As there were consecutive hartals nationwide, we had to schedule the photo shoot with Sumaiya Shimu on a hartal afternoon. The time was fixed at 4:30pm; the location -- near Shimu's Banani residence.
Empty roads meant it didn't take much time for us to reach the destination. Shimu had told us to call her when we reach her house, and she would come down. She was ready with makeup by the time we reached Banani and made the call.
Shimu came down from her home, Golf Heights, adjacent to the Maasranga TV office, within minutes of the call. She looked angelic in a red dress. Smilingly, she asked me, “Will you be the one taking the photos?”
I told her that our photographer was waiting outside on the street. Meanwhile, many pedestrians gathered curiously when they saw the star on the road. Shimu asked where the photo session would take place, and I answered that the first phase would be on the nearby rail tracks, while another round of photos would be clicked on the newly built flyover.
We started looking for a rickshaw to head for the rail tracks, but someone else beat us to the chase. Luckily, we found a CNG three-wheeler, which rushed us to our destination in five minutes.
Disembarking from the vehicle, Shimu walked to the rail tracks. She carefully checked both ways for any oncoming trains. The pedestrians stared with amazement, as they saw a popular TV star in their midst, without any shooting crew in sight.
One pedestrian said, “Eki, uni toh nayika!” (she is an actress!). Shimu smiled at the remark. The crowd grew larger. Among the greenery on both sides of the tracks, Sumaiya in her red dress looked even more marvelous. She jokingly said, “It will be trouble if a train arrives now.”
The photographer looked around and set up his gear for the shots. Shimu also readied herself and asked me to keep a lookout for trains.
The photo session began, and many shots with different poses were taken within a few minutes. The star took breaks between shots to check her appearance in the mirror. She also viewed the snaps on the camera, once a bunch of them had been taken.
A train arrived during the shoot, and the photographer asked Shimu to stand beside the tracks to have the train as the backdrop. She was a little scared to stand so close to a moving train, but she did it anyway and several pictures were taken.
For the second round of photos, Shimu headed back home for a wardrobe change. A rickshaw was called and it took us 30 minutes to make the trip this time. She went up and changed into a pink dress.
Another rickshaw was hired to take us to the nearby flyover. During our rickshaw ride, I asked how many dramas she is currently working on. She told me that she was busy doing four serials: two new ones and the others now being aired.
The rickshaw reached the flyover. She set her hair straight, as a strong breeze ruffled them. The photographer set to work again, as the photo shoot continued till sunset. The passers-by were surprised to find the actress on the road during a hartal. When asked about the hassles of stardom, Shimu answered that she immensely enjoyed her popularity.
On the rickshaw ride back to her place, she informed me that it has been 14 years since she began working in TV dramas.
We went to her home this time, where we were greeted with sherbet and snacks in the living room. While eating, I asked her if she had any plan to tie the knot. She laughed and told me to take it easy on such questions.
The evening settled in as the adda with Sumaiya Shimu continued.