Documentary on Nasir Ali Mamun | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 01, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 01, 2009

Documentary on Nasir Ali Mamun


“In 1972, I introduced portrait photography in Bangladesh. I work with famous people from different backgrounds. I try to capture their mood, personality, characteristics and feelings in my camera,” said Nasir Ali Mamun in an interview following a documentary titled “Poet of Camera”. The documentary's director, photographer and interviewer is Monjurul Azim Palash, a London- based Bangladeshi filmmaker. The documentary was screened at Short Film Forum Auditorium, Aziz Super Market, recently. The DVD was unveiled by noted Professor Kabir Chowdhury. The documentary was shot in different locations of East London, especially the bustling Brick Lane.
“In the first six years of my career, I did not have a personal camera. I couldn't muster even Taka 500 to buy a camera. My work is the combination of my subject's chemistry with my own chemistry. My pain, agony, longing, yearning got mixed up with the pain of my subjects. That's why my work is so dark and so painful. It all came spontaneously. I didn't do it intentionally,” said Nasir Ali Mamun.
An interesting part of the documentary is a short conversation between poet Stephen Watts with Nasir Ali Mamun. At one stage the duo exchanged notes on SM Sultan and some other global personalities.
Nasir Ali Mamun was born in Dhaka in 1953. He embarked on his journey just after the Liberation War. “I became close to the key members of the 1952 Language Movement. At that time, most of them were alive, like Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Comrade Moni Singh, K.M. Ilias, Abdur Rashid Tarkabagish, Ataur Rahman Khan, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Tajuddin Ahmed," he said.
Mamun has to his credit a number of publications on poet Jasimuddin, artist SM Sultan, poet Shamsur Rahman, essayist Ahmed Sofa and German Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass. “Jasimuddin is not only a folk poet, but also an urban poet,” said Mamun. In the documentary, he focuses on Dr. Yunus and his current venture on him. “I met Yunus in 1978 at Chittagong University. I am currently working on an album on him as well. I am hoping to publish this by 2009.”
Nasir talked about his museum- he calls it “Photoseum”- in the 20- minute documentary. “I don't know of any museum in the subcontinent which is dedicated to portrait photography. Photoseum is a combination of photography and a museum. While shooting portraits, I kept collecting paraphernalia relating to famous people. I hope that the museum will be ready by 2010.”

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