Rubaiyat Hossain’s film reveals the rage behind Bangladeshi women, portraying them as agents actively seeking change than victims being churned under an exploitative, capitalist system. Tanzia Haq reports.
In Made in Bangladesh, Rubaiyat Hossain attempts a balancing act of challenging stereotypes and highlighting the ruthless labor exploitation occurring in the fashion industry. This is Hossain’s third film and is currently being screened online as part of the Human Rights Watch film festival.
‘Made in Bangladesh’ tells the story of Shimu Akhter, a garments worker whose growing frustration with the poor working conditions she and her fellow employees are subjected to makes her attempt to unionize the factor she’s working in. Akhter’s exploitation and her fight to change it, is the central idea of the film.
Angry women are not often the subject of films and Hossain wanted to show that, “If you grow up in a society where you are pushed and shoved around and told you are not enough, you are going to grow up very angry inside and at some point that rage will come out but I wanted to show that it can be a driving force for change.”
Hossain wanted to break this commonly known idea that women in Bangladesh are victims of a corrupt system. She wanted to show women fighting for their rights and demanding recognition for being the backbone of the Bangladeshi economy. Made in Bangladesh is based on the true stories of women Hossain interviewed. Akhtar’s character was inspired by Daliya Akhter, one of the first women to start a garments workers’ union in Bangladesh in 2013. Rikita Nandini Shimu portrays the character.
To stream the film, you can go here.