“Operation Jackpot” coming to the big screen Giasuddin Selim to helm Liberation War film

Giasuddin Selim took nine years between his first film and second, but it appears his fans will not have to wait that long for his next. The director is gearing up to begin work on his next, and it’s a big one.

The government body Chittagong Port Authority has commissioned Giasuddin Selim as writer and director for a film based on the historic “Operation Jackpot”, the series of commando operations at the Chittagong Port and other sea ports during the Liberation War that severely dented the Pakistani Army’s advances. Reportedly, the decision was announced after a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on the shipping ministry on April 18.

Talking to The Daily Star, Giasuddin Selim confirmed the news. “I was given the job a year ago, but I did not speak about it because it was not disclosed officially. The script has been completed, and will begin pre-production soon. Chittagong Port has a big part in the history of our Liberation War, and the film will highlight that,” he added.

About the film, the director informed that it will be a massive-scale project. “The film will shoot in Europe, India and in Bangladesh. There are scenes in it with 4000-5000 people in them, and the film will have Indian characters and actors as well” Speaking about the plot, he said “It will focus on the first operation of Operation Jackpot, which was the code name of a series of naval operations.”

In 1971, a number of Pakistan Navy officers were sent to the French City of Toulon for submariner training. Of them, 13 were Bangalee officers. Some eight of them escaped from there after the March 25 genocide to join the Liberation War, and arrived in India to receive specialized training along with a number of other guerrilla combatants. After months of training, the first operation was launched on the midnight of August 15, 1971 at the Chittagong Port, and sunk three ships of the Pakistan Army carrying military equipment and ammunitions.

About his expectation from the film, Selim said “I have not dealt with a project this big before, so I don’t have experience. But I didn’t have experience when I first came to make films either, so it will all work out. We have to work very hard, that’s all.” He added that because of the scale of the project, it would take at least 18-24 months to complete once work begins. Asked whether he has thought about casting, Selim said: “It is such a big scale project, that all these things will be handled by different departments. I cannot make all the decisions because of its huge scope.”