“Doob”, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's magnum opus starring India's Irrfan Khan, is continuing its impressive run at the international film festival circuit, adding three big names to its poster. The Bangladesh-India joint production will screen in the main competition for the inaugural edition of the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt, as well as Asia's top film fest Busan International Film Festival (in South Korea) and Vancouver International Film Festival (Canada).
“Doob” is also the only South Asian title in the competition, with Indian title “Mukkabaaz” by Anurag Kashyap playing out of competition.
The El Gouna Film Festival was officially unveiled on the eve of Cannes this year, and with more than $200,000 worth of cash prizes to the winners, becomes one of the biggest film festival prize money pots in the Arab-speaking world.
The prizes will be awarded across three categories at El Gouna: feature narrative, feature documentary and shorts. In the feature narrative competition, the best film will receive the $50,000 El Gouna Golden Star for a Narrative Film, followed by the $25000 El Gouna Silver Star and $15,000 El Gouna Bronze Star for the runners-up.
Other than El Gouna, the film has also been selected for Asia's top festival Busan that has become a Farooki stronghold of sorts over the eight years: he has screened three films there (“Third Person Singular Number”, “Television” and “Pipra Bidya”) and was on the jury of the Sonje Award for short films. The film will screen in the Window on Asian Cinema section there. Between El Gouna and Busan, Farooki will also travel to Canada's Vancouver International Film Festival (September 28 - October 13) where the film will be screened in the World Cinema Panorama section. Sources close to the production said the film is in contention to go to a couple of other film festivals, but those have not been finalized yet.
The film, that also stars Nusrat Imrose Tisha and Indian actress Parno Mittra, is set for a wide theatrical release in India and Bangladesh on October 27. The date came after months of uncertainty over the film's future as it was blocked from going to the censor board in February by a government film review committee.
Talking to The Daily Star, Tisha said “We make a film with a lot of dreams and anticipation, and it's really satisfying to see it get so much appreciation internationally. The best part of it is to represent Bangladesh at such prestigious events, and I'm really excited for all the selections.”