At 8:30 p.m., an audience of 30,000 youths at the Joy Bangla concert took a pause.
This was the first time Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s historic March 7 speech – a transformation from black and white into colour – appeared onscreen.
All the buzz, roar and cheer of the crowd immersed into a sea of silence. Everyone stopped moving and stood in silence.
The silence was ever more profound.
A silence that was more overpowering than the strongest of slogans, a silence that called for awakening the spirit of our independence.
A silence that was stronger than the high-tempered steel, a silence that roared in solidarity in the loudest of voices.
“We will rise above all the divides and no power is strong enough to stop us.”
The speech began reliving the cyclonic voice.
“Brothers, I come before you with a heavy heart.”
All the eyes were glued to the screen that put on display the finest moment of the greatest Bangali of all time, who gave us our independence.
The entire Army stadium became emblematic of the resolute spirit of historic March 7, 1971, when ten lakh people braved the Pakistani occupational force and gathered at the then-Race Course to get the directives from their leader to achieve their flag, language and freedom.
Shortly before the screening of the colourised version began, a troop of actors and artists, with an apt display of choreography, recreated the moments before the arrival of Bangabandhu at the Race Course grounds.
The energy and spontaneity of that crowd were delicately portrayed. Banners and posters, carrying slogans like “Bir Bangali Ostro dhoro, Bangladesh Shadhin koro” of that time were also shown.
It was a transformation the nation has hardly witnessed.
As the electrifying speech went on, the crowd grew louder. Everyone raised their hands in the air, flashing victory signs when the leader in a baritone voice announced, “This time, the struggle is for emancipation, and this time, the struggle is for our independence.”
When the historic speech drew an end with the hallmark slogan “Joy Bangla”, everyone screamed those words at the top of their voice. The crowd burst into a spontaneous and sustained round of applause.
It was the chant of Joy Bangla reverberating around the entire venue.
“The screening of the coloured version held the biggest appeal to me … Watching our leader on a coloured screen makes the speech feel different in a way.
“It connects the speech to our time – not outdated,” said Rajin, a college student.
Given that the high definition (HD) version of the entire 17.5 minute speech was not available to the Bangladesh Film Archive, the authorities have managed to convert 11:40 minutes of the original version.
For the second straight term, the Centre for Research and Information (CRI) and Young Bangla (YB) organised the concert with the aim to rekindle the spirit of our Liberation War among the young generation in light of the historic day.
The rendition of the National Anthem “Amar Shonar Bangla”, set the concert in motion, while it saw power-packed performances of seven leading bands – Warfaze, Shironamhin, Shunno, Arbovirus, Lalon, Cryptic Fate, and Nemesis.
Moreover, it was revealed at the concert that YB acknowledged the efforts put forth by young Bangladeshis through the Joy Bangla Youth Award.
Several documentaries were screened showcasing the stories of struggle and success of the Joy Bangla Youth awardees.
In collaboration with four ministries, CRI and YB introduced internship opportunities to young individuals.