August 9th, 2021
CHOWDHURY ASIF JAHANGIR ARKO
DIRECTOR OF LAST WISH
BEST FANTASY / JUNE EDITION
A content soul, a proud son of a doctor mother, a proud brother of a scientist & an architect by profession. Also into dancing & drawing cartoons/comic books. I try to be satisfied with what I get or achieve in life and try not to expect much from life itself.
I consider myself both equally an architect & a filmmaker. I love practicing architecture. Filmmaking was something new I just wanted to try out & in the process fell in love with. During the production of my first film, I realized & became aware of my weaknesses behind the camera. So immediately got myself admitted & completed diploma courses on filmmaking, direction, screenplay & cinematography. I am still a new & amateur filmmaker, pursuing filmmaking for just about three years. So, still learning & exploring this field. Since then I am trying my best to do something, that I can be proud of & can inspire others, by giving something back to this art form.
The film is dedicated to my mother Dr. Zebunnessa Parvin, who is a single mother, raising two sons. So, the idea of the mother-son dynamic obviously was something quite personal for me. Also the story is about the aspirations & dreams of a to-be architect & his struggles to achieve those, which I can relate to very well.
I was sure & confident about the idea & what I wanted to say through the film from the very beginning. The rest fell into place along the way eventually. The story was very close to my heart & the characters were created from real life people I know very well. I just thought of some incidents & repercussions & imagined how the characters would react to those situations.
Since the beginning of pre-production, one of the most challenging & difficult decissions to be made for this film, was creating the afterlife.
Though the film relies on flashback & after death or dream sequences, the story is more about feeling unsatisfied or discontent & fighting for another chance to live those unfulfilled dreams, before the imminent ending of life itself. So we just tried to bring… the peaceful yet incomplete, infinite but trapped & lost feel… to the environment for those specific scenes by playing with colours, camera shots, camera angles, framing & movement, to have that uneasy presence.
As the story of the film swings between two different kinds of settings – one is life & the other is afterlife, those had to be distinctly differentiable in both look & feel. I wanted to start the film with the weirder, abnormal & unrecognisable one, which was the afterlife. So I had to create an unusual experience for the audience from the very beginning.
As the character of Turjo was in the transition phase & not completely a part of the afterlife yet, so his features were not fully absored by afterlife & he still had some color of life left in him.
I am someone who respects the power & strength of music, in films & otherwise. I believe, sometimes a lot more can be expressed through music rather than words. So I try to put special care in choosing music & sounds for my works.
I am grateful to Shams Mansoor Ghani, who is also my teacher & mentor for agreeing to compose the music for Last Wish.
I find architecture & filmmaking very similar. Both have similar disciplines, time management, ways of execution, need functional ideas & require same kind of commitment.
So I always use my knowledge & experience gained from architecture in filmmaking. I love doing both & both comes from my passion of creative work. The skills, understanding & perspective achieved from architecture studies actually helps me a lot in both my work & personal life.
As the character of Turjo (named after my brother), is an architect like me, of course there are similarities & references taken from my own experiences to build the character. Because I relate to & know the life & aspirations of an architecture student very well.
Obviously I haven’t died & came back to life ever, yet. Also didn’t have a near death accident, but being an architect & an architecture student before that, the constant fear of not meeting deadlines & failing to submit projects haunts me still.
Everything I thought of doing when I first thought of the story & making this film, obviously did not remain the exact same in the end. Like- some filming locations, certain scenes or shots. Still I was able to do most of the things, as I imagined fortunately.
Also shooting during the pandemic & lockdowns, was a totally new & different experience for us. We had to delay the production several times. Team members were not available at times. Having permission to shoot outside was an issue. Keeping everyone in the team safe & protected was more important than getting a perfect shot sometimes. But all those complications made us stronger as a team. Everyone gave their best effort in such conditions & we are very proud of the way the film turned out in the end.