Movers and shakers to lookout for in 2021 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 05, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:09 PM, January 05, 2021

Movers and shakers to lookout for in 2021

Three incredible individuals from Dhaka’s uptown social circle juggle between every day jobs, entrepreneurship, and evening soirees. Hailing from famed sectors like cinema, fitness, and investment biosphere of Bangladesh respectively, they have managed it all, laying the foundation for the hard-working citizens of tomorrow.

Mahboob Rahman

Businessman and film producer

Founder Chairman of ShowMotion Limited

"It was only by chance that I stumbled upon the story of No Dorai," says Mahboob Rahman. And he is not exaggerating when making the claim, because Rahman only heard about Nasima Akhter, the original inspiration behind the protagonist, while visiting the beaches one fine day. "The moment I heard of her struggles and irrefutable determination to overcome all odds, just to follow her passion – surfing; that's exactly when I realised that I had a story in my hands that was worth sharing."

Rahman's intuition clicked, because people became instantaneously curious about the 'not so common' surfing scenario of Bangladesh, especially to learn how the conservative womenfolk of our society were also involved.

By now, if you thought Rahman's success was limited to just a cinema that bagged the National Film Awards in six categories, including Best Film for 2020, you will certainly be far from the truth, because Rahman is intuitive about everything, including most of his other businesses and has achieved success in almost everything that he was involved with.

Managing Director at Sayeman Beach Resorts, Chairman at Peninsula Chittagong, Chairman at, Managing Director at BASE Ltd., the list seems never-ending.

"There's no limit to achieving greatness" he says. "As long as I have the time and the capacity, I will stress on entrepreneurship and try to bring out movies that are worth watching – nothing of the copy paste sort! Because authenticity matters."

Kudos to Mahboob Rahman for all that he has already achieved. Now, we wait to see what more Rahman has to offer Bangladesh in 2021 and the years to come. 


Sayma Rahman

Head of Retail Partnership at Grameenphone

Travel Influencer and Angel Investor at Bangladesh Angels

Born in Iraq and raised in Libya, Sayma Rahman, a Bangladeshi national is privileged to experience international travel from a very early age.

"Yes, I might have been privileged on that note, but I didn't get the chance to travel solo. And my aspiration had always been to do just that…," shares Rahman.

After her return to Bangladesh and completion of her undergraduate program, Rahman joined Grameenphone in 2008, and have been involved with the multinational corporation ever since.

"My day job is at Grameenphone as the Head of Retail Partnership, where my team leads 10,000 plus stores across the country," informs Rahman.

"I have stayed with the company all throughout my career because Grameenphone allows all its employees the appropriate opportunities to grow as a professional," adds Rahman.

Even being the lead at such an important department, which logically demands a substantial amount of time and devotion, Rahman has not abstained from her 'one true passion' — travelling.

"Since the very first month of my job, I began to save money, solely for the reason of travelling, be it on my own or with my family. And today, I realise that all that passion actually reflected well and many people actually look up to me as a travel influencer," reveals a beaming Rahman.

What began as a passion turned into something much bigger, with many travel organisations wanting Rahman's association to encourage the concept of travelling, especially to women of the society.

"I began my Instagram blog a lot later, in 2018, to put across a similar message throughout Bangladesh, that it is import to travel to gain more experience and also very easy – at least not as complicated as people make it out to be," shares Rahman.

All that we discussed until now was only a tiny portion of Rahman's life, who is involved in a myriad of activities, including investments and mentorship, besides her professional career and her passion as a traveller.

Rahman selectively invests in the many start-up organisations in Bangladesh, and has also joined as a member of the Bangladesh Angels Network in 2020.

"My journey towards investments into start-ups began with the help of Grameenphone! It was back in 2018 that I was invited to an intrapreneurship campaign with Telenor in Norway. I headed as the CEO of my team, and went through a rigorous 6-month training process. We might not have won the campaign, but we surely gained a lot of experience – as any new startup would. This is when I got introduced to the investment biosphere, which is still at its nascent stage in Bangladesh," shares Rahman.

And true she is, when discussing investments, most of us think of the capital market or bank deposit, that is where Sayma Rahman shows us that the emerging start-up scenario is a lucrative sector as well.

"I have always wanted to do something for Bangladesh, thanks to the hailing entrepreneurship scene that also requires mentorship and funds; I have been able to put use of my abilities and capacity.

"Recently I have joined the Bangladesh Angels network just to be more involved in this sector and encourage people, especially women, to join the route of entrepreneurship."

We are certainly excited about Sayma Rahman and her future endeavours that encourage a positive Bangladesh. Expecting to see more of her in every possible scene of Dhaka, be it travelling, entrepreneurial or just simply as a motivational speaker!


Ruslan Hossain

Owner of Ruslan's Studio

Performance Nutrition Expert and Fitness Influencer

Being fit and healthy has taken the world by storm. And Bangladesh is not far behind, thanks to fitness experts and influencers like Ruslan Hossain.

 "The strangest part is, I used to lead a very unhealthy lifestyle once upon a time, when a certain jolt in life reminded me that there was no alternative to staying fit and that's when I became overtly determined to change myself for the better," admits Hossain, the fitness guru.

 Unsurprisingly, he confesses that the entire journey from being unfit to healthy was not a walk in the park. Hossain expresses gratitude to his realisation, which he luckily chanced upon, because otherwise, Hossain claims the journey back might have been much more stringent than what he had already experienced.

"Whatever the circumstances may have been, I beat all the odds and that's what mattered. This is also when I realised that if I could beat every obstacle, then everyone else could too, and hence, I decided to take my journey more seriously and share it with the people I knew," states Hossain.

And certainly, there is no turning back once the realisation sets in. With a small fitness studio in his apartment back in 2009, today, Hossain has come way-ahead to establishing suitable fitness training studios in several points of the capital.

"Fitness, good nutrition, holistic wellbeing, a stabilised immune system etc., everything goes hand in hand. Through my establishments, I have taken the responsibility to share my knowledge with as many people as possible. Because it would not make sense to keep knowledge to one's own self," says Hossain.

Thanks to the guru for being obsessed with health and fitness to a point that he wants everyone else to embrace the 'fit as a fiddle' lifestyle.

Hence, waiting patiently for the resurgence in the health and fitness sector of Bangladesh, led by 'powerhouse' driving forces like Ruslan Hossain.


Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Participants: Mahboob Rahman, Sayma Rahman, Ruslan Hossain

Styling: Selina Nusrat

Choreography: Sonia Yeasmin Isha

Wardrobe: Chantilly by Selina Nusrat

Jewellery and Accessories: Jarwa House

Location: Intercontinental Dhaka

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