New Delhi: The information & broadcasting (I&B) ministry has tied up with Bangladesh to facilitate the production of two films, the government said on Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, India and Bangladesh will jointly produce a documentary film on the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence, for which the archival material available with the state broadcaster Doordarshan and other media units will be used.

I&B minister M. Venkaiah Naidu in a meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Hasanul Haq Inu and his delegation, agreed to facilitate the production of the film which will commemorate 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence in 2021.

India will also help in the production of a movie by Bangladesh to mark the 100th birth anniversary of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 2020. The two countries have also agreed to come up with a proposal for a joint audio-visual co-production agreement.

Not just that. Both the countries will also facilitate free trade of films. “Bangladesh could consider to relax the legal provisions which restricted the number of Indian films in that country. The easing of restrictions would have a positive impact on the local film industry," Naidu said in the meeting.

In another move to strengthen the relationship between the two countries, All India Radio (AIR) will be launching an exclusive radio service in Bengali designed for Bangladeshis—Akashvani Maitree. President Pranab Mukherjee will launch this new service of AIR Kolkata on 23 August.

“The relationship between the two countries would strive to promote the commonality of heritage and culture," said Naidu.

This comes two months after public broadcaster Prasar Bharati had officially announced the revival of its special Bangla service which was launched in 1971 in the wake of the Bangladesh liberation movement.

In the new service, AIR will produce and broadcast reality shows, music and quiz competitions and discussions—in which both the countries will be able to participate.

“It’s an outreach programme. No radio channel has ever taken an initiative to strengthen relations with neighbouring countries," Jawhar Sircar, chief executive officer of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati had said in an earlier interview. Prasar Bharati runs All India Radio and Doordarshan. 

The ministry also said that it would initiate collaborations between National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) and Bangladesh Film Development Corporation and also between National Film Archive of India (NFAI) and Bangladesh Film Archives for the purpose of digitization and archiving.

According to the statement, the ministry will be training film makers and entrepreneurs from Bangladesh at Indian film and training institutes. “The ministers during their deliberations also agreed to promote capacity building and training workshops for media persons, exchange program for officers associated with information and broadcasting and exchange of programs between Doordarshan and its counterpart in Bangladesh," the ministry said in the statement.

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