Golam Mustafa: Father extraordinaire
It has been years since acclaimed actor and poetry reciter Golam Mustafa passed away. But he left golden memories that will continue to be cherished by his admirers and close ones. On Father's Day, his daughter Suborna Mustafa -- an acclaimed actress herself -- shared moments and memories of her father with The Daily Star.
“I have so many memories of my father. They all blend together and it's hard to organise my thoughts. He was not only my Baba, he was an acclaimed and renowned artiste of the country.
“ I have vivid early memories of my father. I remember that on visits to the doctor, he would carry me in his arms and keep me distracted by buying me ice cream or comics.
“I also have a terrifying memory. It was September 1965, and the India-Pakistan war was on. Baba was in West Pakistan at the time to work on a cinema, and we lost all contact with him during the war. We had no information about him. It was a very tense time for our family, and that fear about Baba also affected me.
“Baba took me to the TV Bhaban in 1975, where Abdullah Al Mamun offered me an acting assignment. After that, I worked in “Borof Gola Nodi”. Right around that time, Al Mansur also offered me a theatre role, and I made my stage debut through “Jaundice O Bibidho Balloon”.
“Baba saw my performance and cryptically said,“Bhalo Hoyeche” (it was good). Later, he gave me a crucial advice in a sentence --“Continue acting only if you enjoy it.”
“But I think Baba was more enthusiastic about poetry recitation than acting. Whenever I imagine his face, I picture him with a book in his hand. Reciting poetry was his passion.
“Whenever he had any leisure time, we would hear his magical recitations. He even recited poems or read out dialogues from plays when he was walking to the dining table to have lunch. He loved all sorts of poetry, but I think works by Sudhindranath Dutta and TS Eliot were his favourites.
“Baba was also an avid reader of novels and short stories. Baba's nickname was Chand. He was a humble, gentle and generous person.
“During the Liberation War, Baba became suspect in the eyes of the Pakistan military as he used to travel around in trucks to give performances throughout the turbulent times of 1969-1971. So Baba stayed in the house all day, pacing tensely in a dressing gown. He had his favourite small pistol in the pocket of his gown. Later, he gave the pistol to a freedom fighter.
“Baba loved to chat and have addas. He enjoyed certain luxuries and was a keen food enthusiast.
“Among the plays featuring Baba, my favourites are “Bishubrikhha”, “Mukhora Romoni'r Boshikoron (an adaptation of Shakespeare's “Taming of the Shrew”), “Grihodaho”, “Borodidi”, “Jaminir Shesh Sanglap”, “Nil Komol” etc.
“I believe that Baba had the uncanny ability to portray any role that was placed in front of him. He didn't need more than ten seconds to get under the skin of the character he was playing. Those who watched Baba in films said that he could pull off amazing performances.
“Even if the plot, character, theme or appearance was not believable, Baba had the skills to make it all seem credible.”