She wanted to be doctor, but ended up being a top model. Now filmmakers are queuing up to sign her for their projects. Dilruba Yasmeen Ruhee is not just another ramp model who happens to be working on some big-deal movies. She is bursting into celluloid screens in 2014 through high quality films. The movies she is working on are about to shake the industry, and bring the audience at cinema halls what they all crave - novelty.
INTO BOOKS AND PATTERNS
When I was young, I was kind of a bookworm. I studied science in high school and wanted to a doctor, but soon realized that it won't allow me enough space to explore myself. I shifted my studies to Economics; in the meantime, my passion led me to take short courses in fashion designing. I never thought that I would become a model. I was very good at drawing, especially at drawing patterns. Neighbors used come to me for designing their clothes – that was when I was in class 6/7. Since the age of 16 till now, I design my own clothes – it is really satisfying!
INTO RAMP MODELING
I started modeling at the end of 2006. From the very beginning of my modeling career, I was as busy as any other supermodel. Banglar Mela was my first work. I clearly remember the date of my first shoot – it was in 2006, March 23. From then on, I hardly found any spare time. Within two years, I worked for almost all renowned companies. My first TVC was of Parachute hair oil, made by Amitabh Reza. I was also cast in Grameenphone Xplore's advertisement, made by Abed Maullick. Another one of my well appreciated works is the one for Diamond world jewelry, made by Sohel Arman.
INTO THE SMALL SCREEN
During the busy period of ramp modeling, many movie and TV directors and producers were knocking at my door. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any role that felt I can connect to. Most characters offered did not have any real message or value. I didn't want to be part of those dramas where only the dark side of society is portrayed. I am sure I annoyed many people with refusals to work with them. But, there were a few that I couldn't turn down. My first TV drama was Rabindranath's 'Oporichita', directed by Ahmed Sushmoy. Another drama I starred in was 'Obogunthon', about a female entrepreneur, written by Monju Sarkar and directed by Giasuddin Selim. I was the lead role as Gulbahar, a woman with two children. I had to gain 12kg for the role. Another production I performed in for TV was 'Shondha' by Gisauddin Selim, where I play a NGO worker. Also, I worked with renowned director Abu Sayeed in a drama titled 'Jonmo Amar' which was inspired Liberation war and patriotism. All my characters roles meant something for society. My priority was to work with great directors and projects which had a real message.
INTO MOVIES, KOLKATA STYLE
Most Bangladeshi directors shrugged me off saying that I was too skinny for the roles I was interested in. They needed to be fleshier. It was a surprise, since the whole world wants slim actors. I was almost sure that I would never be able to work in the Bangladeshi film industry. Fortunately, Kolkata was calling. My first film I signed for was a Kolkata based film. For various reasons the work has been delayed. With Parambrata Chatterjee, I will start working for two projects named 'Sporsho' and 'Glamour'. I have a few more projects at hand but none I can disclose right now!
INTO MOVIES, DHAKA STYLE
Like I said, I thought Bangladesh film industry is not for me, until British-Bangladeshi director Munsur Ali approached me with a brilliant script. It was related to our Bengali identity and Liberation war. The story touched me. It is truly an international film, called 'Shongram-The Movie'. Hopefully, the film will be released in March 2014. The music album of the film has been released in December 2013.
Another one of my films is 'Mayanagar', directed by Shanti Chowdhury. The story is built around the tension between a woman's relationship and her career. Here, my character 'Roma', is an international supermodel who owns a modeling agency where she grooms upcoming models. I think the storyline is of an international standard. I am saying so because Vogue Magazine often tosses life-changing offers to poor women to be featured on their cover. The story relates to such an initiative. And Vogue itself is involved in the project! The final portion of filming should be done by December 2013.
My third movie is 'Zero Degree', being made by Animesh Aich. My co-stars are Mahfuz Ahmed and Jaya Ahsan. You may call Zero Degree a Mumbai-style mixed-masala movie – it is a blend of different emotions and actions. My character is a combination of a corporate achiever, a lover, a junkie and a murderer. I love this role! A role of so many dimensions!
I am working with another British-Bangladeshi Director, Aminul Islam Bappi, in a movie called 'Three Illegal', which is about those who go abroad for a better life though illegal means. My character, 'Afsana' helps illegal immigrants find ways to become legal. I find the movie to be socially important because it will help raise awareness about going to foreign lands using illegal means.
Though I am working on another movie directed by Wahiduzzaman Diamond, I must keep the name of the movie a secret!
So far, four of my Bangladeshi films are either complete or will be complete in a matter of months, and three to four more are in the pipeline. If I am to continue working in the industry, I want to create my own identity. It is not simply about becoming an actress or heroine, rather, it is about the audience seeing me as a personality, accepting the identity I am trying to create and expecting something different from me.
THE INDUSTRY, DHAKA VS KOLKATA
The working environment in Dhaka is lot less professional than it is of Kolkata. They maintain a strict schedule. In Kolkata, if for some reason the schedule is extended, artists and staff are to be requested with extra payment. There, I can tell my director that I will give you 20 days, but in Dhaka film industry, you can't. Here, many directors think schedule is unlimited, and the actor's time is not properly valued. A lot of money is being invested in Bangladeshi productions, but because of time mismanagement and the lack of respect towards artists, we are lagging behind.
SHONGRAM, RUHEE'S FIRST RELSEASE
My first movie to be released is 'Shongram-The Movie'. As an international movie, it will be jointly released in USA, UK, Singapore and Malaysia. In the film, a daring English reporter speaks to an old freedom fighter, who reveals his past and involvement during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation struggle. We have grand plans with this movie. We may be able to take the movie to Cannes, academy awards or many other film festivals. Dubbed in both Bangla and English, the film also has stars like famed actor Anupam Kher and international star 'Asia Argento' (who starred in The Phantom of the Opera and xXx). Although we wanted to have the movie released on December 16, 2013, we had to push it back to hit the screens on March 26, 2014.
FUTURE PLANS AND CHARITY
Along with my business, my dream is to do charity work. The advantage of being a star is having a wide network of diverse people – we can arrange events and fundraisers for charities. For example, if I organize an event, almost half of the profit will go to the poor of the society. I have a big dream of producing a drama myself, from my production house. It will be about ramp models and their goals and activities, and a script has already been prepared. It will be called 'Gontobbo'.
ARE ALL MODELS BAD APPLES?
I want to clear any misconceptions regarding ramp models. Admittedly, some preconceived notions are true. At a young age, many models go wild and crazy with new-found wealth and fame. They get caught up in ill lifestyles, and need proper guidance to stay on the right path. It is very easy to be misguided in this industry. Don't get me wrong, I am not against having fun - but there are fine lines which should not be crossed, so that one doesn't go astray. At the end of the day, it not always true that one bad apple spoils the barrel.
CHIT CHAT WITH RUHEE
The project with Wahiduzzaman Diamond will be a great challenge for me. I will be playing a character of a poor woman with dark complexion. I never played a very poor character before.
My company has four concerns: Ruhee Brand, Ruhee & Style, Ruhee 25 Events & Productions and Kacher Manush.
Once a fan sent me a pile of poetry to me. To be honest, I liked it. I hope to see some more fans writing poems for me as I become more famous!
I am crazy for Prosenjit. Although there is an age gap between us, I would love to work with 'Omor Shongi' famed Prosenjit.