Asaduzzaman Noor and the leading ladies
It was a classic case of life imitating art. In the '90s, people brought out processions in many places of the country protesting the death sentence of a rogue with a heart of gold called Baqer. Baqer was merely a fictional character in the mega-popular TV series Kothao Keu Nei. And Baqer is just one of several powerful characters that Asaduzzaman Noor breathed life into.
Be it an arrogant yet altruistic zamindar, a professional killer or even a domestic worker, Noor's appeal is irresistible. In his illustrious career spanning almost three decades, he has been seen acting opposite generations of female co-stars, ranging from Ferdousi Majumdar, Mita Chowdhury, Dolly Zahur, Subarna Mustafa, Sara Zaker, Tarana Halim to Bipasha Hayat, Shomi Kaiser, Afsana Mimi to Tisha. He has also occasionally worked with other artistes like Shampa Reza, Rini Reza, Nipa Reza, Falguni Hamid, Keya Chowdhury, Pricilla Parveen, Nargis, Munawar Sultana, Lubna and Tisa.
In the midst of his busy schedule, Noor recently talked to The Daily Star on his female co-artistes.
"I began my career with a small role in the TV Play Rang-er Phanush (1974), directed by Abdullah Al Mamun. I have worked a lot with him since then. I hope he recovers soon.
"To be frank, I never limited myself to acting in romantic plays. My concern has always been the character. I have worked with a number of talented actresses and enjoyed working with all of them," Noor says.
Subarna Mustafa and Noor were seen together in TV plays quite frequently. Noor recalls how he first met the artiste. "I was quite close to Golam Mustafa at that time. On the set of the play Borof Gola Nadi, Mustafa Bhai brought along Subarna and introduced me to her saying, 'this is your Noor uncle. Noor, look after my daughter.' Indeed, Subarna continued referring to me as 'Noor Chacha' for a long time. I'm not sure when she started calling me bhai. As we worked together in many plays, a close relationship developed between us. Though we don't meet or get to talk often now, I can honestly say that she is a good friend of mine."
Sara Zaker has also worked with Noor in several plays, and the two continue weaving magic on screen. In Noor's words, "Sara and I began working together many years ago, mostly on stage. I think Ayomoy was one of our more memorable works on TV. One advantage of working with Sara is that we are also colleagues at Asiatic, so it is easier to manage our schedule. Our friendship also goes back a long way. In fact Sara and Aly Zaker are like family members to me. Definitely our on-screen chemistry has benefited from this relationship. Most of my recent works are with Sara and there are more in the pipeline."
Mita Chowdhury was a familiar face on the small screen in the '80s until she left the country. Noor and Mita worked in a numbers of plays together.
“Mita's elder brother was my friend, though he was one or two years junior to me. In that sense, Mita was also like my younger sister. But as I said, whatever relationship we have in reality, we come out of that and try to get into the skin of our characters when working. As Mita left the country, I lost contact with her. She has returned recently but I haven't had the chance to work with her yet. My last work with her was a one-hour TV play written by Saidul Anam Tutul and directed by Mannan Hira. I can't remember the name exactly; it was aired few years ago. The play featured only the two of us; I found it quite challenging."
Noor does not have anything negative to say about his co-stars. "All of them are very talented, professional and meticulous. Each has a sound theatre background and the art seems inherent in them. In our time, we used to rehearse for days together for each play. There was a lot of interaction between us, so the teamwork was strong. We had the seriousness, the commitment to make each performance perfect. It is a great privilege to work with all of them.”
When Bipasha Hayat first acted opposite Noor in the series Ayomoy, she was much younger and a newcomer. Later, Bipasha and Noor were again paired up in the film Aguner Poroshmoni by Humayun Ahmed.
“I even was invited to Bipasha's parents' marriage. She was born in 1971, when I was involved in the Liberation War. Otherwise, I probably would've been there when she was born,” Noor smilingly says. “Bipasha is an extremely talented artiste, but she is not working much now. I think she should become regular as an actress again,” he added.
Noor has his qualms about the present situation of the cultural scene. “Nowadays we don't often get the chance to get acquainted with our co-stars. Yes, there are many talented actors now, but they don't have enough time to concentrate on each role, as they are tremendously busy. Of course, some do manage to excel despite these limitations.”