Elita Karim

Elita Karim

Glad to be alive!

Singer; Writer; Editor of Arts and Entertainment, The Daily Star; Loves books, visuals, sleep and eating bowls of apples, pears and oranges.

Tagore’s Gitabitan and the bookshelf of a Bengali household

It has been 81 years today since Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali polymath, poet, composer and the first Bengali Nobel Laureate, breathed his last. In these 81 years, much has changed in the world, including the modernisation of his compositions. Tagore’s songs—Rabindra Sangeet, as they are known—are still popular amongst Bengali music lovers.

My visit to the Grammys

When I was arriving in Phoenix, Arizona last year for my Humphrey Fellowship, I did not imagine that I would get to be a part of one of the most prestigious musical celebrations of the world – the Grammys.

Women in Translation Month: Why we need more of Selina Hossain

The women in Selina Hossain’s books are strong, because the author herself likes to be inspired by the reality around her.

Remembering the contemporary great: Humayun Ahmed

To me, he was a weaver of stories from lands and cultures, all within Bangladesh, that I would never have heard of otherwise. Growing up abroad amidst mixed cultures and languages, Humayun Ahmed kept Bangladesh within me and in thousands of others like me.

Bookstores, around the world

Needless to say, some of the best moments of my life have been spent inside bookstores.

‘Memoirs of Dacca University’: Turning the pages back to the ’40s

The first of July has always been a busy day. With remembrances, special anniversaries and the beginning of a new financial year, the day also reminds us of how fast time passes, as half of the year flies by at the blink of an eye. Yesterday, however, the day was extra significant, because Dhaka University turned a century old. The only known institution in Bangladesh turning 100 (to my knowledge), and that too an important one both academically and historically, led me to look for books and other published items from the past which would speak at length about the university.

In conversation with Kishwar Chowdhury

I applied for MasterChef Australia during lockdown last year. My son was on my back until I handed in my application, and the rest is history!

The book that I would like to read

Today I would like to talk about a book that I have been waiting to read for a very long time. After years of procrastination, luckily, I finally got hold of a copy and decided to write my thoughts about it—what I expect from it, why I would like to read it and of course, experiencing the sheer eagerness of waiting to turn the pages of a new book; a new adventure.

A tribute to my father and his bookshelf

Last week, we marked the 10th year of my father’s death, on June 15th. Every year since we lost him, I would make it a point to post little stories about him from my childhood, on social media. I call them #memorydoodles. This year, while posting pictures and posts about my father, memories of Abbu – his bookshelf and the many books strewn all over our home – rushed in and I found myself remembering all the moments we shared around books.

My learning from Anne Frank as she turns 92

Not all books fulfil the purpose of exploring metaphors or offering a thrilling ending for readers to remember for ages to come. Some books are simply there to create a bridge between generations of readers, running for even as long as 70 years and more. Some books, like Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, are written at a time when the world is in turmoil. She needed a space to express herself, to gather her thoughts and maybe, someday, pass these thoughts on to others, once the world went back to normal. Unfortunately, Anne along with her family were eventually captured and killed, except for her father Otto Frank, who ended up finding the book and publishing it. Little did she know that her Dutch expressions would be translated to English and many other languages, and touch...

Of books and nostalgia

There is something very interesting about how certain smells take you back in time, very much like a time machine would, if it ever existed.

The case for a national inventory of intangible cultural heritage

When Shadhona was granted accreditation by the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in December 2019, it was definitely a special moment for Bangladesh.

‘Anubhutir Abhidhan’: A peek into the world of Tahsan Khan

As a lover of books and music, it is no surprise that I would pick up Anubhutir Abhidhan (Addhayan Prokashoni, 2021), a book of musings, stories, and poems written by Tahsan Khan— singer, songwriter, actor, teacher, and also a mentor to many in Bangladesh.

Challenges for young journalists: Pointers by Rita Nahar

DRU is an excellent platform for young journalists, providing ample opportunities for seniors and juniors in this profession to work together to solve problems, and discuss various issues. Our special training programmes are designed to be youth-friendly. Our magazine, Reporter’s Voice, and women’s platform, Konthoshor, highlight experiences of young journalists.

In his words: The last conversation with Aly Zaker

I have written my life story from the time that I can remember till early 1971. It was published by Ittadi Prokashoni. The one I am writing is the second part where I talk about my philosophy of life; so much happened after independence—theatre, love, marriage, children.

Ananta Jalil’s dangerous tirade

One of the proverbs that I have grown to dislike, especially in the last many years is—ek haathe taali baaje na (you need two hands to clap), roughly translating to, a deed is done only if two or more people come together to do it. It is not possible for one sole person to accomplish something.

Gazi Nafis Ahmed’s take on visual arts

Gazi Nafis Ahmed is a visual artist working in Spain. His pictures portray visual stories, highlighting unseen or ignored realities.

Mangoes, lychees, and childhood memories in ‘Amar Chelebela’

For me, Amar Chelebela (1991) by Humayun Ahmed would not only be a summer read but also a comfort read, a holiday retreat, a walking tour of a Bangladesh unheard of today, and also a sneak-peak into the daily bustle of a family who redefined literature, science fiction, caricatures, humour and so much more.

Tribute to Andrew Kishore: End of the golden era of playback

Times were probably different back then, and Kishore had definitely made the right choice of staying back and being with his people.

“Sharing your ideas is what counts” – Partha Mazumder

Partha Mazumder prefers to stay out of the limelight. However, the music he produces and the tunes he composes, speak his heart out. He spent a few minutes with the A&E team, talking about the industry, new projects and the people he misses.

From Prematal to No Land’s Man

It is not every day that one is invited to Tahsan Khan’s home, even if it is for an interview. It was a cold night, and as the hours were

40 years down, Miles to go

Established in August, 1979, Miles had become a household name within a few years, thanks to their out-of-the-box compositions, bringing about a new wave of pop-rock sound in Bangladesh.

A new chapter in Mithila’s book

Rafiath Rashid, popularly known as Mithila, is an actor, writer, a development professional, a mother and also an occasional singer – not necessarily in the mentioned order.

A heart-to-heart with Asaduzzaman Noor

Born on October 31, 1946, freedom fighter and former Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor began his journey as an actor with theatre. His memorable roles include Baaker Bhai from Kothao Keo Nei, Nandail’er Yunus from Maatir Pinjirar Majhe Bondi Hoiya and Chhoto Mirza from Ayomoy, among many others. At the moment, he is attending a cultural festival titled ‘A Season of Bangla Drama’ in London organised by London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Recently, Noor shared his thoughts with Elita Karim of The Daily Star.

‘Licensed to kill’

A glance through Abrar’s social media handle says a lot about him.

Stories with a Purpose

As opposed to what some of the seniors in the field would say, this year, both the Eid seasons actually brought about telefilms and stories, even though few in number, reflecting positive changes where storytelling and acting were concerned.

Words from a commoner

Tagore songs take me back to my childhood. They remind me of the nights when my mother would stay awake well past midnight to watch over me while I studied for my board exams.

Creating more opportunities: face to face with Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair, a British barrister, lecturer and writer, is also the Chancellor of the very first (and probably the only) Liberal Arts school / university in Bangladesh, Asian University for Women (AUW), located in Chattogram.

Celebrating 158 years of Rabindranath Tagore

Tagore spoke of prayer, love, patriotism and passion. He also spoke about freedom to learn, to express and to stand up for one’s own beliefs. On the occasion of his 158th birthday, we caught up with the leading Tagore artiste Rezwana Choudhury Bannya, who spoke about learning, academics and her plans for today.

Nawazuddin to star in Farooki flick

Mostafa Sarwar Farooki, for the first time, is making an English-language film -- “No Land's Man” -- that will star the illustrious Indian actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, according to Variety, an entertainment magazine.

2 Bangladeshis on Forbes 30 Under 30 list

This year's Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list, prepared by Forbes magazine, announced the names of young trailblazers yesterday, in 20 industries and categories.

Catching up with Fuad

In the mid-2000s, the music industry in Bangladesh went through a massive change in sound, when Fuad Almuqtadir introduced a unique style of blending genres of folk, rock, pop and electronica, thereby creating a distinctive variety of fusion of Bangla words and music.

Not a supporter of art made for propaganda

When Arundhati Roy finally entered the halls at Midas Centre yesterday evening, cheers erupted amidst the waiting audience, accompanied by sighs of relief -- “so, it's finally happening!” one said to the other.

In remembrance of Binod Bihari Chowdhury

January 10 was the birth anniversary of Binod Bihari Chowdhury, the anti-colonial revolutionary famous for his participation in the Chittagong Armoury Raid led by Masterda Surya Sen. Binod Bihari passed away on April 10, 2013. This week, In Focus publishes an interview with the revolutionary, which was originally published in The Daily Star's Weekend Magazine in 2010.

Always Remember, Never To Forget: Farewell, Bulbul Sir

A day after he turned 63 years old, Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul posted a picture on his social media profile, asking friends and loved ones to remember him, lest they forget. In the photograph, he seemed to be waiting for a flight to his next destination, carrying his passport, all dressed and ready to face challenges as he always had. Little did we know that the photograph depicted his final farewell, with Bangladesh in his heart and music in his smile. That was the last post he had made on the platform.

Mostafa Sarwar Farooki on 'Shonibaar Bikel'

Considered a pathbreaker in the field of Bangladeshi TV visuals and cinema, Mostofa Sawar Farooki seems to be in focus once again for his much awaited film, 'Shonibaar Bikel' (Saturday Afternoon). Recently winning the Fazlul Haque Smirti Award, the storyteller decided to have a quick chat with us about the film and the controversies surrounding it, invented and spread by overrated groups on social media.

When music paves the way

In 1971, it was indeed a proud day for many a Bangladeshi when independence was announced. Everyone seemed to welcome the beginning of the Liberation War.

An exclusive insight to 'Hasina: A Daughter's Tale'

For renowned ad-film maker, Piplu Khan, opting for a docu-drama after years of making commercials was not an easy decision.

Catching up with the Folk Queen

Besides being a household name, Momotaz, dubbed the Folk Queen, represents Bangladesh when it comes to showcasing traditional stories, music and the common people. The artiste drew a large number of admirers, fans and listeners recently at the Dhaka International Folk Fest (DIFF). She took out a little time to chat about her music, her life and more.

Performing for THE SOULS

As Puranchand Wadali and his son Lakhwinder Wadali settle down to start singing for the audience, the senior Wadali runs his eyes through the crowd and smiles as he figures out the songs he and his team are about to perform.

Memories with the Legend

The first time I had met Ayub Bachchu was years ago at a recording in a studio called Art of Noise in Shegun Bagicha. The studio belonged to yet another music legend Foad Nasser Babu from the band Feedback.


“It took me only five minutes to break the ice,” says Piplu, referring to the first sitting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Running on Nostalgia

Nostalgia is not an 'old person' sentiment anymore. It's real and it's hovering above us every minute of the day. Do you ever find yourself going through letters, post cards and old birthday cards received from friends and family members living all over the world? What about catching a movie or a TV show re-run that you grew up

The three stories that changed the narrative

We are a culture of stories, and for centuries, we have looked for occasions to speak of these tales. Be it the age-old geets about the romance between a soldier and a princess that are sung during weddings or the tales of sacrifice and martyrdom on which religious holidays are based, the people in this region have always been the best storytellers.

Tribute to Rama Chowdhury

Many know about the heartbreaking story of Birangana Rama Chowdhury's life. In May 1971, she was brutally tortured and violated by the Pak bahini;

Sehri Tales pages before dawn

Long-time writer for the youth, journalist and a youth icon, Sabrina Fatma Ahmad finally wrote her first book, 'Sehri Tales,' which has


While one smiles and shares anecdotes, the other ponders upon her surroundings silently and offers suggestions.

A disco weekend!

Last weekend, Dhaka was all drenched in nostalgia -- many were seen listening to music from their old collections, remembering long gone moments with friends and families and getting ready for some disco!

July 13, 2018
July 13, 2018

A Chabial project in the making?

Late in the night yesterday, on the road beside BG Press in Tejgaon, the Chabial Bhai Brothers were seen with a shooting crew.

July 5, 2018
July 5, 2018

40 years of madness - Celebrating Unmad

A fascinating part of the magazine Unmad is how the Bangla wit is represented through cartoons, sketches, images and not to mention the hilarious write ups and crazy poetry. Decades of the evolving humour, writers and cartoonists of all ages who have been involved with Unmad for years, along with cartoons and ideas, will be framed and waiting for enthusiasts and fans at the Drik gallery in Dhanmondi, from July 5-9.

June 19, 2018
June 19, 2018

A surprise release!

Singing to himself, a rickshaw puller talks about the many alley ways he has to pass through while cycling his passengers to their destinations. The rickshaw puller remembers his beloved who is probably left behind at home, he remembers the love they felt for each other and how promises were broken. The video is very unlike the many we see nowadays springing up from the many platforms in Bangladesh. The graphical representation showcases a rickshaw puller with big dreamy eyes cycling through the many 'oli-golis', drowning his sorrow in work.

May 24, 2018
May 24, 2018

Our beloved VC Sir

The last time I met Dr Hafiz GA Siddiqi was at a seminar or a conference. VC Sir, as many of us still refer to him, was surrounded by crowds of his former students,

May 11, 2018
May 11, 2018

Singing for HOME

Even before she completed her set up, people from all over the city crowded into the Bengal Boi vicinity, only to get a glimpse of Sahana Bajpaie, not to mention, listen to her sing.

March 23, 2018
March 23, 2018

A story yet to be told

It was a proud day for many a Bangladeshi when independence was announced, liberation was in the air and heroes were welcomed back home with open arms. In the last four decades or more, some stories—of the Muktijoddhas fighting the Pakistani army, families walking for days to reach safety and the university massacre—have been passed on from one generation to the next. These are true stories that are never to be forgotten.

March 8, 2018
March 8, 2018

Changing the world page by page

For Selina Hossain, the year 2018 has been a wonderful one so far. For one, she recently won the prestigious Independence Day Award, better known as the Shwadhinata Padak, for her contribution to literature. The Independence Day Award is the highest state award given by the government of Bangladesh. “I was of course delighted and also very surprised,” says the famous novelist, Selina Hossain.

March 2, 2018
March 2, 2018

Farewell Sabah Apa

I met Sabah Tani back in 2012 when I was asked to be one of the judges for the initial audition round of a TV music reality show. It was a fascinating experience, being a first-timer in something of that sort. I got the opportunity to visit all eight divisions of Bangladesh in 25 days, which otherwise I would have neither the strength nor the time to do. Our primary job was to listen to contestants sing and decide

February 21, 2018
February 21, 2018

Revelling in the changes

For centuries now, language has been intrinsic to the changing patterns of culture. Some would even say that it's true the other way around. Even though the way we perceive and use language changes from one generation to the next, the social function of this tool to communicate remains the same—nurturing and promoting feelings of identity, community and of course harmony.

November 26, 2017
November 26, 2017

Against the odds, Bangladesh puts mothers at the forefront of medical practice

Ruby Akthar can still remember the agony of her first labour. Nestled away in one of Bangladesh’s many urban slums—aged just 20—a frightened Akthar attempted to deliver her first baby at home without ...