The film industry in Bangladesh, then East Pakistan, began its journey in 1956. Since then, most movies made in Bangladesh have been hero-centric. Some of these heroes have gained immense popularity for their movies, making them household names in the nation. Others have acted in a handful of films and disappeared. So today, we reminisce the megastar heroes of the Bangladeshi film industry from the 1960s till date.
The first ever Bangladeshi film hero was actor Aminul Haque, who starred in the first Bangla film in this country, titled Mukh O Mukhosh, directed by Abdul Jabbar in 1956. Aminul Haque rose to stardom as the nation’s audience encountered their first movie and movie star. Ever since, he acted in a number of movies, including in the popular film Akash Aar Maati. At one point, he started acting in supporting roles in films as well as on television. Aminul Haque passed away on July 31, 2011.
Some of the most popular heroes in the 60s and 70s were Rahman, Kafi Khan, Golam Mustafa, Ahsan Ali Sydney, Khalil Ullah Khan, and Azim, among others. Golam Mustafa and Khalil Ullah Khan played both protagonist and antagonist roles successfully, whereas the rest of the heroes exclusively played protagonist leads.
In 1964, prolific actor Abdur Rajjak, also known as Nayok Raj Rajjak, began his career in Bangladeshi cinema, through the film Behula, directed by Zahir Raihan. He was, inarguably, the biggest star in the entertainment industry during the late 60s and all of 70s. From comedy and romance, to action and adventure, Rajjak acted in movies of all genres. Alongside, actors Farooque, Uzzal, Sohel Rana, Alamgir, Bulbul Ahmed, Javed and others, made their movie debuts in the 70s. All of these performers rose to prominence through a variety of hit films, which stood testament to their talents and hard work.
Near the end of the 70s, Ilias Kanchan emerged as a hero with his first release in 1976, titled Bashundhara. Although he delivered a few flops following his initial success, he bounced back in the 80s with many hits, including Beder Meye Josna. In the 80s, superstar Manna appeared in back-to-back blockbuster movies, captivating the audience with each of his performances. Apart from him, actors Imran, Subrata and Amit Hasan also made their respective marks in the film industry in the 80s.
The 90s were the golden years for Bangladeshi cinema. Actor Nayeem pulled in a generation towards movie theatres in 1991 with his film Chandni, followed by many more hits. Heartthrobs Omar Sani, Amin Khan and Salman Shah also began their cinema journey in the 90s as well. Salman Shah started his career with Keyamat Theke Keyamat in 1993, whereas Amin Khan stepped in with Obujh Duti Mon in the same year.
In the mid-90s, actors Riaz, Ferdous and Shakil Khan made their debuts with the films Banglar Nayok, Hothat Brishti and Amar Ghor Amar Behest respectively. These three marvels boast extensive filmographies which are growing further till date. In 1999, the Bangladeshi film industry was gifted with megastar Shakib Khan. In the past 20 years, he has risen as the most popular as well as the highest paid actor in Bangladesh as he continues his reign as the king of Dhallywood.
In 2012, Bappy Chowdhury entered the film industry and has since established himself as a successful hero. The latest addition to the list of most iconic film heroes of Bangladesh is Siam Ahmed. All his films till date, starting with Poramon 2, have been outstanding commercial successes.