The Queen of Dhaliwood returns | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 05, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 05, 2012

The Queen of Dhaliwood returns

In conversation with Shabnur

Photo Courtesy: Tuhin Hossain

Since her arrival in films in 1993, Shabnur has taken giant strides to cement a niche in the hearts of Bangladeshi movie-goers. The length of her stay at the popularity zenith, in fact, stays uncontested till date. The talented actress received the prestigious National Film Award for her performance, along with 10 Meril Prothom Alo Puroshkar as the best actress. After a year-long break, two new Shabnur movies were released this month, and the actress talked to The Daily Star about her latest and past endeavours.
You have been holding the spot of the top movie actress in the country for years. How did you accomplish this?
Shabnur: I am an actress who is completely dedicated to her work. When I stand in front of a camera, there's nothing else in my mind. I must have done some good work that has brought me closer to the audience. And it is up to everyone else to decide whether I'm the most popular.
Have you ever been nervous in front of the camera?
Shabnur: No. I've always been spontaneous in front of the camera. So when shooting begins, I don't feel jittery.
What is your response to the announcement that cinema should be considered an 'industry'?
Shabnur: The Prime Minister made the announcement at the latest National Film Award ceremony. It is a positive news for our cinema. But we would also expect to see the announcement being realised.
As an artiste, do you think that FDC should be modernised?
Shabnur: If FDC is really modernised, then our film industry will turn around. The audience gets blurred pictures and distorted sounds when they go to watch films at cinema halls now. Nobody should pay to watch out-of-focus images. That is why I believe that FDC should be modernised.
Why did it take a year to get two of your latest movies get released?
Shabnur: Truth be told, the long hiatus was my own choice. I was not in the country for eight/nine months. On my return, I began working on new projects, while I don't have many old projects on hand at the moment. That is why it took me a year to come up with new releases.
How do you view the double release in the same month?
Shabnur: I still don't know if the movies are being released on the same date. But I'm against such a thing, as it hurts business. If a movie suffers losses, the blame also partly falls on the performers.
Tell us about the two new movies.
Shabnur: I star opposite Rashed in “Bhalobasha Saint Martin-e”, a movie directed by Shahidul Islam Khokon. It has a unique plot. The other movie is MM Sarker's “Attogopon”, an action movie where Zayed Khan plays opposite me.
What is your experience with the rookie actors?
Shabnur: We must welcome the newcomers, or else new blood will never be able to rise on the scene. We were also rookies in the past. If new actors are not created, then the entire film industry will remain stalled. Other newcomers who I have worked with include Nirob, Emon and Zaman. All of them are doing great.
Why are new movies not becoming commercially successful as before? What is your opinion on the frequent closure of cinema halls?
Shabnur: The film industry is passing through a very dark time. But I'm hopeful that the shadow will pass soon. However, new artistes, directors and producers will have to step up their efforts to bring forward the change. Only then will our films make a turnabout.
You are also set to emerge as a film director?
Shabnur: Yes. I'm gearing up to become a director. I had also fixed a name for my debut effort, but will now change the title. But I hope that audience will soon find me as a director.
Outside your work in the movies, you recently opened a school. Tell us more about it.
Shabnur: I set up Sydney International School in Baridhara, Dhaka last year. It's a joint venture by Bangladesh and Australia. I act as an advisor for the school. It began admitting students this January. Apart from local teachers, the school also has several Australian teachers.
You had been living for a while in Australia. Do you plan on becoming a permanent resident there?
Shabnur: My sister lives in Australia, so whenever I get the chance, I visit her and stay for while. This time around, I stayed longer than usual. But I'm not becoming a permanent resident in Australia. If there were any plans, you would know. Australia is a beautiful country, but my country is also beautiful to me.
There are rumours that you got married in Australia. Is there any truth to it?
Shabnur: Not at all. When I get married, I'll have a grand ceremony. After working for so long in the media, how can it be that I will not let anyone know about my wedding?

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