Bangladesh, South Korea: Bandhobi, Addressing Migrant Workers’ Issues

Poster of the film Bandhobi, courtesy of

Poster of the film Bandhobi, courtesy of

Bangladeshi blogger Fahmidul Haque introduces us [bn] to a Korean Movie which features the love between a Bangladeshi migrant worker and a South Korean teenager girl and addresses migrant workers’ issues. He writes:

মালয়েশিয়ায়-অভিবাসী বাংলাদেশীকে নিয়ে তাইওয়ানের বিখ্যাত পরিচালক সাই মিং লিয়াং নির্মাণ করেছিলেন ‘আই ডোন্ট ওয়ান্ট টু স্লিপ এলোন’ (২০০৭) (Click This Link)। এবার কোরিয়ান পরিচালক শিন দং ইল নির্মাণ করলেন ‘বান্ধবী’, যাতে প্রধান চরিত্র হিসেবে আছেন বাংলাদেশী এক শ্রমিক।

Tsai Ming-liang, a renowned director from Taiwan directed the film “I Don't Want to Sleep Alone” (2007) featuring a Bangladeshi migrant worker from Malaysia. Now Korean director Shin Dong-il has made the film “Bandhobi“, in which the main character is portrayed by a Bangladeshi migrant worker.

Korea Times’s movie critic Lee Hyo-won wrote a tempting review of the film:

In “Bandhobi,” director Shin Dong-il translates to screen “uncomfortable” issues of illegal immigration, racism and social toadyism through the universal languages of ticklish humor, teenage angst and priceless friendship.

It's a story about growing pains and the meeting point of different cultures, the title “Bandohbi” roughly means “female friend” in Bengali.

Yang Sung-jin of the Korean Herald writes about the plot. The movie was released in South Korea last month.

Parvezul Islam Rony posts the trailer of the film in his blog:

Now let us look at some responses of the bloggers who watched the movie.

PiNaY In KoReA names Bandhobi “a Korean movie with a heart” and adds:

The new Korean indie film “Bandobhi” (“female friend” in Bengali) focuses on the issues currently faced by these so-called 3D foreign workers of Korea. 3D stands for Dirty, Dangerous, and Demeaning. The film tackles issues about foreign worker’s welfare, racism, teenage rebellion among others.

Nonie at My Sweet Love comments after watching the movie:

I guess it was interesting enough to see the gap of culture, races and religions… the problem that not just happened in Korea but also almost in every country…

The Grand Narrative describes it as “the most interesting Korean movie you’ll see this year“.

Fahmidul notices:

যে বিষয়টা আমাকে আকৃষ্ট করলো, ছবিটার নাম বাংলায় এবং ছবির পোস্টারেও বাংলা শব্দটা যুক্ত হয়েছে। বিশ্ব-চলচ্চিত্রে আজ কোরিয়ান ছবির খুব দাপট। সেখানকার একটি ছবির পোস্টারে বাংলা শব্দ দেখে চমকে গেছি।

What attracted me is that the name of the film is in Bangla (Bengali) language and in poster the Bangla word has been included. Korean films have a strong place in world cinema. So I was amazed to see Bangla words in the posters of a Korean film.

The discussions in the comments section of Fahmidul's post included the concern – how to watch the movie in Bangladesh.


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