Afsana Mimi's career took off when she appeared in the drama 'Kothao Keu Nei' on BTV during the nineties. Between then and now, Mimi has appeared in hundreds of episodes of television shows and even movies. She has also directed a few dramas and fiction works. Her character is marked by her lively personality and friendly approach towards her surroundings. Star Showbiz caught up with her at her office to learn about her career as a director and her plans going forward.
1. You are commonly known as an actress. How did you start your career as a director?
I never even thought of coming to the media. I used to read a lot of books and dream about becoming a writer or doctor. I was greatly influenced by my work as a theatre actor and following my acting on screen, I became attached with direction and script writing. Then I began directing in the year 2000.
2. You have worked in front and behind the camera. How does it feel to do both at the same time?
I would say I prefer one at a time. Usually, I avoid working as an actress when I concentrate working as a director and vice versa. I think it is very important to concentrate on one. I cannot do things properly as a director if I am working as an actress at the same time.
3. What are you working on currently?
Presently, I am working on some television drama. Besides, I have completed a serial which I would like to have aired on TV as soon as possible. I am also doing a cooking show on ATN News named 'Nostalgia'. I was working with a movie named 'Camp' which was halted mid-way, and I am trying to restart its production and finish it by this year. And yes, I would like to continue making movies when I complete this one.
4. What are your thoughts about the present movie industry of our country?
Presently, we are seeing the trend of people with large investments entering the industry and making movies without prior experience. I would say that movie making needs passion, dedication and some aesthetic sense. Nowadays, audiences seem to be interested in movies of an actor who cannot even speak properly on screen. His stammer and fumbles might entertain the audience, but in a longer span of time, this trend is sure to affect our cultural and social scene.
5. What are some of the challenges we face in the media currently?
I think movies should contain the demand of time. Many movies of the eighties were unsuccessful because they did not reverberate with the demand of the viewers. Unskilled and incapable people in our movie industry are worsening the situation. The business persons are controlling the television channels and anyone who has money can make movies now. All these are hampering our production and frustrating true producers and viewers as well.
6. We hear many people complaining about the advertisements during TV programs. Do you think advertisements on TV have crossed their limit?
Due to over advertisement, viewers are switching to foreign television channels. I think it is because the television channels count on the quantity and not the quality of programs. The television channels in league with the advertising firms evaluate the programs and decide what is to be made and who are to be given exposure.
7. What are the challenges of working in Bangladesh as a director?
Firstly, we have no institute for television and media studies. The lack of skilled crew, camera persons and technicians are keeping us behind. We lack stories that relates to the life of people. Our cultural arena is surprisingly politicized and is largely controlled by people who are not competent.
8. What can be done to solve some of the problems you mentioned?
I cannot really say for sure, but first of all we need an institute for television and media studies. We need to ensure that skilled and talented people work in their related fields. We need technicians, camerapersons and crew who have prior experience or at least have passion and dedication to their work.
9. What are some of your favorite productions? Who are your favorite directors and producers?
I see the movies based on the artists I like. Forest Gump, Terminal and Out of Africa are some of my favorites. I also like Runway, Surjokonna, Aha, Ontorjatra and some other Bangla movies. My favourite directors are Kurusawa, Jahir Rayhan, Tareque Masud, Alamgir Kabir and many others.
10. What would be your word of advice for young people interested to work in the media?
I only expect that people will practice and rehearse to improve their performance. It hurts me when I see tired and pale faces of people working all the time.