Arifin Shuvo is perhaps the most popular film actor of our times. Starting off with a bang as a model, Shuvo made several television appearances in single episode plays and TV series before hitting the big screen with “Jaago-Dare to Dream” in 2010. From then on, he has rocked audiences with hits like “Purno Doirgho Prem Kahini” “Agnee”, “Kistimat”, “Chuye Dile Mon” and “Warning”. The versatile actor recently featured on Arts & Entertainment's regular programme DS Café. Shuvo was flooded with questions from his fans both from home and abroad. Some glimpses:
Johnny, Mohammadpur: I have watched all your films. When will your next film release?
Shuvo: Thank you so much for watching my films. Most likely, “Musafir” will come next, since 70 percent of the shooting is already complete. After shooting the songs the film will go into post-production.
Arifun, Airport: I have never been to cinema hall to watch Bangla films but I watched “Chuye Dile Mon”. Keep up your good work.
Shuvo: Thank you so much. I hope you will keep going to cinema halls to watch Bangla films so that we have the incentive to make good films. I hope to give my audiences more good films. Keep me in your prayers so that I can meet your expectations.
Shimul, Dhaka: Given a chance to work with a Bollywood and a Hollywood heroine, whom would you pick?
Shuvo: I would love to work with Deepika Padukone and Mila Kunis. I think Deepika is a package. She's a beauty with brains.
Sonia, Australia: Will your films release in Australia?
Shuvo: “Chuye Dile Mon” will probably open in Melbourne and Sydney in June. Also, I'll visit Australia in September and will stay there for the entire month.
Shakila, Mirpur: Where is your home district?
Shuvo: I was born in Bhaluka, Mymensingh.
Emon, Sylhet: I saw “Chuye Dile Mon” five times over and eagerly await your next film.
Shuvo: That's my achievement and audiences like you inspire me to work hard. Many more films are in the pipeline, and I hope you'll watch those as well.
Abu Nayeem Iqbal, Sylhet: I took some photos of you when you came to Sylhet. Will you come back sometime soon?
Shuvo: I remember that you took my photos. But I don't know what you were doing under the bridge. I will come to Sylhet; it's a beautiful place.
Sakib, Mymensingh: What do you consider your biggest achievement as an actor?
Shuvo: People's love. I want people to watch more Bangla films. Only you can enliven our film industry. Keep watching good films.
Mohi, Mirpur: How do you handle overexcited fans?
Shuvo: There are times when I return from shooting at 3am and crawl into bed at 3:30 am. Out of the blue a fan may call to say, “Bhaiya, I am your fan.” Obviously I have to come up with a polite response because I am here because of them.
Imran, Dubai: Do you have plans to venture into film production?
Shuvo: Currently I don't have such plans. But whenever I get a really good project I will go into production. First of all, I have to be assured that I have a very good project on hand that will fetch me good returns.
Nahin, Dhaka: What's the most challenging thing about being a film star?
Shuvo: I miss leisure, and don't have free time for myself. Whenever I get free time, I catch up on some sleep. Moreover, we have a high pressure professional life. At times I have to shoot continuously for days on end. Our industry is not the most organised, if you know what I mean.
Darshan, Dhaka: In your eyes, what is holding back our film industry?
Shuvo: The shortage of cinema halls. Currently we only have only 350 halls, of which only some 220 are in good conditions. We should focus on looking after our cinema halls and renovating old ones, otherwise the audience won't get to watch films. Renovating cinema halls will uplift the industry by 50 percent. The government should take initiatives in this direction.
Prabir, Chittagong: As an insider, can you tell us what can be done immediately to revive our film industry?
Shuvo: Over the last 15 years or so, the number of writers, directors, lyricists, music directors and fight directors has drastically reduced. We badly need good people in these professions to create good films. Due to the shortage of writers, many films have 1980s plots with the stereotypical 'Chowdhury Saheb' characters. Moreover, many films are mere copies of South Indian films. In the past, the audience could be kept in the dark since there was no access to the internet but now they regularly watch those films. If you copy a film of 50 crore rupees and remake it with one crore taka, you cannot expect that really bad version version to be commercially successful. In addition, we need better promotion and marketing strategies to boost the film industry.
Zaima, Dhaka: Is there a silver lining on the horizon for Dhallywood?
Shuvo: We need more directors to steer the industry, as it is not possible for actors to do it alone. We need to address the problems together. Many good directors are into TVCs, yet many ad film makers like Amitav Reza are now venturing into filmmaking. So, I hope better times are round the corner.
Transcribed by Saurav Dey