His full name was Ashfaque Munier. Everybody knew him as Mishuk. He was the second son of Shaheed Professor Munier Chowdhury and well-known drama artiste Lily Chowdhury.
It’s almost a year since Mishuk died in a road accident. He was not yet 52 years old.
With a head full of greying hair, uncannily like Einstein, and a face ready to burst into laughter, Mishuk lived every moment of life with fullness. His compassionate but penetrating gaze had the curiosity of a child, touching every person he met, seeking to uncover the mystery of everything he saw.
He loved life and the people around him deeply. He lived and worked with deep devotion and commitment, following his own whims and desires, his own bohemian ways.
Mishuk was talented and versatile in many fields. He was a photographer, a cinematographer, a teacher of journalism, a pioneer and guru of broadcast journalism in Bangladesh, a fan of new media technology and a passionate amateur cook. He was very dear to all who knew and loved him, a huge charismatic presence to all who worked with him.
His colleagues will remember his invaluable contribution to the news section of three different TV channels, one in North America. Mishuk was responsible for developing the audiovisual department in the National Museum. He designed and developed the ‘Media Center’ project introducing photo journalism, video journalism and computer-based publishing in the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism in The University of Dhaka.
Mishuk worked behind the camera, both nationally and internationally, in the making of documentary films, alternate feature films, telefilms and drama, puppet movies and television news. He identified himself primarily as a ‘cameraman’.
He grew up taking photographs—photographs of his friends and family, of the construction of Aparajeyo Bangla, of artist S M Sultan and his works, of the DU Campus alive with protests and marches.
His boyhood curiosity made him take various exciting paths in his life. Behind the camera, either in still photography or in movies, he searched endlessly for different stories, but he himself remained supremely indifferent to fame or recognition.
For a number of months after his death last year, his wife Manjuly Kazi and son Shuhrid, both of whom live in Toronto, had been scanning thousands of mouldy negatives of pictures that Mishuk had taken. Mishuk’s friend Ali Morshed Noton in Dhaka has diligently restored them. These photographs, along with others, Mishuk’s glasses, his books, his camera, his spoons and his spatula... are presented in this exhibition.
More time is needed to bring this all together but we couldn’t wait. We were all too eager to present our beloved Mishuk to all who knew him and many who did not.
The journey of cinematographer Mishuk Munier and director Tareque Masud had started with their documentary on S M Sultan, Adom Surat. The lives of these two talented persons were cut short by the road accident last year. Their assistants Motahar Hossain Wasim and Jamal Hossain and their driver Md. Mustafijur Rahman died as well.
The English title of Adom Surat isThe Inner Strength. These words come to mind again and again when we think of Mishuk. He belongs forever to life. This exhibition is a modest celebration of Mishuk’s life and his way of looking at life.
Mishuk Munier, 24 September 1959 — 13 August 2011
1977 — 1982: Undergraduate and graduate student in the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Dhaka University.
1978 — 1979: Photographic documentation of construction of the liberation-war monument Aparajeyo Bangla at Dhaka University.
1982: Started cinematography with Adom Surat — The Inner Strength, a documentary film on artist S M Sultan’s work and life and continued with documentaries, alternate and short films, films and dramas for television and puppet films.
1982 — 1989: Planned and developed the audiovisual department of the National Museum.
1989: Began teaching journalism in Dhaka University; planned and developed Journalism Department’s ‘Media Center’ project on photojournalism, television-journalism and computer-based publishing over the next 10 years.
1992: Started working as a cameraman for international news-channels, including the then World Service TV of the BBC.
1999: Gave up teaching to become the director of news operations at the emerging first private terrestrial television channel Ekushey Television.
2001: Emigrated to Canada; worked as a freelance cinematographer and cameraman.
2003 — 2005: Worked as a cameraman for the Discovery channel on its series ‘Situation Critical’.
2004 – 2010: Involved in building an online television channel The Real News Network, in Canada and the USA, as its director of news operations.
2010 (November): Returned to Bangladesh to take charge of the television channel ATN News as its CEO and Editor.
Awards, Recognitions, Exhibitions, Films
1986: Dhaka Tokai, a documentary, was recognised at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival in Germany; Mishuk Munier was the cinematographer and a member of the filmmaking team.
2002: Muktir Kotha was awarded as the Best Narrative Documentary at the Tri-Continental Film Festival, Buenos Aires; Mishuk was its main cinematographer.
2003: Return to Kandahar won the Gemini Awards (Canadian Emmy) for the best social/political documentary; Mishuk Munier was its sound person and was nominated for Best Sound. He was also its second cinematographer.
2010: Runway received Meril-Prothom Alo award as the best film of the year; Mishuk was its cinematographer.
2012: Recieved Ekushey Padak (posthumous) for Journalism in recognition of his contribution to the television media.
1986 and 1988: Two exhibitions of photographs, held in Dhaka.
Films in which he worked as a cinematographer include Adom Surat (1982 – 1989), Chakki (1984), Dhaka Tokai (1985), Dhaka Rickshaw (1985), One Day in Krishnagar (1993), War Crimes File (1995), A Story of Sonargaon (1998), Muktir Kotha (1999), Kansater Pathe (2008), Noroshundor (2009), Runway (2010), Anyo Chokhe Bangladesh (incomplete) and Kagajer Phul (preparatory stage).
Mother: Lily Chowdhury; Father: Shaheed Professor Munier Chowdhury; Brothers: Ahmed Munier and Asif Munier; Married to: Manjuly Kazi; Son: Nayeem Sebastian Munier (Shuhrid)
BDST 1734 HRS, JUL 21, 2012
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