Preronar Kotha with Asaduzzaman Noor: A versatile icon
A fearless freedom fighter, a luminous star in our cultural sphere, a thespian, a people's representative in the national parliament, a man loved by the masses for his unique humour and humble demeanour - Asaduzzaman Noor, MP, graced the first episode of the second season of Prerona Kotha.
During the heart-to-heart conversation, he talked in length about his childhood, the philosophy of his life, the beginning of his career in acting, the defining moments of his life, his sources of courage, fighting for the nation during the Liberation War and his thoughts on the future of the nation and young generation.
He came to Dhaka in 1966 to study law at the University of Dhaka. However, he was swayed away by the mass movement spearheaded by our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman that was going on at that time to oust the Pakistani occupation forces. The Six-point Movement, the mass uprising of 1969 and above all, the historical speech of Bangabandhu on the 7th March imbued him with the courage and inspiration to fight for his motherland during the Liberation War. He went to his hometown in Nilphamari on March 8 and joined the forces in the war against the occupying forces, subsequently fighting under Sector Six of the 'Mukti Bahini'.
Asaduzzaman Noor's debut in acting was through joining another stalwart Aly Zaker's theatre troupe "Nagorik" in 1973, where he performed incidentally to replace an injured performer. This was the beginning of his acting in the theatre. Then he performed in Bangladesh Television in 1974 in a drama called 'Rang er Fanush' produced by the esteemed filmmaker and playwright, Abdullah Al Mamun.
Quoting his favourite drama to be 'Ayomoy' and his favourite character to be "Yonus of Nandail" from the drama 'Maatir Pinjirar Majhe Bondi Hoia', he mentioned how he enjoyed playing a diversified range of characters - from a servant and landlord to an assassin.
The thespian believes culture is the most powerful vehicle to present a country to the world. He highlighted the importance of cultural diplomacy in promoting the image of the country abroad. He believes that everyone needs to be connected to their own culture because culture is above good or bad and goes beyond the confines of political ideologies to bind people together through positivity. To do that, however, according to him, we have to encourage a liberal-thinking attitude among the young generations. We have to nurture the cultural and artistic inclinations of the future generation from childhood.
"I always say, beyond enhancing national identity, there is also room to think about nation building, to shape generations who would be patriotic and liberal minded. If we cannot integrate education with our culture, we will not be able to develop citizens with true human attributes. We are gradually deviating from the fact that without these qualities, our children cannot achieve true human qualities."
He considers two incidents as the defining moments of his life. The first is his acquaintance with the legendary actor and cultural personality Aly Zaker for introducing him to the world of communication and advertising and initiating his acting career.
"Another defining moment of my life was meeting Sheikh Hasina, Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh. I owe my political career to her. She is the one who brought me into politics."
At one stage of the discussion, Asaduzzaman Noor spoke about his dreams for the country. Shedding light on the turbulent history of our country post the assassination of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he said that had we been on the right track from the beginning, we could have probably reached this stage of progress 30 years back.
Talking about the evolving nature of dreams and visions the veteran politician added, "Every generation has its own dream. The visions change with time. What we have dreamt is not necessarily what the upcoming generations will be dreaming. It evolves continuously. But the journey of personal growth does not stop. It is not like, 'I have reached a certain stage of progress, so I no longer need to grow.' Dreams will continue to evolve and these dreams will give people hope."
The freedom fighter further suggested that while talent is important, any limitation in this can be overcome through commitment, patience and hard work. "We have a tendency to achieve everything in a very short time. We need to avoid this tendency to lean towards a shorter route to success and rather get things done through hard work, proactiveness and honesty. The word 'honesty' has a variety of meanings. It goes beyond financial integrity. Honesty is mandatory in every field we work. It can help us in achieving all of our dreams."
Emphasizing the importance of being proactive in trying to reach one's goals, the beloved actor said that he has no regrets in life, "I try to do everything with 100 percent sincerity. If I fail after trying, I do not dwell on it. I tried, that is important to me."
The interview was conducted by Dr Melita Mehjabeen, Associate Professor, IBA, University of Dhaka as part of "Preronar Kotha", a thought leadership broadcast by Prerona Foundation.
The full interview is available for streaming on the YouTube channel of Prerona Foundation.