Eminent actor-director Shimul Yousuf is renowned for her versatile artistic identity. She joined Dhaka Theatre in 1974, and has directed and acted in numerous productions including “Kasai”, “Char Khakra”, “Shakuntala” “Phoni Monosa”, “Kitton Khola”, “Keramot Mongol”, “Hat Hadai” “Chaka” “Joiboti Konnyar Mon”, “Bono Pangshul”, “Dhaboman” and “Binodini”.
The thespian spoke to The Daily Star on International Women's Day.
“Before I am either a man or woman, I am a human being; I am concerned about whether my basic human rights and social opportunities are being fulfilled or not. I believe every woman in the world should identify themselves as a human being first. In a male-dominated society, women are enchained in many socially-constructed structures, and cannot have the creative faculty flourish. Men should give support to women so that the society's traditional outlook towards women takes a positive turn.
“Women should be given proper respect, security and equal opportunity starting from their workplaces and above all in a society. The role of a family is equally important for motivating women in achieving their dreams or cherished goals. Nowadays, I see many young women plying scooters and bikes on streets. This is really appreciable. Women need to first achieve economic freedom, but should not be forced to choose their professions by family; rather family members should inspire them to choose their professions freely.
“I work on stage, which is a vast place to represent social incongruence. Street theatre is specially designed for addressing social issues. Mass media must uphold the issues seriously so that a positive change can take place in society. You know, the nucleus of my troupe, Dhaka Theatre, is Gram Theatre -- that has 235 wings across the country. We are doing our part in creating social and cultural awareness through our artistic and theatrical activities.
“Women must take their own responsibilities to establish themselves and to earn a respected life in a society; they should raise their voices to ascertain their own rights.”