Emerging into focus
Actress Reetu A. Sattar has already carved a niche for herself in the theatre scene. A member of Prachyanat, Reetu joined the troupe in 1999. Her debut performance was in “A Man for All Seasons.” Gradually she landed several major roles and earned plaudits from both the audience and fellow theatre activists. The Daily Star recently caught up with the actress.
Born in Dhaka, Reetu was raised in culturally oriented family. Before joining Prachyanat, she was involved with Muktokantho, an organisation for reciters. Her initiation to theatre was quite dramatic. In her words, “A friend of mine and I were interested in recitation but we wanted to do something else as well. We started watching stage plays regularly. We had a vision that we would join a troupe, whose plays fascinate us the most. Bonna apa (actress Bonna Mirza) was acting in Prachyanat plays at that time and the troupe was looking for new faces for its upcoming production 'A Man for All Seasons'. It was then that I decided to join Prachyanat.”
Since playing Margaret in “A Man for All Seasons,” Reetu has earned a solid position in her troupe by showcasing her talent and skills. She has played female leads in the troupe's popular productions such as “Circus Circus” (as Sultana), “Koinna” (Mastura), “Rhinoceros” (Daisy) and “Punarjanmo” (Irene).
“It was a great opportunity for me to get a role like Margaret as a debutant,” she said. Reetu also performed in “Raja Ebong…Onnanno” and in the Theaterwala Repertory production “Shylock and Sycophants.” Both plays are being staged regularly at present.
Though she considers every character equally important, Reetu admits that Mastura (from “Koinna”) moved her the most and drove her to take acting seriously. She considers the character a turning point in her career. “Before Mastura I did two major roles -- Margaret and Sultana. Both were challenging and significant, considering the stories. But Mastura made me want to get under the skin of the role. The play was also educational. Before 'Koinna' I did not know about Shahajiya -- a school of thought -- path. Through Mastura, I realised that I want to be an actor,” she said.
Reetu is thankful to her family for all the encouragement. Her family has always supported her interests, she said. “Parents want to see their offspring settle into secured, comfortable lives. My parents are no different. But they have always supported me and my passion for arts.”
Reetu is of the view that an actor should try every medium. Apart from theatre, Reetu can now be seen on the small and big screen. She has already worked in a couple of feature films, including Hasibur Reza Kallol's “Ondho Nirangam” and Sadique Ahmed's “The Last Thakur.” At present she is working in Nasiruddin Yousuff's upcoming feature film “Guerrilla”.
Two TV serials -- Salahuddin Lavlu's “Swapno Bazar” (Channel i) and Murad Parvez's “Manob Jamin” (ntv) -- featuring her, are also on air at present.
With over a decade of experience, Reetu observes that Bangladeshi theatre is not technically well equipped yet to compete at the international level. She feels that theatre needs more skilled technicians. “To develop such skills we need a lot of workshops and trainings,” she said.