From “Rabeya” to “Noor Banu”: The many avatars of TOYA | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 08, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 08, 2017

From “Rabeya” to “Noor Banu”: The many avatars of TOYA

Mumtaheena Chowdhury Toya made a name for herself in the top five of 2010's edition of Lux-Channel i Superstar. But the model-turned-actress has made leaps throughout her seven years in the industry. Her first venture was the single episode play “Odekha Megher Kabbo” directed by Rumana Rashid Ishita. 

Toya-starrer short film “Roop” was released earlier this year, where she portrayed an acid attack victim. She says, “The reason I really wanted to do this character is that many acid attack cases go unnoticed. In 'Roop' my character Rabeya wants to take revenge on her attacker because the authorities are not helpful. While the make-up was difficult and time consuming, once half my face was distorted, I got into character quite easily. I felt like I didn't belong to this society anymore. I kept wondering what these victims go through and it was heart-breaking.”

After Roop, Toya's next avatar was that of a sex worker. The web series “Admission Test” gave Toya the challenge of playing the role of Noor Banu. “I had to live in Daulatdia, the largest brothel in Bangladesh, throughout shooting. The first couple of shoots were awkward. I felt uncomfortable to play a sex worker in front of actual sex workers, pretending to know what their lives are like. But after the initial scenes, I started making friends with them, and that made me more comfortable,” she told The Daily Star.

Toya has more interesting roles on the way. “I have an upcoming work by Imraul Rafat which will be themed on recent incidents of girls falling victims of rape and assault at parties and events. I am researching on the topic. I also have an upcoming serial where the lifespan of a singular character will be shown - so I will have to play schoolgirl, college girl, middle aged woman, and also an elderly lady.”

Apart from modelling and acting on television, Toya is also regularly featured in short films and music videos. This Eid-ul-Azha, she appeared in a music video by Sayera Reza, and worked in a TVC under Amitabh Reza's direction. Toya also hosted Rtv's special Eid show “HowCow”, which aired during the run-up to Eid-ul-Azha. She is also part of Eid special web-series “Palabi Kothaye”, co-starring Marzuk Russel.

Toya has an upcoming film titled “Bengali Beauty”, based in the 70's, where she will play the titular role. The film is directed by Rahsaan Noor, and her cast members include Pijush Bandyopadhyay, Naila Azad Nupur, Masum, Mili and Naziba Basher. The film is to be released in December.

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