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Zahir Raihan (Bengali: জহির রায়হান) (1935-1972?) was a Bangladeshi novelist, writer and filmmaker. He is perhaps best-known for his documentary Stop Genocide made during the Bangladesh Liberation War. He disappeared on December 30, 1971 trying to locate his brother, the famous writer Shahidullah Kaiser, who was captured and killed by the Pakistan army and/or local collaborators during the last days of the war. Evidences have been found that he was killed among many others when some armed Bihari collaborators and disguised soldiers of Pakistan Army fired on them when they went to Mirpur, a distant place from the main city of Dhaka that was still being held by Pakistani/Bihari collaborators.



Zahir Raihan was born on 19 August 1935, as Mohammad Zahirullah, in the village Majupur, now in Feni District, Bangladesh. After the Partition of Bengal in 1947, he, along with his parents, returned to his village from Calcutta. He obtained Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Bangla from Dhaka University. He had been married twice, to Sumita Devi in 1961 and Shuchanda in 1968, both of whom were film actresses.

Early life and professional career

Zahir Raihan received his post graduate degree in Bengali Literature.Along with literature works Raihan started working as a journalist when he joined "Juger Alo" in 1950..Later he also worked in newspapers namely "Khapchhara","Jantrik","Cinema". He also worked as the editor of "Probaho" in 1956. His first collection of short stories bannered "Suryagrahan" was published in 1955. He worked as an assistant in the film "Jago Huya Sabera" in 1957. This was his first foot print in film. He was also assisted Salahuddin in the film "Je Nodi Morupothay". The famous filmmaker Ehtesham also took him for his movie "A Desh Tomar Amar" where he wrote the title song. In 1960 he arrived as a director in his film "Kokhono Asheni". In 1964, he made Pakistan's first colour movie Sangam (Urdu film) and completed his first cinemascope movie "Bahana" in the next year,1965.

He was an active worker of the Language Movement of 1952 and was present at the historical meeting of Amtala on February 21, 1952. The effect of language movement was so high on him that he made his legendary film "Jibon Theke Neya" based on it. He also took part in the "Gano Obhyuthyan" in 1969. In 1971 he joined in the Liberation War of Bangladesh and created documentary films on this great event[1]. During the war of liberation Raihan went to Kolkata where his film "Jibon Theke Neya" were shown. His film was highly acclaimed by Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha and Ritwik Ghatak. Though he had his financial problem going on that time, he gave all his money to the Freedom Fighters trust that he got from the show. [2]



  • Surya Grahan (The eclipse), 1954
  • Shesh Bikeler Meye (The Girl from the Afternoon)
  • Hajar Bachhar Dhare (Through Thousand Years)
  • Arek Falgun (Another Falgun Day), based on the Language Movement of 1952
  • Baraf Gala Nadi (The River of Icy Waters)
  • Ar Kata Din (For How Long)
  • Koyekti Mrittu (A Few Deaths)
  • Trishna (Thirst)

Movies and documentaries

  • Kokhono Asheni, 1961 (his first film as director)
  • Sonar Kajol, 1962 (jointly directed with Kolim Sharafi)
  • Kancher Deyal, 1963
  • Sangam, 1964 (the first colour film made in Pakistan)
  • Bahana, 1965
  • Behula, 1966
  • Anowara, 1966
  • Dui Bhai, 1968
  • Jibon Theke Neya, 1969
  • Let There Be Light

Documentary Films

  • "Stop Genocide", Documentary on the genocide by Pakistani Army in the Bangladesh Liberation War, 1971
  • "Birth of A Nation"
  • "Liberation Fighters"(Production)
  • "Innocent Milions"(Production)


See also


  1. ^ The Daily Prothom Alo,August 17,2006
  2. ^ "Akhono Obohelito Zahir Raihan" Hossain, Amzad. The Daily Prothom Alo, August 17, 2006

External links


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