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The Day Shall Dawn: Filming on the river


The Day Shall Dawn: The cast and language problems
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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The cast was very good. There was a friend of Akhtar Kardar's who was a painter, a very talented painter, called Zulqarnain, was the... played the main fisherman. Then a young lad, also an amateur actor basically, he played the, sort of, hero, younger hero of the film. And the girl in the film, the principal woman in the film, was an actress, a very experienced actress, from the theatre in Calcutta, called Tripti Mitra. Beautiful and a very talented lady. We all became very good friends. And then there were some more... one or two minor actors. There were perhaps eight actors altogether and the rest of the people were the people of the village.

The next problem was that the director was Punjabi, the extras, all the local peoples, were Bangladeshi. The film was being made in Urdu. The language of the film was Urdu. The script had been written in English, and it was translated on the set, every day, into Urdu. There wasn't a lot of dialogue, but what dialogue there was... was in Urdu, which the fisherman, of course, the local fisherman, didn't understand. They didn't understand Punjabi either, so there had to be a lot of, kind of, cross translation. And there was a wonderful moment, quite late on in the shooting where there was some dispute over the correct translation of this piece of the English script, and the director looked up and he said, 'Does anybody here speak Urdu?'

Born in Germany, cinematographer Walter Lassally (1926-2017) was best known for his Oscar-winning work on 'Zorba the Greek'. He was greatly respected in the film industry for his ability to take the best of his work in one area and apply it to another, from mainstream to international art films to documentary. He was associated with the Free Cinema movement in the 1950s, and the British New Wave in the early 1960s. In 1987 he published his autobiography called 'Itinerant Cameraman'.

Listeners: Peter Bowen

Peter Bowen is a Canadian who came to Europe to study and never got round to heading back home. He did his undergraduate work at Carleton University (in Biology) in Ottawa, and then did graduate work at the University of Western Ontario (in Zoology). After completing his doctorate at Oxford (in the Department of Zoology), followed with a year of postdoc at the University of London, he moved to the University's newly-established Audio-Visual Centre (under the direction of Michael Clarke) where he spent four years in production (of primarily science programs) and began to teach film. In 1974 Bowden became Director of the new Audio-Visual Centre at the University of Warwick, which was then in the process of introducing film studies into the curriculum and where his interest in the academic study of film was promoted and encouraged by scholars such as Victor Perkins, Robin Wood, and Richard Dyer. In 1983, his partner and he moved to Greece, and the following year he began to teach for the University of Maryland (European Division), for which he has taught (and continues to teach) biology and film courses in Crete, Bosnia, and the Middle East.

Tags: Akhtar Kardar, Tripti Mitra

Duration: 1 minute, 44 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008