What are some of the fondest memories you have with your mother?
Suborna: My mother was a producer for Bangladesh Betar, and she did children's programmes for which she used to translate Hans Christian Andersen fairytales. She would take me with her and would just make me sit in a corner. The producer would often ask why I wasn't working with the other children, and my mom would just say, “She's too naughty. Let her sit there and watch.” This was essentially my introduction to acting and performing. It was Amma who introduced me to this world.
Is there something your mother said to you that you give a lot of value to, or remember from time to time?
Suborna: “If you are out in the world working, you have to take your own responsibility,” she told me. This was when I was six or seven months into doing plays on Bangladesh Television and I was quite the topic of discussion. My father one day asked my mother, “Do you think you should go with her to rehearsals or recordings? I see some of the other parents accompany their daughters,” and before I could say anything, my mother turned to him and said, “I have an entire household to run, I have two other children. I don't have time to police your daughter around. If she can take care of herself then she can go work. If not, she can stay back home.” This has stayed with me.
Is there an attribute of your mother's that you have inherited?
Suborna: Her brutal honesty and patience. My mother was so brutally honest, it would sometimes be bordering on embarrassing.
How much of an impact has your mother had on you - as an actor and as a person?
Suborna: The person that I am today is because of my mother. She was the one to send me to Abdullah Al-Mamun for “Borof Gola Nodi” in 1975. My mother was one of the first women theatre actors, at a time when men used to play the roles of women. She was a producer at All India Radio, then Radio Pakistan, then Bangladesh Betar. She studied at Lady Brabourne College and in Dhaka University, so she was the first empowered woman in my life, and in the house. She worked in the radio, in films, on stage, and afterwards, she ran our home and she wrote. She taught me patience, love, responsibility, wisdom and honesty.