Paeans to Ataur Rahman
Mancha Sarathi Ataur Rahman Karma-Udjapan Parishad arranged a programme on June 18 to celebrate the 72nd birthday of veteran theatre personality Ataur Rahman. Cultural activists greeted Rahman with bouquets and gifts on this special occasion organised at the Seminar Room, National Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Prior to the programme, a one-minute silence was observed to mourn the passing away of veteran media personality and playwright Atiqul Haque Chowdhury and poet, critic, academic Professor Khondakar Ashraf Hossain.
To start with, noted playwright Syed Shamsul Haq read out a speech, titled “Amar Natok: Ataur-er Kaaj”. He cited several common creative aspects and personal anecdotes about Syed Shamsul Haq and himself. Haq also lauded Rahman's achievements during the evolution of Bangladeshi theatre.
“A play is not solely the brainchild of a playwright whose pen just helps form an embryo; a director truly gives birth to it. Ataur Rahman has brought plays written by me on to the Bangladeshi stage in rapid succession,” said Syed Haq.
In a lighter vein, president of International Theatre Institute (worldwide) Ramendu Majumdar said, “All great personalities such as Ataur Rahman and my wife (Ferdausi Majumdar) were born on the same day. Ataur Rahman loves to teach. He has been teaching in Theatre school since its inception. Personal life and time is very enjoyable with Rahman.
Seasoned actress Lucky Inam said, “Today is really a great day; many theatre activists have come together to celebrate Ata Bhai's (Ataur Rahman) birth anniversary. Ata Bhai has the outstanding quality of easily communicating with everyone involved in a theatre production.”
Professor Shafi Ahmed said, “If someone exclusively comprehends Rabindranath Tagore thorough ceaseless study and analysis in Bangladesh, it is Ataur Rahman. He is the best among the very few who have brought Tagore plays on stage as Tagore did.”
Writer Anwara Syed Haq; BTV director general M Hamid; Professor Abdus Selim; actor Keramat Mawla; light designer Nasirul Haque Khokon and Swapnadal chief Zahid Ripon also spoke at the first half of the programme.
Ataur Rahman along with his wife cut a birthday cake later. Theatre activists presented a portrait of Rahman to him by artist Biplob Sarkar. A short documentary featuring the life and works of Ataur Rahman was screened at the venue. Different theatre troupes, cultural organisations, artistes, activists and noted personalities also greeted Rahman with bouquets at the event.
Born in Noakhali in 1941, Ataur Rahman has the rare ability to celebrate life from every aspect. He completed his Masters in Soil Science from Dhaka University in 1965. Founder general secretary of Nagarik Natya Shampraday, Rahman is an honourable member of Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation, where he previously served as chairman.
Apart from his organisational skills, Rahman is equally successful as a director and an actor. He has directed over 30 plays for his troupe and for different troupes and organisations. His directorial works “Galileo”, “Payer Awaj Pawa Jaye”, “Irsha”, “Rakto Karobi”, “Opekkhoman”, “Banglar Mati Banglar Jol” (Palakar production) and “Narigon” have been lauded by the audience and critics. Ataur Rahman has received a number of prestigious awards, including Shaheed Munier Chowdhury Award and Ekushey Padak.