• Saturday, November 01, 2014

THROUGH THE EYES OF FERDAUSI RAHMAN

Interviewed by Fahim Abrar

“My father used to say - a tree with no fruits may stand straight but a tree bearing fruits bends down. A person with knowledge is like a fruit bearing tree that bends down when it's full of knowledge,” says Ferdausi Rahman, who has always tried to live up to his teachings. Ferdausi Rahman, formerly known as Ferdausi Begum, is a Bangladeshi playback singer and daughter of folk singer Abbas Uddin. She was born on 28 June 1941. She has two elder brothers, former Chief Justice of Bangladesh Mustafa Kamal and singer Mustafa Zaman Abbasi. She is married to Rezaur Rahman, an engineer and industrialist; and has two sons Rubaiyat Rahman and Razin Rahman, and four grandchildren. Ferdausi Rahman began her career as a playback singer with Ehtesham's 'Ei Desh Tomar Amar' under the music direction of Khan Ataur Rahman in 1959, followed by 'Asia' in 1960. One of the music directors of the movie 'Asia' was her father. In 1964, her song was broadcast in the then newly established Pakistan Television. She is most widely known through her children's program "Esho Gaan Shikhi" on Bangladesh Television, where she teaches children about music. The program has been running for 49 years.

PHILOSOPHY
From childhood I was always sincere and dedicated about what I did, be it studies or music. In life, you always need to have a goal, for me that goal was set by my father Abbas Uddin. That's one prime reason why I earned fame from a very tender age. To know any subject properly you have to put your heart into it; that's one thing I always did. Success and fame were never my prime goals. Success and fame come eventually if you are talented, skilled & dedicated. Well, I must say this that wherever you are from, whichever career you want to pursue you must prove your devotion towards it. Among all other likings you have to give more time towards it, and one day your devotion will speak for itself. In today's world what matters most to me is being a good human being.  You must also be a humble and down to earth human being.

INSPIRATIONS
My first inspiration has always been my father Abbas Uddin. My family support was something that made me what I am today. I lost my father almost at the very beginning of my career, from that moment my mother was my greatest support. When there were shows abroad my mother would accompany me. My brothers Mustafa Kamal & Mustafa Zaman Abbasi were very supportive too. My husband Rezaur Rahman, my children Rubaiyat Rahman and Razin Rahman have always supported me, in different ways they inspired me. My Ustads and people from the film industry appreciated me, and this always had a deep impact on me. I guess it is because I took those words seriously that I got the chance to correct my flaws and also live up to their expectations. Again, there were also my listeners who inspired me in the best possible way! All the awards, state recognitions inspired me but nothing inspired me like all the letters that I received from my fans saying how much they loved my songs or my shows. For me it's a great achievement and source of inspiration.

IDOLS
Among all the people whom I see as idols, again my father would be the first one. It's basically all the inner beauties of him that makes me idolize him. He was pious, punctual, well-mannered, well-dressed, humble and caring. Other than him, Ustad Nazakat Ali and Ustad Salamat Ali are two men I really look up to. I personally have always been their greatest fan. Then I always also thought of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan as an idol. When I received the UNESCO fellowship for music back in 1963, I wanted to study under him in India but due to political situations I couldn't go to India, later I completed my fellowship from London Trinity College of Music.
 

MUSIC
I have been teaching music to kids through "Esho Gaan Shikhi" for the last 49 years. This show of BTV is of the same age as BTV itself! It's a pleasure and I am really glad about it - but I believe certain changes are a must. When it comes to punctuality and regularity, BTV is not a hundred percent in these qualities. As this is one of those shows which are basically for children, if such shows are not regularly maintained its kind of a drawback. For the last 25 years, I have been running the 'Abbas Uddin Sangeet Academy'. I have been planning on taking a place of its own so that we can pursue more students and these days I try to keep myself busy through this institution. Apparently, nowadays in Bangladesh the idea of pursuing a career through music is encouraged, which is really admirable. Music Talent Hunt shows help nurture these talents and help to find hidden talent from the corners of the country and bring them to the limelight, but the reward of these shows shouldn't just be in some amount of money - it can also be a scholarship program to teach the winners more about music. I believe for a singer his or her foundation or basic should be strong. Every singer must learn their basics first. You can be a classical singer, a rock singer or a pop singer,but if you don't have a good foundation - at some point you'll not be able to reach the next step and burn out. Channels or organizers should work on making the foundations of talented musicians stronger. Because music is just not about how well a person sings it's also about showmanship, performance, mannerism, and the sphere is just becoming wider than ever before. With certain changes I believe we will get much better musicians in our country.
FerdausiRahman was awarded the President's Pride of Performance Medal in 1965, the Ekushey Padak in 1973, the Independence Day Award (Shadhinota DibashPadak) in 1995, Nasiruddin Gold Medal and the Film Journalists Award. On 17 July 2009, she was awarded a crest as part of the Gunijon Shongbordhona program. She received Meril ProthomAlo Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and last year, she received the Daily Star-Standard Chartered Celebrating Life's Lifetime Achievement Award.

FAVORITE FILMS:
1. The Sound of Music
2. Roman Holiday
3. Lagaan
4. Most of Suchitra-Uttam Bengali films (Priyo Bandhabi, Har ManaHar, Alo Amar Alo)

FAVOURITE SINGERS:
1. Umme Kulsum
2. Nana Mouskouri
3. Sondhya Mukherjee
4. Manna Dey
5. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
 

FAVOURITE AUTHORS:
1.Humayun Ahmed
2. Sunil Ganguly

 

Published: 12:00 am Saturday, March 22, 2014

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