In the commercially successful film “Roopban” we find a glorification of the fantastic sacrifices of an (ideal) oriental woman. Roopban, a girl aged twelve (in old times a girl over ten used to be considered too old for marriage) burdened with a flourishing youth is told to marry a new-born prince aged 12 days which she does only to save her parents from beheading under king’s order (the king is himself under the influence of a soothsayer). A great sacrifice indeed and only women are capable of it! To by-pass the “spell” she is then banished to the jungle for twelve years with her young husband where she nurses him like a mother and, in time, he grows up to be a handsome young man only to fall in love with another girl. That’s what men are like! In the end, of course, Roopban wins and is reinstated with full honors.
In a successful “folk” film like Roopban, womanhood is found to be invariably idealized. It is only in the `historicals’ that the focus of idolization shifts to male heroism but that, too, is often “protected” by the prayer of the virtuous and devoted wife much to the liking of the housewives. According to the survey conducted in the 1960s, the majority of the cine-goers in East Pakistan were housewives. The cinema was their only deviation from the drudgeries of day to day life. A simple love-play in which the sincerity of the girl is always preserved as something pure and heavenly – she never betrays nor changes the object of her love – and other elements of feminine interest like considerate or inconsiderate husbands, lovable children, the problem of having babies, or of not being able to have them, with a dose or two of the condemnation for the bad girl (the vamp), etc. appealed to them tremendously. In the films produced at that time, either “folk” or “social”, these elements were invariably dominant, and the success of the film was thought to be dependent on how naively the director could stir housewives’ sentiments – Alamgir Kabir
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 1965, Genre – Fantasy, Country – East Pakistan, Language – Bengali, Producer – Salahuddin, Director – Salahuddin, Music Director – Satya Sinha, Cast – Sujata, H. Imam, Chandana, Siraj, Anwar, Subhash Dutta