On the ominous night of 25 March 1971, a heinous military operation, the Operation Searchlight an operation designed to kill indiscriminately the innocent democracy loving millions, was initiated by the Pakistan Army. The hated operation was just the beginning of the worst genocide to follow, a brutal crime against humanity after the Second World War. On that very night, Hasan Ahmed, a veteran journalist of the country, husband of Bilkis (Joya Ahsan), simply vanished while on his way to his newspaper office to perform his journalistic duty. He is untraceable till date. Bilkis was in banking profession. She started a desperate search for her husband and at the same time got herself engaged as a collaborator to the guerrilla operations which were gradually gaining momentum. She was not affected by her personal loss and pain, rather, undaunted; she chose the hazardous path to carry on the fight for our liberation. With the guerrilla fighters like Shahadat, Alam, Maya, Kazi Kamal, Fateh Ali and others operating in Dhaka, she started participating directly in many dangerous and successful operations. She was in constant touch with Altaf Mahmud, the legendary personality of Bengali Nation’s musical arena and scorer of many revolutionary songs. She thus became the central character in the movie, also a target to the enemy. Bilkis, Shahin and many others got involved in the publication of a secret English News bulletin The GUERRILLA, obviously from the underground. Incidentally, at a particular point of time, Taslim Ali Sardar, a traditional Chieftain of the old Dhaka’s subsector (Moholla), who courageously sheltered ill-fated Bilkis, got brutally killed by the Pakistani Army and their lackeys— the hated rajakars. At one point, Altaf Mahmud, Rumi, Bodi along with some other freedom fighters were captured. Altaf and few others like him did never return, could never be traced, a tragic fact well known to us today. Bilkis, a lonely character now, could evade the worse, and tactfully leave the labyrinth- like barriers and traps set by the occupational army around Dhaka. She could get into a train to her home, Joleswari, a remote village at Rangpur. The metallic train transforms into a character, a symbolic one, a moving replica designed to depict a catastrophic journey. The parents of Bilkis were killed in the communal riots of January ’71 earlier.. She just was desperately longing to meet her own brother: Khokon at Joleawari. Khokon was then a commander of the local freedom fighters. Pakistan Army units were on the verge of collapse due to consistent fierce attacks initiated by those fighters. Khokon dynamited a vital railway bridge near Joleswari, interrupting all train movements. . She had to reach her brother. Nothing could deter her. She opted to walk. On her way, she got a young vibrant male companion, Siraj, a member of Khokon’s fighting group. At one point Khokon was captured by the Pak Army. The brutal Army and Rajakar predators SLAUGHTERED him along with other captured freedom fighters. Bilkis wanted to have a glimpse of her dead brother, wanted to touch his apparently cold, inert body to feel the warmth of a loving brother, the heat of the fire inside him which no killer could extinguish. Khokon was a living, pulsating symbol of our ongoing freedom fight. She, risking her life, could enter the ‘killing fields’ of the occupants but was captured immediately by them. Bilkis was captured but she did never surrender to the heinous forces. For her country, for the entire freedom loving humanity, she did set up an example, a glorious one. She does not allow her body, the body of the fledgling Bangladesh, to be molested by the vultures of Pakistan. She blew herself up with explosives, destroying the surrounding mocking dogs in the process.
Yousuff, along with Selim Al Deen, founded “Dhaka Theatre” in 1973 and later “Bangladesh Gram Theatre”.He is the organising secretary of Bangladesh Centre of International Theatre (BCITI). He served as the president and director of the Committee for Cultural Identity and Development (CIDC).
Yousuff is married to artist Shimul Yousuf. Together they have a daughter Esha Yousuf.
“Ekatturer Jishu” (1993)
“Shey Kotha Boley Jai”
Drama, History, War
December 27, 2017