The film bagged not only the Best Feature Film Award, but also those for Best Original Score, Best Editor and Best Cinematographer.
At the last festival in 2017, Tauquir’s film Oggatonama had won the Best Screenplay award.
A beaming Tauquir, the actor-turned director, said by making Halda he had kept to his passion for making films on burning social and national issues.
Oggatonama was about the pathetic situation of Bangladeshi migrant workers centered round the return of an unidentified body from a Middle Eastern country.
Halda is about the woes of fishermen whose catch keeps dwindling as the river gets polluted by factories and other wastes from the land.
Pollution of the river leads to poverty and abject dependence on its riches to provide the fishermen some sustenance. Their women are forced into marriage with old rich men. But these women are treated as slaves rather than wives.
The struggle of the fishermen and their women is the theme of Halda. Tauquir’s script and direction had created a gripping movie which won applause at the end of the show.
Answering questions from the audience, Tauquir said initially the film was to be only about fish and fishermen but he soon realised that nobody would want to see such a film. He then decided to weave the woes of fisherwomen into the story.
There was little scope for songs in the movie given the tear jerker of a theme, but eventually he included four or five songs so that the film was appealing to the masses.
“I didn’t want my producer to lose money. With the songs the film ran well and the producer did make money,” Tauquir said, smiling.
“This year the breeding has been good. Halda is back to normal,” he said.
The other award winners from the Halda team were: Cinematographer Enamul Sohel, Editor Amit Debnath, Music composers Tauquir Ahmed, Pinto Ghosh, and Sanzida Mahmood Nandita.
Tauquir collected the awards on his colleagues’ behalf.
Twenty-six films were shown at the festival from May 22 to 26. There were no entries from Afghanistan and Nepal this year for want of English subtitles, a SAARC Cultural Center official said.
Entries from Bhutan and the Maldives took the audience by surprise as they were outstanding. While the Pakistani entries left much to be desired, the Indian and Sri Lankan entries were of high quality with some of them bagging prizes.