“Acting has been my lifelong pursuit”
Sharmili Ahmed is a powerful presence for the television and film industries of Bangladesh. She is a living legend who has acted in numerous television dramas and also appeared on the big screen in several movies back in the sixties. The eminent and inspirational actor has been working for more than five decades. She recently turned 73. In a candid chat with The Daily Star, she looks back on her glorious career.
Based on your experiences as an actor, who do you think plays the most critical role in a tele-fiction, play or film?
The captain plays the most important role on the ship -- and on the sets, the director is the captain. The director has the most critical role, and can bring out the best in an actor. My film career started with eminent director Subhash Datta, and I consider him my mentor.
When you first started working, how did your family react?
My family has always been supportive of my career. I never had to face any obstacles from them. My acting career started with the help of my father. Him and his brothers were artistes themselves. My mother used to play the sitar and she was an avid reader. I am grateful to be born into such a culturally rich family.
You're still a graceful presence on the screen after so many years. What is your mantra for success?
I believe that I have come this far because of my willpower. I am never tired of working, as acting has been my lifelong pursuit. I feel honoured to receive so much love from the people of this country.
You are known for playing maternal roles on the screen nowadays. Do you like playing such roles?
I feel very lucky, as so many people address me as 'Maa.' Everyone sees me as a mother figure in their lives, and that is a huge achievement for me. During shoots, my co-artistes always help me pack up and cook meals for me. I feel truly blessed, as not everyone gets to have such adoration. My co-artistes are like family to me.
How are you spending time at home now?
I am reading books, watching television and films. I recently watched Abirbhab, a film that I was in. Many of my colleagues check up on me regularly, and I have been talking to my close ones on the phone as well. Dilara Zaman sent me home-cooked meals just a few days ago. I am having a good time at home.