• Friday, April 18, 2014

A tribute to Khaled Khan

Ataur Rahman

Khaled Khan -- popularly known as Juboraj -- and I have spent a golden time in the sphere of art, culture and theatre for many years. He came to Dhaka and joined Nagorik Natya Sampradaya as a very young boy in 1973 and thereafter we could not think of any gossips fruitful or title-tattle without Juboraj. I passed Matriculation (SSC) in 1957 and Juboraj was born in 1957, but this big age gap was shattered between us, to the extent that he became a great friend of mine. Juboraj had done his Masters from Dhaka University in Management, but he was an ardent student of arts, culture and literature. Juboraj could talk for hours and raise storm on any issue; literary, social, political or mere gossips. He used to narrate interesting episodes relating to varied subjects which never failed to capture our attention. He was a master of mimicry. When our 'adda' continued upto late at night, Juboraj used to undo one of my window curtains and wrap it up replacing his trouser and putting a sofa-cushion underneath his head and sleep. Thus Juboraj became and person of elders' heart, and also won the hearts the young generation of the country with his overpowering influence due to his extra-ordinary talent in acting, recitation and also as a singer. Juboraj turned out to be 'Juboda' to the young generation. As an actor, when he used to appear on stage, he captured the audience's attention with ease due to his inimitable diction, pronunciation, nuances and scanning of dialogues with his attractive voice-delivery. He was an actor of rare genre. Amongst his portrayal of several major roles on stage in plays directed by different directors, his portrayal of Panchak in Rabindranath Tagore's “Achalayaton”, Bishu in Tagore's “Raktokorobi” and Jubok in Syed Haq's “Irsha” will never have a parallel. After having seen him on stage in Kolkata as Jubok in the play “Irsha”, legendary actor-director of Bengali theatre, Sree Shambhu Mitra was enchanted and number of spectators in Kolkata went so far to say that Sree Shambhu Mitra in his youth used to act with the same skill and passion as that of this young actor from Bangladesh. Juboraj was a passionate actor with rare quality of a singer and an elocutionist. He had shown to the audience of theatre that singing on stage as a part of dialogues is not the same as that of rendition of songs on stage with accompaniment of musical instruments.  

Khaled Khan with Aupi Karim in “Roktokorobi”.
Khaled Khan with Aupi Karim in “Roktokorobi”.

Khaled Khan also left his distinctive marks as theatre director. His directed play, which he had done for Konthoshilon -- a prominent group of Dhaka for voice training and recitation -- had earned appreciation from the audience of Mohila Samity of Natak Saroni (New Baily Road). It was a very toil-some and disciplined directional work. Khaled's speech was impeccable and his directional work had the reflection of his merit to organising words and stage movements like a symphony. He directed two plays of Nagorik Natya Sampradaya, one was “Muktadhara” by Rabindranath Tagore and the other was “Kalshandhya” by Buddhudev Basu. “Kalshandhya” was a very colourful and vibrant production with music and choreography which was adjudged as the best production of 2002 by several organisations and earned both Khaled and Nagorik Natya Sampradaya a number of honours and laurels. As a longtime director of stage plays, I found Juboraj the most cooperative actor to the director as well as his co-actors.
He had earned good name for his acting in different TV plays and serials and one cinema he had done titled “Poka Makorer Ghor Boshoti”. He was also well-known for lending his voice in innumerable Radio commercials. Juboraj was a great son of the soil, who loved his country, its people and alongside loved theatre, music, recitation of poems and all other related art forms. He did not succumb to his disease by sitting on a wheelchair; he performed his duty in a responsible post at the University of Liberal Art and rose to the coveted post of Treasurer of the University. Khaled was a man of indomitable energy; he was a workaholic. He never lost his sense of humor which I had the pleasure of enjoying, even when I talked to him for the last time, earlier this month over the cellphone. Alas ... he has at last traveled to the land of eternity. Khaled's unseen-presence in our life and posterity will never be diminished. His spirit will always be the source of our inspiration.  
“Take me to the shore, Oh boatman of my dream
The sail is wild like my soul, sway me down the stream” ... (Bishu in “Roktokorobi”)
 

The writer is an eminent theatre actor and director.

Published: 12:01 am Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Last modified: 9:54 pm Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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