A look back at the year gone by may bring sighs of despair for the local film-lovers but actors and directors are hopeful the year that has just come may not be as frustrating. The year 2016 was a synonym for failure on many fronts, with frustrating box office takings, dearth of films, piracy, low investment and shortage of locations and technologies. A total of 59 films were released in the year while the number was 63 in 2015 and 73 in 2014. The steep decline in the number of releases over the years is a sign of the deteriorating health of the industry. Of the films released in 2016, only four – Aynabaji, Shikari, Bossgiri and Badshah – were able to generate reasonable interest among the filmgoers. Several other films including Oggatanama, Bapjaner Bioscope, Under Construction and Shankhachil received critical acclaim. Actors and directors hope things will be different in 2017 although their hope seems to be without conviction in the absence of a solid recovery plan. ‘It was a good sign that many people went to cinemas to watch films like Aynabaji and Shikari. That means, people are returning to the halls,’ said director Sohanur Rahman Sohan. ‘It’s still a long way before the industry gets back up on its feet but things are turning around, if a little slowly, with the government now playing a more active role in the affairs of the industry. ‘Bangladesh Film Development Corporation has recently imported some state-of-the-art equipment including modern cameras. I believe we will be able to use the new technology wisely in the coming days,’ he added. Tauquir Ahmed, who directed Oggatanama, said the industry needs new talents in direction. ‘Not enough new directors are coming to the industry. I just hope we will see some this year,’ he said. Director Kamar Ahmad Simon is hopeful the year is going to be full of surprises for the film buffs. ‘More new directors will hopefully get on board and surprise us with their talent, making some really good films. Their works will be of international standards and different in many ways from their predecessors’ works,’ he said. Meanwhile, despite criticism that the industry is going downhill with each passing day, actor Amit Hasan thinks that things will not be as depressing this year. ‘I see signs of recovery in the industry. Maybe it’s happening slower than we had expected, but it’s happening nonetheless,’ he said.