first two years, we had to reignite the culture of cinema in Bangladesh. Right around that time, many halls had closed down, and people had forgotten about the experience of going to cinemas. We entered this industry, which was almost dying, with our own multiplex cinema hall. It was quite a risky venture,” said Mahboob Rahman Ruhel, the founder of Star Cineplex.
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Rahman also shared with those in attendance at the anniversary event, that there were times when he thought this would all come to an end. That cinema theatres would just die out in Bangladesh. This was particularly the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, watching cinema is in our DNA. Visiting theatres is a social event. So, during COVID many people came forth to support us. Our Bashundhara Star Cineplex was going to be shut down, we had even announced it. But then I noticed how the community came forward, how everyone from Jaya Ahsan to other celebrities came forward to support us. That’s when I realised that Star Cineplex isn’t our own brand, rather it is a brand of the people of Bangladesh,” reminisced Rahman.
The founder and film producer then proceeded to discuss his plans that someday, Star Cineplex would have 100 screens across Bangladesh. He also praised the Honourable Prime Minister for creating the initiative that allows hall owners to take long-term loans, with minimal interest, if they want to build more cinema halls.
A passionate Rahman then discussed the success of Bangladeshi films in recent years, listing off names like “Hawa”, “Poran”, “Rehana Maryam Noor”, and “Operation Sundarban”. He also mentioned that “Hawa” had broken all of their box-office records.
The man behind the screenplay of “No Dorai” also noted the recent success of OTT. He mentioned that while OTT has changed the Bangladeshi audience’s taste for content, it cannot encapsulate the same feeling as when going to the cinema hall, and watching a movie on the big screen.
“The fact that Bangladeshi films are beating franchises like ‘Avengers’ and ‘Avatar’, at the box-office, is great news for all of us. Hopefully, we’ll see a beautiful future for cinema in Bangladesh,” finished Rahman.