Spotlight

Salman Aziz

Salman Aziz was born on December 19, 1993, in Pabna, Bangladesh. He mostly grew up in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. He is also known by his nickname Akash/AKA$H. From his childhood, he was a very meritorious student. He studied Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering. In 2008, he worked as a model in a well-known fashion house named R.M. fashion house in Dhaka. There he was the brand ambassador for 2 years. From an early age, he wrote many short stories and poems on local newspapers and magazines. His first book “6th September: A Very Unknown Mysterious Story”, was published in 2017. He is also an indie artist and filmmaker. His first short film was “Bloody Dark Dream (2014)”. His second short film “Lost in the Black Hole (2019)” is the first symbolic cult horror short film in Bangladesh. And this film has entitled him as the first-ever symbolic cult horror short filmmaker in Bangladesh. He debuted as an actor in his short film “Lost in the Black Hole” where he played five different roles. The film also got officially selected by international film festivals. He always tries to do good works and helps people. He gets the inspiration from Mother Teresa and Bayazid Bastami who had dedicated their whole life for the people. He always tries to motivate the people through his words.

Hello Salman and Thank you for granting us this interview

[MIS] From Computer Science and Engineering to Filmmaking, what caused this shift?

[Salman] Thank you so much for having me in this incredible interview! Truly, I am feeling so honored!

To be honest, I’ve never shifted from anything! And still, I am just as I was before! From my childhood, I was attracted to science and technologies. That’s why my family wanted me to study Computer Science and Engineering. It was also my choice to become an engineer. Though, I haven’t worked professionally as an engineer yet! But I’ve worked as a science teacher!
And, creating artworks is a passion for me. It is like art is my soul! I can’t even imagine anything beyond art! From my early life, I was very attracted to the art world, still, I am, and forever I will! So, I don’t want to take any part of the art as a profession. But if luckily my fate forces me to take it as a profession, I have already promised myself that the majority of my earnings from acting or filmmaking or writing, or whatever sector of art, will be used to help the helpless people just like Mother Teresa and Bayazid Bastami did. Because their deeds have created a vital impact on my life to do something for others!

[MIS] What makes you a cult horror fan?

[Salman] Actually, watching horror films and dramas is a kind of my addiction! I have started to watch Hindi horror films when I was only 9. Most of the time, I watched those with my family. But at the age of 11, for the first time, I watched the cult horror film “The Grudge”. I was so terrified that even in the daytime, I was afraid to go into the bathroom! As I grew up, my taste for horror films developed more and more! I have watched too many horror films in my life that now I can’t feel too much horror or thriller while watching! But yes, some cult movies like The Grudge, The Ring, Evil Dead, The Exorcist, and related series have made me a huge fan of cult horror. Because these films have created a subculture for individual fan base! For example, in The Ring, Samara has become an iconic character for the creepy crawling and the weird sound. Sometimes, I wish that if I ever could get cast in such kind of horror film! Because acting in a horror film is one of my dreams, especially playing the ghost or monster.

[MIS] What Film inspired you when you were growing up?

[Salman] From young age, I have watched a countless number of films, so I can’t tell specifically! At that time, we only had one TV channel “BTV”. Every Friday, we usually had family time in the afternoon where we loved to watch Bengali movies together. When we got cable TV, I used to watch Hindi and good English movies (of course PG13)! As I grew up, I begin to watch every kind of movie (but not those films that contain nudity or erotic scenes).
But I should mention two movies that always inspire me to do something creative! Those are; Hindi film “Fashion (2008)” and the Bengali movie “Third Person Singular Number (2009)”.
How many times I have watched these two movies, I can’t tell! When I feel so demotivated, I watch these films to regain my inner strength. Especially Fashion (2008)! This film has taught me, “Losers are those who don’t rise up after falling! So, stand up and go back to the race. If you achieve success or not, it doesn’t matter. The matter is at least you have tried your best and learned from the failures!”

[MIS] In five words how would you describe yourself professionally?

[Salman] Ah, it is really a tough question to answer! Because I have never described myself professionally to others! But yes, I will try my best!
Well, I want to start with the word “Enigmatic”. Because I am truly a very enigmatic person when comes to art!
Then the next word will be “Bold”. I love to be bold in my artistic works. Let me disclose a secret, people often call me a bitter person for being bold in nature.
Then comes “Honest”. Because I always stand for the truth.
The next word will be “Authentic”. Why I choose this word because it describes me really well. When a person remains authentic in work, then the person will be able to create the newest and forever memorable masterpieces in the world.
And, the last word will be “Innovative”. My aims in life are to do something that has never been made before and to be a notable person so that the world will always keep me in their mind!
These five words are truly related to me!
So, in a nutshell, I must say that, “I am an enigmatic, bold, honest, authentic, and innovative person”.

[MIS] What is it like being a filmmaker in Bangladesh?

[Salman] In one word, “Nightmare”!
Actually, nowadays people don’t respect and love real talents! If they only run after commercial top celebrities and filmmakers, then how the independent artists and makers will get noticed and respected? People hardly see indie films and know about different genres of the film! In my country, people love commercial films where there is a hero, a heroine, a villain, a perfect love story, some romantic songs, an item song, dance, and a fight scene! The majority of them don’t like films that are related to life and reality! Commercial films are the food for the hunger of people for entertainment. So, how can I expect something from them? First of all, I am an indie maker and artist. Then comes about my film which is silent, symbolic, thrilling, and experimental in the category! This type of film is completely new for them to understand! Though I have taken a challenging step to start this and that’s why my film has become the first-ever symbolic cult horror short film! But still, I didn’t get much appreciation for my work from people that I truly deserve! If this movie was made by any famous maker or famous actor or well-known public figure, then the mass media would jump to promote this news, or maybe it would get enormous numbers of awards or maybe it would be screened in big theaters! So here background, money, fame, and power are the big factors to make something well-known in the world and the path will be very easy for them to achieve the success if they have those! But people like us who are independent and not from big production houses or levels, the path to get success will take longer time than expected! And they have to pass through lots of rejections, humiliation, criticism, and hardships to make their dreams come true!

 

[MIS] “Lost in the Black Hole” is full of symbolism and metaphoric characters; can you tell us more about that?

[Salman] Spoiler alert!

Just kidding! In this movie, I have played five different roles; those are “the hope”, “the nature”, “the thorn”, “the truth”, and “the spark”. So, as we can see that all the characters don’t have any physical appearance or structure. We only can feel and get to know those through sense, emotion, and abstract knowledge. While creating the characters, I was kinda confused about how I can portrait these! But I researched a lot to find the hidden meanings that are co-related to the things in this world. And, joining meaningful things one by one, I was able to build up the figure of these metaphoric characters. It was quite hard but not impossible.

And, the symbolism! People can find lots of mysterious symbols in it that are related to the characters. I must say that the meanings of these symbols are interconnected with everything! For making this topic clearer I want to explain a little about a character “the truth”. To portray it, I adopted some symbols from the ancient Egyptian scripture. At first expression, people will call this character an Illuminati. Even it really happened! Because of the one eye and pyramid. They hardly know about the meanings of these symbols. Like, the eye of Egyptian gods Horus and Raa symbolize power. The symbol of Ankh means life. An upside-down pyramid means water. And, there is a word “Truth” on my chest written in Egyptian language. If people link the hints together, they will find that the power of truth is infinite. Truth is like water. If someone puts dirt in water, it will become dirty. The same thing can be applied to the truth. If truth is mixed with lies, then the power of truth will fade away. People always try to flip the truth by raising questions against it. They try to tie it. But in the end, the truth comes out as clear as the mirror. Because the mirror shows what is real!

These are only a few examples. There are tons of cryptic messages that only complex thinkers can find! People often criticized me as a complex person, because I make complex things! But I take it as appreciation!

Using symbols and metaphoric things in my works is always influenced by very talented artist Taylor Swift. I really love her works and also love to search hidden messages like other fans do!

Sorry, I forgot to add that in my film I have also used numerology. Every number has its own unique meaning! To learn about this thing, people have to count how many times I have done the same things repeatedly! For example, in one scene an eye opens and closes continuously. If people keep track of the numbers of the closing eye and opening eye, they will get some messages. And when they connect one message with another, they will get a huge phrase. Here every single moment of the film is carrying different significations. That’s why the film is very versatile when it is giving any messages!
That’s all I can say!

[MIS] “Lost in the Black Hole” is full of symbolism and metaphoric characters; can you tell us more about that?

[Salman] Spoiler alert!

Just kidding! In this movie, I have played five different roles; those are “the hope”, “the nature”, “the thorn”, “the truth”, and “the spark”. So, as we can see that all the characters don’t have any physical appearance or structure. We only can feel and get to know those through sense, emotion, and abstract knowledge. While creating the characters, I was kinda confused about how I can portrait these! But I researched a lot to find the hidden meanings that are co-related to the things in this world. And, joining meaningful things one by one, I was able to build up the figure of these metaphoric characters. It was quite hard but not impossible.

And, the symbolism! People can find lots of mysterious symbols in it that are related to the characters. I must say that the meanings of these symbols are interconnected with everything! For making this topic clearer I want to explain a little about a character “the truth”. To portray it, I adopted some symbols from the ancient Egyptian scripture. At first expression, people will call this character an Illuminati. Even it really happened! Because of the one eye and pyramid. They hardly know about the meanings of these symbols. Like, the eye of Egyptian gods Horus and Raa symbolize power. The symbol of Ankh means life. An upside-down pyramid means water. And, there is a word “Truth” on my chest written in Egyptian language. If people link the hints together, they will find that the power of truth is infinite. Truth is like water. If someone puts dirt in water, it will become dirty. The same thing can be applied to the truth. If truth is mixed with lies, then the power of truth will fade away. People always try to flip the truth by raising questions against it. They try to tie it. But in the end, the truth comes out as clear as the mirror. Because the mirror shows what is real!

These are only a few examples. There are tons of cryptic messages that only complex thinkers can find! People often criticized me as a complex person, because I make complex things! But I take it as appreciation!

Using symbols and metaphoric things in my works is always influenced by very talented artist Taylor Swift. I really love her works and also love to search hidden messages like other fans do!

Sorry, I forgot to add that in my film I have also used numerology. Every number has its own unique meaning! To learn about this thing, people have to count how many times I have done the same things repeatedly! For example, in one scene an eye opens and closes continuously. If people keep track of the numbers of the closing eye and opening eye, they will get some messages. And when they connect one message with another, they will get a huge phrase. Here every single moment of the film is carrying different significations. That’s why the film is very versatile when it is giving any messages!
That’s all I can say!

[MIS]  What was the purpose of the repeated “extreme close up “on the eye?

[Salman] Once my only beautiful elder sister told me that, “The eye is the mirror of the mind!”

If you really want to know what is inside someone’s mind, then look into the eyes and read! Because the eye is the most important part of the body that can express any emotions and most of all it gives us the sense of visible things!

If a person is angry or in pain or happy or anything, just look into the eyes and you may get the answers. Even you can detect if a person is telling the truth or not.

And the third eye! It actually refers to the enlightenment of the mind. It creates the path between souls and creations, and spaces of higher consciousness. It opens the vision to see the reality and true things in this universe.

So, in the movie, I have used the eye as a metaphor that can describe multiple things.

For example, the opening of the eye may symbolize the beginning of life. In another way, it can symbolize the beginning of every creation.

The eye itself contains the whole galaxy inside as well as a black hole.

If you want to see those, then take a very close view of the eye!

The circle of an eye, that actually refers to the halo! And as we know, the halo defines purity!

Another example is blurry vision. It can give the meaning of hopelessness or eternal distress. And the blinking eye may define the inner fear.

[MIS]  The monochrome color palette reminds us of the Movie “Komal Gandhar” by Ritwik Ghatak… tell us more about that choice?

[Salman] Ritwik Ghatak is one of the legendary filmmakers alongside Satyajit Ray and others. He had created many remarkable movies in his era and “Komal Gandhar” is one of those! It is the second part of the trilogy about the after-effects of the British partition. While making my film, I already decided that I will keep it in monochrome like old movies used to be! Because black and white, these two colors have their own meaning and effects in life. But sorry to say, that most of the people still don’t know the meanings of all colors and which one they should use to express the concept of the story!

In the silver age of cinema, most of the films were in monochrome and silent! At that time, very easily people could understand the context of films through visual storytelling. But now, people use much less of their brains to capture the topic even though the film has enormous dialogues and dramatic expressions. That’s why at present we don’t get quite exceptional types of films! In the filmmaking business, the makers always keep those things that people demand! And, somehow entertainment business has become one of the money-making businesses.

Watch the Trailer of Lost in the Black Hole