Chances are, you are already familiar with Afia Tabassum Borno, owing to the numerous television commercials and billboard ads that she has starred in. The English department student from ULAB has now etched her name in history, having starred in an important role in Abdullah Mohammad Saad directorial "Rehana Maryam Noor". The film is the first Bangladeshi project to be officially selected in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, in the 'Un Certain Regard' section.
"I would say I am incredibly lucky to have worked with Saad bhai and the rest of the team," says Afia, who made her film debut with this accolade. "I am not a trained actor, but the crew helped me go through rigorous training in method acting to internalise the challenging role."
The actor portrays the character of Annie, a student who gets assaulted during the course of events in the film. "Every tear that I shed during the events of the film is real, the emotions portrayed are real. We were taught to relate to the characters and put ourselves in their shoes," says Afia.
"Badhon apu, who plays the role of Rehana Maryam Noor, witnesses the incident and takes a stand for me. Every time I saw her act, it was a surreal experience. She was a pillar for the film," says the actor.
Afia Tabassum Borno started her modelling career in 2018, when she stood in front of the camera as a replacement for someone who did not show up to the shoot. "I was working as an assistant photographer for Kaushik Iqbal, when he suddenly told me to pose for the camera. The photos came out surprisingly good, and I had a knack for it as well."
Soon enough, she got a call for audition in Runout films, where she passed with flying colours to feature in a TVC for a telecom company, which turned her career around. "Soon after, I had the chance to work with directors like Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and Adnan Al Rajeev. I had the fortune of working for many brands as well, before getting a call for 'Rehana Maryam Noor' in 2019."
The most intriguing part of the conversation was that, the cast itself had not seen "Rehana Maryam Noor" yet. "A lot of care was taken to ensure the confidentiality of the film," says Afia. "I can't comment on my 'favourite' parts of the film, because it might provide spoilers. We (the cast) have not even seen the film. I look forward to seeing my work soon!"
The model turned actor looks to keep working hard in the entertainment industry. "The pandemic has put a stop to many projects and shootings. However, I will keep striving forward to better myself in future project," she says.