ATTAINING BOYHOOD DESIRES
I always dreamed of somehow establishing myself in the world of cinema. I watched a film, Sagarika, for the first time when I was in fourth grade. I watched it with my uncle in Picture Palace hall in Khulna. When I told him that I wanted to be associated with cinema, he discouraged me since that required a lot of money. Being a very stubborn child, I set my goals straight: be associated with cinema, no matter what the cost. During my college years, my friends and classmates also used to make fun of my dream, but it did little to sway me. I prayed to Allah to make my dream come true, and it did.
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
I was beyond excited when I made my first film. However, that took a turn for the worse. Two cine-journalism newspapers, Chitrali and Pubali used to publish interviews of directors whose films got released. I had a dream that I would be interviewed for that section after my first film’s release. I even thought about what I would say in the interview beforehand; I rehearsed the answers in my head. However, the day of the interview never came. The film got released without the director’s interview, which upset me then. I was heartbroken. I’ve made forty-nine films till date. I’ve had to face many difficulties to be where I am today. I have received recognition and a tremendous amount of love and appreciation. I’ve won eight national film awards, three international film awards, and even took my films to five international film festivals.
TAKING A STAND
When I used to assist Momtaz Ali, there was this one incident where we were shooting a scene of a music video in a zoo. All the artists kept their shoes together, and actor Kobita asked me to bring her after the shoot. That didn’t go down well with me. I didn’t bring her shoes, which made her furious. She even complained to Momtaz bhai. When I explained the situation to him, he explained to Kobita how I am his assistant and an educated man; my job wasn’t to bring her shoes to her. After that incident, Kobita respected me a lot. I’m incredibly grateful to Momtaz bhai for everything that he has done for me.
Cinema was my true inspiration; I used to gain inspiration from watching films. I lived in Gopalganj, so there weren’t many facilities to watch films there. However, I used to attend Jatra performances, and was an avid television watcher. I also used to act in school plays. Even in college, I was selected for a play which was performed in different villages. This is how I slowly carved my path to my dream. I am a very realistic individual. When I came closer to films, I realised that my look would not work as an actor. Film actors require glamour, which I didn’t possess. So, I decided to become a director instead. The people of my area also inspired me; they used to praise my acting. After stepping foot into cinema, Momtaz Ali and Alamgir Kabir inspired and encouraged me.
Interviewed by Robiul Kamal
Transcribed by Amina Hossain