Five-time National Film Award winner Champa has been a household name since the mid 80s. Starring in nearly 200 films in Bangladesh and 15 Indian ventures, the actor has led a highly successful career. Her accolades also include the Jyoti Basu Award, Bengal Journalist Award and the Telecine Award. We spoke to the actor about some of her fondest memories in the industry.
“I still remember the trips to FDC. My relationship with the place began long before I became an actor, as my sister Babita and Shuchanda were working in films then,” recalls Champa. “There were times when my sisters were busy shooting all night, and I spent many nights there just watching them work. I loved that environment.”
Her first film was Teen Konnya. Champa explains that making that movie was a great experience. The first scene of the movie had no dialogue; it was a shot of her walking towards the camera, and the director was happy with the first take. Teen Konnya was released in 1985.
“One of my films, Bheja Chokh, was a huge hit. We shot it at the Taj Mahal, as well as in some areas around Egypt and Bangladesh. I remember how difficult it was filming at the Taj Mahal,” says Champa. “It was so hot, that we had a doctor on site to check our blood pressures in between takes. We had to stay hydrated with saline.” In Bangladesh, the team filmed some scenes in Himchori. “There was one particular scene where I stood at the bottom of a hill, and my co-artiste was on top. And then suddenly, he began to fall. We thought we had lost him for good! But thankfully, all that hard work and risks eventually paid off,” she says.
Champa also spoke about Birho Betha, the film adaptation of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's Bishbrikkho. She explains that her role in the movie was quite challenging, and back then she was pretty inexperienced in acting. The film was shot at the Zamindar Manor in Bikrampur.
Over the years, her popularity rose. She began appearing in one film after another, attracting large groups of fans whenever she shot something outside of Dhaka.
Champa's first starring role was in Nishpaap, a film produced by Alamgir. After its release, the movie was met with much appreciation from the audience. She considers the film to be a pivotal point in her career. “Alamgir told me once that Nishpaap was the goose that laid golden eggs! And that was so true, for so many people watched and loved the film,” expresses Champa.