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Naadir Junaid: A pioneer for political cinema in Bangladesh

Posted: 24 May 2017

Bangladesh, Impact,

Australia Global Alumni

University of New South Wales alumnus Naadir Junaid made ‘beautiful and lifelong friendships’ while studying amidst the ‘scenic splendor’ of Sydney. His work examining the interplay between cinema, society and politics has led him back to Bangladesh, where film studies, until now, has been ‘grossly neglected’.

Naadir undertook his PhD as a recipient of the prestigious Australia Awards Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship. He was also appointed as an Australia Awards Ambassador in 2016. Ambassador positions are given to a handpicked group of distinguished scholarship alumni from the South Asia region. Recipients promote scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian government in their home countries. Naadir was previously presented with an Australian Alumni Excellence Award in 2015 for his accomplishments in his chosen field.

Before commencing his PhD in Australia, Naadir earned a Master’s degree in Film Studies from King’s College, University of London as a Commonwealth Scholar. He also did an MA and a BA in Mass Communication and Journalism from University of Dhaka, the oldest and the most renowned public university of Bangladesh. He was awarded three gold medals from University of Dhaka for his outstanding academic achievements.

Upon completion of his PhD, Naadir returned to Bangladesh to teach Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Dhaka. Alongside teaching, Naadir has also published a number of books in his own language which is Bangla. The English title of his most recent book is An Aesthetic of Protest: The Unconventional Films of Bangladesh.

Naadir developed a strong connection with Australia and other international students through his Australia Award. What made his time in Australia so fruitful – 

“The opportunity to receive academic guidance from distinguished scholars in my field, the availability of vast academic resources in the libraries, my interactions with other postgraduate students and the chance to participate in international conferences contributed enormously to make Australia very congenial to my study.”

“The culturally vibrant atmosphere and the scenic splendor of Sydney always helped me feel refreshed when the days were quite demanding due to academic workload. I met many lovely people from different parts of the world and I made some beautiful and lifelong friendships during my four-year stay in Australia. I found that period of my life thoroughly enjoyable and productive.”

Through his research and writings, Naadir is now examining the complexities of the interplay between cinema, society and politics. When asked about his current work in Bangladesh, Naadir says: “Film studies in general and the study of politically-critical cinema in particular have been grossly neglected in Bangladesh, and through my research, writings and seminars I am trying to disseminate serious film culture in the country.”

“I am also trying to formulate newer theories and concepts relating to our films which would help filmmakers and film critics develop a critical understanding of films that can be socially meaningful. The production of such socially responsible cinema would help the spectators achieve entertainment as well as develop a critical consciousness. My film research aims to produce new knowledge of such aesthetically innovative and socially conscious cinema.”

Naadir truly valued being part of the university community during his student life in Australia. He remained living on campus while he completed his thesis, Bengali Political Cinema: Protest and Social Transformation, in 2013.

You can explore more of Naadir Junaid’s work in his books: Ten Political Films: Thematic and Formal Characteristics (2014) and Bengali Political Cinema: Cinema of Resistance by Ray, Ghatak and Sen (2015).