Born in Dhaka on 24 March 1957, Shimul Yousuf is the youngest of seven siblings. She started singing at the age of five. From then on she performed on radio, television and went on to sing in a children show named "Kochi Kanchar Mela". She is trained in classical and traditional songs from Ustad Helaluddin, P C Gomez, Altaf Mahmud, and Abdul Latif. Shimul Yousuf completed her Honours in Social Science. She was admitted to the Institute of Fine Arts and also went to Baroda School of Fine Arts for schooling. She first appeared in theatre in one of Abdullah Al Mamun's plays to raise funds for the freedom fighters in 1972. She was awarded with Diboshri Podok, Lokonatto Podok, Aronno Dipu podok, Rishi Podok, Rudra Podok, Md. Shahidullah award, Jahangir award, Prothom Alo Jorip award & several other awards.
For a successful career, hard work is must and people who don't have the spirit of hard work they lose in the long run. You should also be committed to what you are doing. When it comes to me in the case of theatre; I put all my dedication into it. I started singing when I was 4, later I chose drama over singing. Before any performance, I try not to speak much and try to concentrate. Since childhood, I have always been involved in cultural activities. Even if I hadn't picked theatre as my career I would've still be affiliated with cultural activities. I never went after fame; I liked what I did – I was and still am passionate about it. Now, my hard work speaks for itself.
I am inspired by so many things around me. Selim Al Deen & Altaf Mahmud have always been my biggest inspirations. Selim Al Deen's writings have always got me going. Against all the odds, my mother inspired me as to be what I wanted. All the actors who are my students call me “ma” (mother). To me, it is a big achievement and inspiration. My peers, they inspire me too. I must mention my husband, Nasiruddin Yousuf, who always supported my dreams. In a sense, my husband helped me flourish my potentials.
It has to be my husband Nasiruddin Yousuf – he is on top. I am repeating myself here, but again, I have to mention Altaf Mahmud and Selim Al Deen. It is just not only because of their work but their philosophy, their way of thinking and their passion attracts me. A certain part of me connects with these people in such a way that I see their impression on my works. I suppose, that's what you call idolizing someone.
Passion and self-driven dedication are the key ingredients for an actor. Creative media and arts can't be taught or learned. I have been in Dhaka theatre for last 39 years. All who come to be an actor in Dhaka theatre don't get monetary benefits. But it is their inner drive makes them chose to pursue acting in theatres. Theater actors need to keep reading novels, books, stories and plays – they need to be a knowledgeable person. It helps us learn acting and emotions in the best way possible. I would like to say that it has been a pleasure being a teacher for the last 39 years. We can choose to go on like this or we can improvise in the situation in hand and take theatres on a higher level. Government should be more involved in cultural sector. Scholarships can also be provided. Newcomers need to be groomed in the best manner. I believe today's dream will turn out to be tomorrow's reality.
SHIMUL YOUSUF'S FAVOURITES
Padma Nadir Majhi
Works of Manik Bondopaddhay
Classical music of different folk culture
Works of Anthony Hopkins
Works of Meryl Streep