Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Recently, I came across an article stating, “People stop discovering music after 30”. This is a rather downlifting study for many of us. There will never be a shortage of great music. But most often they are unnoticed and dominated by substandard crap. Bangladeshi millennials can boast of the band music scene they have grown up listening since the 2000s. Speaking of, have we given due attention to the bands who rightfully deserved it?

Read more: Not just a clone: the Imagine Radio Story

Making a career as a band musician is hard in Bangladesh. Many promising bands have shown their potential but eventually gravitated towards other professions. Apparently making music can barely pay your bills. So this article is a homage to the bands who have shown tremendous musicianship but faded out of the scene. Some of them went abroad, others are inactive…or subject to typical rockstar feud.

Icons

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Icons is an alternative rock band who released their debut album Ishshoronio in 2005. Before landing a studio album deal with G-series, Icons made quite a name through various mixed albums. Yours truly still fantasizes about their reunion show…maybe in the distant future.

Notable tracks: Oporanho, Ishshoronio, Neon

Read more: Sodium Batir Gaan – changing the culture of open air music

Vibe

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

If I could resurrect one band from dormancy, it would be VIBE. This alternative/heavy metal band created a lot of buzz when their album ‘Chena Jogot’ hit the market in 2007. I remember my peers complimenting about Vibe by saying, “they could be the next Artcell!”. Let’s not go into comparison because Vibe have created a sound of their own. Please come back, we need you!

Notable tracks: Shesher opashe, Nostalgia, Shopnodeb

Read more: Bangladeshi graphic novels: 5 essential reads

The Watson Brothers

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Cryptic Fate and The Attempted Band, two bands that varied in genre, got together to form ‘The Watson Brothers’. Thankfully, the chemistry worked very well. In 2003, TWB released their album “Ohom”. The band may not be around anymore, but their songs are actively performed by Cryptic Fate (which is a relief).

Notable tracks: Rong, Akash, Ohom

Minerva

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Minerva came into limelight with their epic medley of 19 minutes (A tribute to Bangladeshi bands). It transcended every frontier of awesomeness that to call it a cover will be an understatement. But the groove metal band have cemented their position in the music scene with their debut album “Biday Shongbidhan” (2013). The band has been inactive for quite a while. We can only hope their comeback with this year’s Rocknation.

Notable tracks: Ashirbaad, Jaatra, Mrittur Shesh Choy

These artists attest to the fact “Quality matters, not quantity”.

The mentioned bands gave us priceless music. The only thing we demand from them is a reunion gig.

Remember, hope is a great thing!

Watch: Zamor, a Bangladeshi in the French Revolution

(Album artworks featured in this article are courtesy of banglacdcovers.blogspot.com. Head over to their blog to see hi-res scanned image of old, new and rare CD covers)

A love letter to MCU from a fan with no ticket

Dear MCU,

Hope this letter finds you in good spirit. I know you are too busy to respond, but I wanted to let you know what you mean to us.

The millennials needed a major pop culture boost. We were fatigued to drool over dated fandoms. We needed something of our own.

And we got one. The mighty Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Read more: “Thank you, Marvel” – a fan looks back on 10 years of the MCU

The Messiah

Before MCU, comic book adaptations on the silver screen were always dissed by the producers. We sure had some darling flicks at the turn of the century such as Sam Raimi’s Spiderman and the X-Men trilogy, but they were deemed as nothing but potboilers. One 20th Century Fox executive even went on to say the genre ends with X-Men: The Last Stand, there is no future for this kind of rubbish. But tables were meant to turn. With the release of Batman Begins in 2005, superhero movies got a wholly new facelift. Chris Nolan aptly destigmatized Batman movies. But something was missing. We were half expecting some messiah would step in to make some superhero flicks featuring our larger than life heroes.

Finally, the messiah came and conquered.

His name is Kevin Feige.

The mastermind behind the monumental success of MCU. He pitched the idea of an inter connected movie franchise spanning decades. The major reason DC could not win in the theaters on par with Marvel because they couldn’t hire someone like Feige.

The big bang

It all started with Iron Man in 2008. The very idea of post-credit scenes in superhero films was entwined in this movie, and I missed it the first time. Nick Fury sneaking inside Stark mansion to approach Tony for a superhero team-up? It felt surreal. Who could have thought the possibility of one behemoth superhero movie like the Avenger (2012)? Four separate franchises were following a pathway to culminate into one historical motion picture.

The summer Avengers was released, I didn’t go to the theatre to have cinematic experience of some sort. I was just so happy to see four of my poster heroes fighting as a team. But the movie made our jaws drop, eyes bulge and hairs on our back raise in respect. It is arguably (one of the) greatest comic book adaptation till this day and years to come. A big hug for director Joss Whedon. I felt sad when he had to deal critically with Disney execs over creative issues. The man wanted Spiderman and other characters to appear in Age of Ultron. Instead, he got Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Can we blame him for his exasperation to direct the highly anticipated sequel?

On the darker side

The MCU has its fair share of haters too. Loki is the only grade A villain in the whole universe. I am intentionally excluding Winter Soldier, he doesn’t really count as a foe, does he? Thanos should not be compared with other names whatsoever. So where does it put MCU in the radar?

Cool action movies on steroids with unimpressive baddies? Maybe.

The directors who have worked relentlessly for phase 1-3 deserve a round of applause. The Russo brothers deserve something more, like a gigantic bouquet the size of a hulkbuster suit.

The people who made it happen

MCU succeeded with flying colors. One key reason is the casting. The people who played their respective characters in the movies, were meant to play those parts. Can you imagine Tom Cruise as Tony Stark? He almost bagged the role of this fancy billionaire if former cocaine junkie Downey Jr didn’t show his relentless passion to make a comeback in Hollywood. He gets 50 million per movie now for playing Iron Man.

And last but not least, we want to gleefully remember the masters who drew and wrote about the characters and universe. You guys rock! Stan Lee was fateful to see his creations on the silver screen. I wish other artists were as lucky as Stan the man. Jack Kirby (and many more) creators never got the due money or respect they should have gotten.

Before I manage to survive the adrenaline rush Avengers: Endgame has to offer, this is my token of love for the movies I will re-watch for the rest of my life.

Read more: A roadmap to Endgame: Everything you need to know

Yours truly

A fan with no ticket

5 Bangladeshi graphic novels you must read

Graphic novel is a wonderful medium where art and literature interplays. Often deemed as a pulpy and lesser creative form, graphic novels have gained momentum in the past 20 years or so. Often mistakenly labelled as comics, graphic novels deal with deeper subject matter and perplexed illustrations. They are bigger in length as well.

Bangladesh too has a thriving graphic novel scene confined in a limited readership. It is great to see publishing houses like Panjeree and Dhaka Comics are catering to the local fans and publishing new graphic novels frequently. If you have never read a deshi graphic novel, here is an essential reading list to get you started with. These 5 titles are a testament that our local writers/artists are rivalling with their Western counterparts, with what limited time and resource they have.

#1 Ruhan Ruhan (রুহান রুহান)

Genre: Sci-fi

Publisher: Dhaka Comics

Credit: Muhammad Zafar Iqbal (story), Mehedi Haque (illustration)

Summary: Ruhan Ruhan is set in a nihilistic and dystopian planet where people have no sense of humanity whatsoever. Ruhan, was fatefully kidnapped and deported to the planet ‘Gruzan’. A gang of savage businessmen throws him two options- either engage in a win-or-die gladiator match or be a guinea pig of human anatomy replacement. Ruhan is no ordinary guy, he defies the corrupt system and reclaims humanity. This graphic novel is a 5 part series; the last issue is scheduled to hit bookstores this year.

#2 Laily (লাইলী)

Genre: Comedy/romance

Publisher: Panjeree

Credit: Shahrier Khan (Story and illustration)

Summary: Laily, the titular character, is a drop dead gorgeous girl of her neighbourhood. After a 10 year hiatus, she returns to the area where she grew up. In no time, a neighboring engineer, a gangster and a journalist fall for her. With a heavy dose of Dhallywood-ish humor, Laily tackles all the hopeless romantics come what may. This is by far the best comedy graphic novel by a Bangladeshi artist. Although I might be opinionated, you’ll thank me later for recommending Laily!

#3 Shurjer Din (সূর্যের দিন)

Genre: Liberation war

Publisher: Pragati

Credits: Humayun Ahmed (story), Ahsan Habib (illustration)

Summary: Shurjer din chronicles the life of a group of teens amidst the tension of the liberation war. The main characters go through a crisis as their regular life comes to a standstill following the events of 1971. I highly recommend this graphic novel to pre-teenagers. Adapted from a Humayun Ahmed novella, Ahsan Habib’s illustration breathes sentiments of our glorious liberation war in this gem. This is a suitable starter for young readers who find war stories complex.

#4 Poncho Romancho (পঞ্চ রোমাঞ্চ)

Genre: Anthology

Publisher: Dhaka Comics

Credits: Kazi Anwar Hossain (story), various artists (illustration)

Summary: Kazi Anwar Hossain is a name synonymous with thriller/adventure books in Bangla. Back in mid 70’s, the legendary ‘Kazi Da’ adapted 5 stories by foreign writers, giving them an appropriate local setting. The book came out titled ‘Poncho Romancho’ featuring stories named Onno konokhane, Jhamela, Cancer, Ostad and Porokiya. Almost four decades later, Dhaka Comics adapted this anthology collection as a graphic novel. If you are a Sheba Prokashani fan, this one will definitely send nostalgia down your bloodstream.

#5 Cube (কিউব)

Genre: Sci-fi

Publisher: Panjeree

Credit: Shahrier Khan (story and illustration)

Summary: Geologist Joy Ahmed is employed in the coastal city of Cox’s Bazaar. He was having an ordinary life but soon things escalade when he stumbles upon an alien race. Aliens come to earth to scout a mysteriously powerful thing called ‘cube’. Whoever possesses the cube gains super power. Joy finds a cube as well as his love interest. But he will have a hard time defending his city as the extraterrestrial threat looms large in picturesque places of Chittagong.

That’s all for now, folks. I insist you to read Bangladeshi graphic novels. Without our support, it’s very hard to be a professional in this medium. As the local comic readers grow, we can dream of a day when fan-favourite titles will become live action movies. We’ll have our own Avengers or Tintin, someday!

5 Bangladeshi superheroes you should know about

The age of superheroes is upon us. The last decade or so has seen almost as many comic book adaptations as the last century. Bangladeshi artists and storytellers may not be creating as much content as their western counterparts, but we can boast a couple of superheroes with roots in Bangladesh:

Shabash

Shabash, a parodycreated by Samir Rahman and Fahim Anzoom Rumman, satirizes superhero culture but uses its tropes against it. The atomic mango powered hero is often lazy and unmotivated. Shabash is more likely to take selfies, go on rickshaw rides than fight supervillains. Its sister title is more well known and deals with fighting social stigma.

Ms Shabash

The Magnum Opus of the duo, Ms Shabash is a world apart from the lazy Shabash. Shabnam, the investigative journalist, moonlights as the atomic mango powered superheroine who faces societal issues head on. Her alter ego rejects marriage proposals sternly, yet respectfully.

She battles villains like Whitewash, who gives herself superpowers through a lab accident. This is a nod to the struggle and stigma of being dark skinned in many Asian cultures such as Bangladesh.  Her fight with a battalion of robo-aunties via a dance-off was among the many memorable story lines and characteristic of the quirky but socially aware tone of the series.

Rishad

Created by HiFI Public’s very own Navid Hossain, and pencilled by Mehedi Haque, a legend of the Bangladeshi art scene. Rishad, 21, tries to leave home and make it on his own, but is stopped by destiny as he wakes up with a metal arm and a robotic eye. An epic tale of heroic-ism and deception follows. Hopefully a sequel is in the works, so we can see more of the gorgeous panels  

Enigma

Enigma is a character created by Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham, first appearing in Peter Parker: Spider-Man (vol. 2) issue #48.

Yes, THAT Spider-Man.

The young Tara Virango lived in the Bangladeshi village of Malpura when AGK inc. massacres the village by exposing it to a nano-virus that they were commissioned to make by the CIA. Tara survives the nano-virus, but lives with superhuman abilities. She moves to New York and adopts the alias Enigma, emulating a Buddhist goddess. Long story short, she and Spider-Man teams up and fights the evil AGK inc.

Even though she does not have her own comic, we hope that she is part of the wave of Marvel giving lesser known superheroes screen time (we can forsee a Netflix one-off appearance soon).

Read more: How to destroy your cinematic universe

Kali

Set in Dhaka, Kali is portrayed as a common woman with a vigilante alter-ego, roaming the streets fighting bad guys. Model-actress Azra Mahmood plays the titular role in the web series, which is directed by Amit Ashraf and released on the web platform Bioscope Live. By day, Amaya is a niqab wearing NGO worker, by night, an unmasked vigilante going by the name of Kali. Her commitment to fighting social injustice is motivated by her experience as a victim of an acid attack.

Special mention: Bizli

Bizli is a superhero that debuted in a movie of the same name this year in April. This was marketed as the first original superhero film written and produced in the country. Bizli, played by producer Bobby, is born with super powers like flight, super speed and lightning. Illiyas Kanchan plays her protective father, Dr. Alam. An evil scientist named Dr. Jerina, played by Shatabdi Roy, wants her powers for her own gains. While clichéd, the film is still the first big budget superhero movie made by a Bangladeshi, and so the efforts are applauded.

Honorable mention to the DC superhero Montpellier, appearing in three issues of The Shade, who was born in Bangladesh and later moved to Spain to become a superhero.

5 Bangladeshi superheroes you should know about 9

We hope to see so many more in the coming years!