Bengali Beauty: Mumtaheena Toya and Rahsaan Noor bring old world charm to Dhaka love story
Mumtaheena Toya (Bokhate, Roop) and Rahsaan Noor (Simanaheen, The Spectacular Jihad of Taz Rahim) have teamed up for Bengali Beauty, a counterculture love story set in 1970s Dhaka and directed by Noor himself. The first image from the film highlights the charm the actors have brought to the story in an iconic Dhaka location, Notre Dame College.
The title, a common phrase attributed to bengali women, refers not only to a particular person but to an entire nation — as is evident from this marvelously old-fashioned moment from the film, where we see a radio deejay (played by Noor) and a medical student (Toya) express their love for each other.
“There’s an incredible romanticism in Dhaka that you don’t always see when you’re stuck in traffic,” says Noor, who shot this scene during a May sunset in Notre Dame College. “I wanted to make a big love letter to the people of the city and to the people that helped raise me. I hope my generation can feel what it was like to be young during my parents’ generation, and I hope my parents’ generation can take a sweet trip down memory lane.”
Noor notes that the film is influenced by a cocktail of Yash Chopra romances and Hollywood Vietnam War movies such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Robin Williams’ Good Morning Vietnam. “It’s an unusual mix, I know,” he says. “But it’s a fun mix. This era is so rich and Dhaka has its own rich history. Everyone has their own idea of Dhaka, and many are not the most pleasant ideas. But if treated the right way, Dhaka can definitely hold its own as a romantic playground.”