Sohrab Hura Photo by Munem Wasif
1) What drew you to Chobi Mela? What are your strongest memories?
We didn’t have a photo festival in India until recently and so Chobi Mela was a boon for me. It was pretty much like not leaving home to go for a photo festival. My strongest memory is of a close friend of mine dancing on the boat. It is not a pretty memory and I have been struggling for a few years now to forget it but I just haven’t managed to do so.
2) What separates Chobi Mela from other festivals?
The first impression one can sense is that there is a certain seriousness about photography at Chobi Mela. I loved sitting outside the Goethe-Institut before the evening slide-shows and being part of a heated discussion or a debate where at points you feel like holding the other person’s neck and squeezing it hard. It’s beautiful. I don’t experience this in other places. Most other places can sometimes be more about socialising (sometimes a bit superficial) over drinks after the daily events or about networking and to be honest it’s really boring for me. At Chobi Mela I experienced an honest engagement as a person and as a photographer on an unbelievably sustained basis. I think this is really rare and it’s something I treasure the most about this festival. I have made more close friends at Chobi Mela than anywhere else.
3) What is it about Dhaka that has made the biggest impression on you?
Wasif, Tanzim, Rasel, Tushik, Protick, Mawa, Asif, Anis, Munir, Soumtira, Reetu… Nothing else comes close. It’s the friends I made. I think that pretty much sums up my feelings about Dhaka and Chobi Mela. On second thought, also the fact that I haven’t had any Hilsa fish since getting back from Dhaka.
4) If you were to describe Chobi Mela to a friend who had never been to
Bangladesh before, how would you do so?
“On the first day you’ll be in love especially when you’re on the boat. On the second day you’ll be tearing you hair out. On the third day you won’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning. On the fourth day you’d have run away home. On the fifth day you’ll miss it terribly with all your heart. You’re a fool if you don’t go.”
5) Has coming to Chobi Mela changed your perception about Bangladesh?
Not so much. I thought it would feel like home and people at Chobi Mela made sure it did.
6) What is the one word that best describes Chobi Mela?
Visit Sohrab Hura’s website: http://timemachinemag.com/past-issues/issue-one/sohrab-hura/#1