• Amir-Hamza

"Before I Die" The First British Bangladeshi Martial Arts Film

Updated: Mar 26


Friday the 26th of March 2021 marks the 50th year since Bangladesh had become an independent country. As a a way to the honour the 50 year old nation we decided that it would be good to write about an upcoming film called "Before I Die'

The British Bangladeshi made film is directed and written by British Bangladeshi Minhaj Kibriyah and stars British Bangladeshi co-writer and actor Ifte Amed in the lead role as Roy. Ifte Amed was originally a semi-pro footballer for Sporting Bengal United in East London and also won the first Mr Asia Modelling Contest in 2001. He also did part time work as a football coach for West Ham and it was then he was approached for a role in the Hindi Football film Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal where he would play a footballer alongside John Abraham and Arshad Warsi. He's had minor roles in British Urban film Sket, French TV series The Bureau and British Bengali film Porichoi. Now it looks like he will lead the first British Bangladeshi marital arts film.

Joining him will be a newcomer like Model turned Actress Affri Selina as well as Amaan Reza who has worked in Bangladesh projects before such as Kia and Cosmos, Shongram (British Bangladeshi project) and Gohiner Gaan. Another notable name is Shimul Khan who frequently shows up in Bangladeshi action films like Most Welcome 2, Warning and Musafir. The former film starring Jackie Shroff (Father of Martial Arts star Tiger Shroff) and the two latter films starring Arifin Shuvo who we mentioned as an action star in Bangladeshi cinema the Extraction 2 article.

Amaan Reza in Shongram

Finally the action will be choreographed by British Bangladeshi martial arts teacher Abjol Miah who was one of the teachers to the UK's youngest WEKAF champ Riaz Amin (who we mentioned in our British Asian Martial Artist article). According to Abjol Miah: "Without giving too much away, this may be the first intro to Filipino Fight Action Combat for the Bangladeshi film industry. If you love Hollywood Fight Action like: Game of Death (1978) Bourne Identity Trilogy (2002), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Frankenstein (2014), The Hunted (2003), Taken 2 (2012), Fast and Furious 7 (2015), and Rambo 3 (1988) of many, then Bengali film lovers brace yourselves for “Before I Die!”

Abjol Miah also said: "I am grateful to the Lead British Bangladeshi Actor Ifte Amed and the film director Minhaj Kibriayah, for approaching me. They both knew me and done their homework well. They knew I was a British Bangladeshi Community Leader on many fronts. They also knew I had something special in the British Bangladeshi Community: a passion to promote Martial Arts, especially movie fight arts that are more popular in Hollywood, known as Kali/Escrima/Arnis.

It’s an international film with both British and Bangladeshi cast, partially filmed in the heart of the Bangladeshi Community, Tower Hamlets, and the rest in Bangladesh and my birth place Sylhet. What a great way for a joint partnership between UK and Bangladesh!"

Ifte Amed had been training in Filipino Martial Arts with Abjol Miah for over a year and a half now, at first he started with private one-to-one sessions, then took it a step further with the main class and followed that by training with the senior students. He managed to train with some of the top British, European and

World Stick Fighting Champions, seniors and juniors, at the Academy and yet the club students had no idea who he was or why he was training. The Lead actress Affri Selina had less time to train and rather take a crash course with the martial arts training in knives, daggers and sticks. She is said to have poured her heart and soul into the training and learnt the drills to the choreography very fast.

Affri Selina

While we have no idea how this film will pan out. It could be a hit much like the film The Raid which was an Indonesian film directed by Welsh Director Gareth Evans and it was a martial arts masterpiece of a film. The film could prove popular with Filipino and Bangladeshi diaspora, as well as open the doors for Bangladeshi martial arts like Butthan and Lathi Khela to hit the big screen. Several Asian countries have slowly been making steps in the martial arts film industry with India's Vidyut Jamwal and Tiger Shroff using Kalairpayattu in the Commando and Baaghi films, Thailand's Tony Jaa using Muay Thai in films like Tom Yum Goong, Ong Bak, Fast and Furious 7, Indonesia's Iko Uwais using Pencak Silat in The Raid, Heasdshot and Stuber and even Cambodia with Jean Paul Ly learning Bokator in the French Cambodian film JailBreak. So yeah maybe Bangladesh could make a huge action film featuring Butthan. Maybe Extraction 2 should think about casting Ifte Amed and Affri Selina for a role if they choose to use Bangladesh as the set piece.

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