Lalon ShaiN, the sage, started observing Shadhu Shongo, which literally means the companion of Shadhus, in Chheuria, Bangladesh, almost two hundred years ago. The subject of the film ‘Mystic Realm’ is this formal ritual of ‘Shadhu-Shongo’, which his disciples, spanning multiple generations, still observes in the same premises. This film is made through participatory observation of this ritual for the span of thirteen years (2004-2017). During the filming, the Shadhus became a part of the making process, and they voluntarily expressed their thoughts and practices. The performances of the songs were captured live from the Shadhu Shongo. These conversations and songs have been stitched together to make ‘Mystic Realm’.

Content Narrative:

Shadhu Shongo, the subject of the film is a formal ritual that starts at day end and continues for 24 hours to the evening of the following day. It is divided into eight, three hours sessions where the participants engage through songs, discussion and contemplation.  Each session deals with a particular aspect of the philosophy of this practice. The first session finds the disciple adrift and in need of salvation.  Hence, all the Shadhus irrespective of their stage of enlightenment, submit to the creator through the song of emptiness. In the second session Shadhus humbly reveal the mystery of creation through the play between the living and the absolute or through the exchange between the disciple and the Guru. In session three, with the deepening of the night, the Shadhu Shongo explores the deep mystery of creation. Topics of Desire, Love, Intercourse and joint ritual of man and woman are discussed.  An inexplicable mood emerges in the final session of the night, when the Shadhus ascend to an unexplainable mystical realm, where the Master appears before the Devotee.

The break of day ushers in the fifth session, when the Shadhus celebrate the cow grazing ritual of Lord Krishna, through Goshtho Songs. Through this symbolic enactment, the Shadhus meditates on their physical body, in search of hidden treasures. In the next session the Shadhus sing the praise of Radha-Krishna and their united incarnation, Sri Chaitannya Mahaprabhu, a social reformer from the sixteenth century. Through the metaphor of Sri Chaitanya and Radha-Krishna, the Shadhus contemplate on the play, when two bodies unite as one.  The seventh session is about the human society and how it is divided into unnecessary grouping based on religions, castes, races or nations, when what needs to be celebrated is that we are all human. The final session is about dual union, when the Shadhus experience the feeling of being connected with everything around them.

Director’s Biography:

Monjurul Haque is an independent film maker from Bangladesh. He worked professionally as an editor in different advertising & news agencies and also with film makers. He was involved with renowned filmmaker Tareque Masud as an editor and cinematographer. The tragic death of Tareque Masud in a road accident triggered Monjurul Haque to make his first documentary short-’Deathtrap’, which was a study about the road safety of Bangladesh. ‘Mystic Realm’ is his first documentary feature. His on-going project is a feature length documentary film titled  ‘Fearless Mind’ based on ‘Cracher Colonel’  by Shahaduz Zaman.

Script, Editing, Music & Direction
Monjurul Haque

Executive Producer
Ayesha Haque

Associate Producer
Syed Hasibuddin Hussain

Monjurul Haque, Prodip Aich & Abdul Aziz