Mohammad Zahirullah also known as Zahir Raihan was a Bangladeshi novelist, writer and filmmaker. He still dominates our memory because of his documentary “ Stop Genocide” made during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Zahir Raihan was born on 19 August 1935, in the village Majupur, at Feni. His father was a professor of Calcutta Alia Madrasha. After the Partition of Bengal in 1947, he along with his parents returned back to their own village.
Early stage of his life
Zahir passed the Matriculation in 1950 from Amirabad High School and completed his ISc. from Dhaka College. He obtained BA (Hon) in Bangla from the University of Dhaka. At his early life he devoted himself with the left politics. He was a medium of the banned communist party leaders. He took an active part in the language movement. He was one of the first 10 students to go out in a procession on 21 February 1952 despite there was a ban and taken to prison. He made his legendary film “ Jibon Theke Neya” based on language movement. He also took part in the “ Gano Obhyuthyan” in 1969. In 1971 he joined in the Liberation War of Bangladesh and created documentary films on this great event.
Zahir Raihan was fond of literature. He received his post graduate degree in Bengali Literature. Along with literature also works as journalist. He joined Juger Alo in 1950. Later in newspapers, named Khapchhara, Jantrik, and Cinema. His first short story, titled Suryagrahan, was published in 1955. He worked as an assistant in the film “ Jago Huya Sabera (Urdu)” in 1957. This was his first foot print in film. The filmmaker Ehtesham also took him for his movie A Desh Tomar Amar, for which he wrote the title song. Film “ Kokhono Asheni” was his first directed film in 1960. In 1964, he made Pakistan’s first colour movie “ Sangam” and completed his first CinemaScope movie “ Bahana” the following year.
Zahir Raihan’s elder brother, the famous writer Shahidullah Kaiser was captured and killed by the Pakistan during the last days of the war. Zahir Raihan disappeared on January 30, 1972 trying to locate his brother. It is said that he was killed among many others when some armed Bihari collaborators and disguised soldiers of Pakistan Army fired on them.
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