Sarker Protick

Love Me or Kill Me


The Bangladeshi film industry based in Dhaka, and so known as “Dhallywood” has been going since 1956. Dhallywood movies have fallen out of favor among the richer classes, who prefer foreign films. The growing influence of Bollywood (Hindi cinema) films in Bangladesh has also had an adverse impact on the local industry. Yet the Dhallywood industry produces around 100 movies a year, and does still enjoy the support of many ordinary moviegoers.



“Love Me or Kill Me” is the title of a Dhallywood film, one that expresses the extreme emotions that define the genre. Love and revenge are the core ingredients of our movies. The stories do not change much: boy meets girl, falls in love, bad guy takes girl away, and hero fights to get her back. There is always similar climax and a happy ending. People love it.

When I was growing up in Dhaka, there was no cable TV except the national channel. Bangla film was for us the height of entertainment. Slowly, other films and TV channels took over. We didn’t think Dhallywood movies were cool anymore; they no longer played a part in my life. In the process of making photographs of Dhaka city I visited a film studio in Bangladesh Film Development Corporation and was captivated by the colors, the light and the atmosphere. The events and details were odd, sometimes bizarre. The costumes are flashy, the sets and effects are cheap, and the colors are daring. There seems little contact with real life but I found it full of life.

This grant will help me to continue the work and get more in depth to the story in the coming years.




Sarker Protick was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As a teenager he wanted to be a musician and songwriter, but discovered photography around the age of 24. After finishing his bachelor’s degree, he enrolled at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute to learn photography. Sarker’s photographs have been published in The New York Times, GEO Magazine, The New Yorker, National Geographic, The British Journal of Photography, The Zeit and Wired, among many others.

In 2014, he was named in British Journal Of Photography’s annual “Ones to Watch”. The same year, Sarker was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. In 2015, he went on to win a World Press Photo award for his story “What Remains” and selected for PDN’s 30.

Related links

Sarker Protick

14 thoughts on “Sarker Protick – Love Me or Kill Me”

  1. LOVE Sarker’s work! :) and now he is a member of VII….

    love this series….and all his work deeply….imaginative approach to documentary story-telling….

  2. correct me if im wrong but are these not just on set stills photograper standard work. There is no back stage/behind the scenes/between takes. so all the setups are the films own. Its competent photography for sure..but what else is it?

  3. I had precisely the same thoughts as Gladdy.

    On a bigger topic, the never ending quibbles about what should have or should not have been included, or won, the EPF; I think putting this essay next to the previous one about the chemicals-related catastrophe in Argentina illustrate the biggest challenge with how the award is structured.

    To use the cliché, these essays are like apples and oranges. I just don’t see any way to compare them. Better, I would think, would be to have a category for best apple and another one for best orange. Then, if it were really necessary to have one winner, there could be an overall award for most popular fruit.

  4. MW: AGREE COMPLETELY (the award thing)…i like Sarker’s work alot (i particularly love his series on his parents)…but it is very difficult to look after the last essay…and i don’t mean because one is ‘traditional’ and one is more ‘conceptual’ based….i mean because they have different depths and different goals and have different raison d’etres….

    John: i think (only sarker can say) it is about ‘meaning’…they’re not ‘stills’ from the films….or even ‘behind the scenes’ from rather a kind of ‘both’….meaning: creating mini films out of the behind the scenes/stills….he’s actually marrying both formats to actually ‘construct’ a new kind of ‘film’/outake….if that makes sense….kin dof like crewdson only instead of doing that on the set….


  5. Trouble is i think crewdsons work and approach to work is shit and this kind of conceptual approach always looks like a naked king to me. as does this.

  6. Winner. Yes, it could go deeper as to the entire cultural environment, and perhaps with a grant it will. But the studied use of style, and ability to stick with it all the way through without nary a misstep, is in my opinion, the mark of a very mature and talented photographer at a very young age. Plus, this has been my dream pet project for many years (emphasis on pet).

    More and more I’m liking the work of photographers that baffle the mind and gut. Just what is it and how did they do that? I know how to do DAH, Salgado, Panos, Bischoff, Frank, Freidlander, etc etc. But Trent Parke’s ‘Christmas Tree Bucket?’ Now that shit throws you for a loop. Even just on a gear level (how did he do that??), let alone all the psychological ones. And I feel that to about this work (to a smaller degree of course. The ability to convey a new art form out of what’s already there. And you know, sometimes its okay to be silly, and just love the world as some eye candy now and then.

    That said, I would like to see some better post processing (facs esp). Would like to see them bigger too. And to remember to have eyes in the back of your head. This seems like an opportunity of a lifetime, so be sure to take in (i.e. photograph) everything, in whatever style works for each situation (I’m sure big difference between lit sets and shadow back stages). My two favorites are the blue set with lights, and the clouds. And the men with the pistols.


    you think Crewdson work is shit? you must be joking……but of course i know you are not joking…the man is brilliant at what he does…or rather did…he’s not doing it anymore…anyway, you are so so so STUCK john…geez louize..i think YOU are the naked king ha ha!! call it straight as you see it…i call it straight as i see it….there is nobody i would rather have a beer with than you my friend, but man are you so so negative ….your parameters for photography are simply too too narrow in my view.. don’t you get bored with your own vision of what photography is supposed to be? in any case, i do agree with you that commenting here at least has a bit more depth than FB etc..

    cheers, david

  8. DAVID HARVEY. Yeah well, as long as we are true to who we are thats what actually matters right?
    And you keep on throwing that negative thing at me for years now. Why?
    My interests artistically are very very wide and they encompass many disciplines and styles. But I dont like pretentious art…no matter how ‘brilliantly’ done. In any field.

    Oh and by the way Damien Hurst is brilliant at what he does but i still think its shit.
    For you About the above ‘Brilliant’ artist from a journal you may never heard of or read, owing to your tastes being so broad :)

  9. I don’t know what to make of this, other than that I should stay away from Bengalis wearing red raincoats. Those are raincoats they’re wearing, right?

Comments are closed.