Surfing is not as prominent in Bangladesh as it is in other countries. But there are a good number of surfers that hit the high waves of Cox’s Bazar every now and then. Even amid societal pressure and conservative religious mindset, surfing in Bangladesh is carving its way forward. And this intriguing story of surfing’s rise in a conservative society is about to be captured in celluloid for the first time ever.
Surfing in Bangladesh
In 1995, Jafar Alam started surfing culture in Bangladesh after buying a surfboard from an Australian and spending years teaching himself to surf.
After Surfing the Nations founder Tom Bauer decided to set up a surf club in Bangladesh, even women started to get involved in surfing.
Soon, Nasima Akhter, a young girl from Cox’s Bazar, left behind her home and family to join the surfing community. She would forever be known as the first ever Bangladeshi woman to become a world-class competitive surfer.
This year, the film industry of Bangladesh decided to make a movie based on the life of female surfers and the constraints they have to face in every step of their surfing journey. Named Dare to Surf in English, this movie portrays the story of a local Bangladeshi girl from Cox’s Bazar and her passion for surfing.
Model Sunerah Binte Kamal is going to play the character of Ayesha, a girl from Cox’s Bazar who challenges society’s prohibitions and joins the surfing community.
Intriguing plot based on a true story
Ayesha (Sunerah) and Sohel (Shariful Raaz) both are passionate surfers and friends who, along with other youngsters, are trained by self-taught surfer Amir(Sayed Babu). This enthusiasm for surfing from a small town in Bangladesh starts to get international attention from several organizations.
But as funds and money are generated from this newly received attention, so is the hunger for fame, power and a heavy bank account.
While this gives Sohel the chance to get stardom and live a posh life in the city, it brings upon Ayesha a forced marriage and prohibitions in her love for surfing.
Inspired from the life story of the first female surfer Nasima Akhter, this movie not only shows how much a girl has to struggle to challenge cultural boundaries but also depicts the horrible consequences of being in the limelight.
Excitement and hope
Directed by Tanim Rahman Angshu, Dare to Surf was made to advocate female empowerment and the right to live as they want. A released poster of the movie shows a young girl in a bridal saree walking on a sandy shore of Cox’s Bazar with a surfboard in her hand and a fierce look in her eyes. Although this was made as a festival poster to showcase in film festivals all around the world, it definitely conveys the stance this movie is taking. With famous screenwriter from Kolkata, Shyamal Sengupta and some amazing actors on board, movie enthusiasts have already started to provide positive feedback on this movie.
Previously, a documentary called The Most Fearless was made by Californian documentary filmmaker Heather Kissinger to portray the life of a female surfer from a conservative Muslim country. However, this is the first time the Bangladeshi film industry has attempted to make a movie that focuses on the surfing journey of a Bangladeshi woman.