Mahfuz Ahmed, a National Film Award winner and one of the most popular TV actors in the country, has also earned acclaim for his directorial skills. His wife Ishrat Jahan Quader studied at the University of Sydney, completed her masters from University of Melbourne and is currently working as senior lecturer at the Independent University of Bangladesh. The couple recently spoke to The Daily Star (TDS):
TDS: How did you two meet?
Mahfuz: I used to be a journalist and met Ishrat's father through work. Her father is GM Quader, civil aviation and tourism minister. I was assigned to interview HM Ershad. Ershad was in jail at the time. I pursued GM Quader for an interview with Ershad. The initial meeting led way to a good relationship with him. I eventually met Ishrat, became good friends and finally, we tied the knot.
TDS: Was the wedding arranged on a family level?
Ishrat: Everything was arranged on a family level. We went along with what our families wished.
TDS: Do you have quarrels?
Mahfuz: At any given time every other couple goes through some disagreement. But we never have what you can call a real “quarrel”.
TDS: How do you deal when you feel under the weather?
Mahfuz: I stay silent when I'm stressed out. I've even spent entire days without uttering a single word. Truth be told, people will not know me in entirety if they don't know me for long. The outside world knows me as a loud, fun loving person. But in reality I prefer being left to myself. I can stay silent in times of extreme happiness and also in great sorrow.
Ishrat: My joys and sorrows are very transparent. Whenever I'm in a bad mood, I can't but help express it.
TDS: How do you celebrate your wedding anniversaries?
Mahfuz: My wife is the first to wish me. Sometimes even if I forget special occasions thanks to my hectic schedule, and I admit this is not a good thing. But we do try to spend the day together.
Ishrat: We try to go outside the city on the special day, but it doesn't have to be outside the country. We celebrated our first anniversary in Indonesia.
TDS: Do you watch movies together?
Ishrat: We have marathon movie sessions. We watched three films back-to-back in Melbourne.
Mahfuz: We also watched movies together in Sydney. My busy schedule gives me little scope to stay updated about which are the popular movies of the time and which actors are performing well. But my wife fills that void, as she knows every detail about all the films that have been released. I've never met someone who watches as many movies as my wife. She is not only a great movie buff, but also an avid reader. Whenever the two of us are free, we watch movies and also listen to music.
TDS: Who are your favourite Bangladeshi actors?
Ishrat: I like performances by Humayun Faridee. Among the actors of the past, Razzaq is my favourite. Suborna Mustafa, Shomi Kaiser, Tarin and Sumaiya Shimu are among my favourite actresses.
Mahfuz: I have many favourites. I can't name them all.
TDS: Do you shop much?
Ishrat: Mahfuz likes to shop a lot. Once he steps into a mall, he takes an entire day to finish his shopping. He has a quality found rarely in men: brilliant shopping skills.
Mahfuz: I think I'm quite knowledgeable on men's clothing. My wife also likes the clothes I choose for her.