Masum Aziz's fans will agree that the actor is a master at performing challenging roles that are out of the ordinary. The talented star has also appeared on the silver screen and been recognised with a national film award for his performance.
Aziz-- a veteran stage actor with three decades experience recently spoke to the correspondent on the media scenario and his busy career.
What is your opinion of the current media scenario?
Masum Aziz: The first observation would be that there are plenty of channels, but a shortage of artistes. As a result, the performers are overburdened with work.
When there is the issue of filling time slots for so many channels, there is little room for an artiste to sift out the good and bad projects. This is a cause of frustration for us. In the past year- and -a -half, I haven't had a chance to play a role which totally fascinated me. It is very tiring and the fun part is somewhat missing. In the past, there were plenty of opportunities to think about a character. How many good playwrights are active now? Those of us who enjoyed the art of acting are now frustrated with the whole scene.
Can you single out some of the acting assignments you loved doing?
Masum Aziz: It felt good working in the movie “Gohine Shobdo'” It was also enjoyable to work in films like “Ghani”. I liked working in dramas like “Ekjon Aynal Loshkor”, “Ure Jae Bok Pokkhi” etc. If we get a good character the whole task becomes enjoyable and we give our best efforts. We are hungry for a good play.
You seem completely disillusioned with the media scenario.
Masum Aziz: No, I still have hopes. New artistes must be created. But with every high tide, some garbage also enters the water. We will eventually get clear water. I sometimes say that the house is ours and a few guests come and go every now and then. The guests stay for one or two years, and then they leave. We remain at the house as it is ours. Those who worked hard in theatre for years, are here to stay in the media. This is why I'm not completely disappointed. If we ourselves give up hope, then everything will collapse.
Are you satisfied with your own achievements?
Masum Aziz: I never worry about how I'm being assessed. I have come by all the recognition I could have hoped for. I am not hungry for appreciation. I've gained the love of a large audience and keep receiving that influx of admiration. My showcase has many awards, including the national film awards. So I am very happy with what I have achieved.
The remuneration of artistes has increased and so have their assignments but has the level of professionalism improved?
Masum Aziz: I think we still lack that. If I speak for myself, I can say that I am totally professional about my work. But this is an age of commercialisation. It shouldn't be like this. When a shooting call is at 10, I try my best to be punctual. As long as the director wants me to, I try to stay at the site. Those who know me can say that my cell phone has never rung during shooting. My contemporaries and I still have some professionalism left.
How did you step into the world of acting?
Masum Aziz: My mother used to hum songs. My father was a police officer, but a great admirer of music. He played the flute quite well. My siblings and I all practiced singing a little. So I grew up in a favourable environment. While studying at the Chittagong University, I got the opportunity to do the background music for a play. Shafi Kamal was supposed to play a character, but I stepped in when he failed. I also received the best actor award after performing at the university. I developed a passion for acting from then on. I arrived in Dhaka in 1976 and sought jobs for two years before joining Dhaka Podatik. Since then I have been with Dhaka Podatik and have nurtured and built up the group.