Masud Ali Khan is a veteran theatre and television actor who has been admired by the Bangladesh audience for decades. His career began with him joining the theatre group named Drama Circle in 1958. He participated in the drama named “Bhai Bhai Shobai” which was written by Nurul Momen in 1964 when the television show began in Bangladesh. He completed a part of his education in Kolkata, the then east Bengal, and passed his Matriculation exam, presently known as S.S.C, from Comilla Victoria College. Later, he studied at Jagannath College and Sir Salimullah College.
As an actor, Khan prefers theatre work to television production. To quote him, “When the television came at DIT, the dramas were all live and not recorded, therefore, the experience was much more exciting than recorded performances that would be edited and aired later”. He also participated in dramas broadcasts in the radios and also directed a few dramas. But to a man like him, acting is like breathing. Presently, acting not only makes him nostalgic but also gives him a chance of working with present actors and actresses. Acting is like a bridge that connects his past to his present. His expressions, gestures, articulation and interconnectedness with the role he represents give him a unique identity.
Drama Circle: The Beginning
I was interested in drama from my school life when I was in Kolkata. At that time, the Hindu people used to arrange drama during the Durga festival. Once, I was highly moved by the acting of Bidu Babu who came out crying from the stage, literally. Later on, two of my school teachers helped me act in dramas. That was the beginning. I joined Drama Circle, my first theatre group in 1958, that I consider the best even today. It used to provide training for the actors and actresses. No other theatre group provided with training at that time. Therefore, it was easy for the group member to articulate the expected outcomes on stage. Besides, we had to memorize all the dialogues and internalize every instruction of the director. Having a non-formatted theatre stage that you presently see, it was not easy for all at that time.
I don't think that I have a fixed philosophy. People often say that I am habituated to under-acting but I don't think that acting can be categorized as under or over. To me, acting is acting and one has to internalize the role he or she represents. Acting is like believing, like becoming the role you are playing. I think what is important in acting is the representation which matches the reality. Sometimes, acting outshines the reality and takes place in the human heart.
The present theatre has been through a tremendous shift in every sector possible starting from stage set-up, direction and acting. Present drama stages are properly set and the light and other works are very sophisticated. Again, the dialogues are ready and people get the script beforehand. However, it was not like this at our time. We used to memorize every dialogue through repeated rehearsals. Even the stages were not fixed. We used to have stages made of clothes covering from three sides and light and other works were rare. I remember, we did a whole drama named '7 against Thebe' with flat coverings only. However, the present stages are much more sophisticated than stages at our time. I only notice a qualitative change in the stage or theatre. But I don't see people investing time for rehearsal or practice. The scripts are sent to their house beforehand. People are less interested in the theatre and are running after material gain. These tendencies surely have a detrimental effect on their acting and the theatre production. Theatre is all about passion and love. Without love, there is no success here.
Present Television Drama
I am not presently working in the television production much. The television dramas have lost their appeal. I think the advertisement during the television dramas has reached its limit; people are bound to watch a lot of advertisement that break their concentration. It happens to me often that I switch away from one programme due to advertisements, and then watch something else, and move away again when there are ads there too. I think television program coordinators should think about the excess.
Actors: Gary Cooper, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Amir Khan, Uttam Kumar, Nasiruddin Shah, Om Puri
Actress: Ingrid Bergman, Deepika Padukone
Favorite Authors: Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Sunil Gangopadhyaya, Samaresh Majumder
Favorite Singer/Musician: Manna Dey, Dhananjay Bhattacharya, Ustad Rashid Khan