Rafi Hossain: Fans regard you as a great film hero, and they expect to see you in many films. Sadly, you don’t do projects frequently. Why is that?
Arifin Shuvoo: Acting is my profession, and I don’t do anything other than acting. I am always very eager to do more projects. But, the reason I don’t work on many projects is that I see a lot of films with conventional plotlines. If I don’t believe in the story myself, how can I make the audience believe it? That is why, I have to reject many offers I receive. There have also been instances where I have taken on a project, even though I didn’t believe in the script. But, at the end of the day, those didn’t work out. It was never in my plans to reach a level where I am regarded as the biggest film hero. I am happy with where I am right now. At the end of the day, success to me isn’t whether my movie is a hit or a flop, it’s whether or not I gave it my all.
Rafi: Are you positive about the state of the industry?
Shuvoo: Yes, I am. People live with hope, and since this is the only thing I do, I have to remain positive. On the bright side, nowadays, due to the internet, our horizon has broadened a lot. The artists in Kolkata work for us and the artists we have here work for them. This is really easy for us as the language is the same. I believe that next year, I will be working in an Indian production again.
Rafi: You said that you’re receiving a lot of positive feedback from the project you did in Tollywood. Filmmakers there must be interested in signing you up for projects. If you want to broaden your horizon, I think that you should work on projects there.
Shuvoo: Absolutely. You only have one lifetime to try out different things. It’s pointless if someone gives up without even trying. Thomas Alva Edison experimented numerous times to invent the lightbulb. If he gave up after trying a couple of times, he wouldn’t have been able to do it.
Rafi: Are you interested in doing projects on web-platforms?
Shuvoo: Yes, I’m very interested. If you look at all the top actors around the world, they’re all doing web projects. I want to do the same, but I haven’t got any good offers yet. It’s the same problem I have with many movies I’m offered; the script isn’t up to par. I want my first web project to be really great. That is why I haven’t taken on any of them yet.
Rafi: Actors often hear rumours about themselves. How do you handle the rumours about you?
Shuvoo: I really don’t handle them. Personally, I’m very detached from everything, and I don’t pay heed to any rumour. As an artist, my job is to observe human beings. The other thing that I have to do is constantly improve and pay attention to my work. Aside from my personal life, whatever people say is nothing more than a distraction to me.
Rafi: If a scandal gets to such a level that it starts knocking on your door, what will you do?
Shuvoo: I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. Even if it does, I won’t respond. I feel that the best course of action is to stay quiet. We work in the showbiz industry. It’s obvious that people will talk about you and spread rumours about you that are completely fabricated.
Rafi: Recently, there has been some gossip about what happened between you and a colleague of yours which has affected her personal life. You must have heard of that, am I correct?
Shuvoo: No, I haven’t. The thing is, for the past four months, I haven’t used Facebook. So, I don’t know about any gossip. I only have a Facebook page, which I use to update fans about my work. The thing is, I find rumours like this very funny. Let me tell you a story. I’m very good friends with a colleague of mine, but I won’t mention her name for the sake of privacy. Our philosophy really matched, so we used to have a lot of fun on set. After seeing that, people started gossiping. She’s a very good friend of mine, but she’s actually closer to my wife. People are saying that I’m having an affair with her, but honestly, she’s just like a family friend.
Rafi: Sometimes, it may happen that when you work with someone, the onscreen romance may lead to real life affection. What is your take on this?
Shuvoo: That will happen if you can’t balance your life properly. While acting, you have to believe that you love the person with all your heart, but if that love comes to life offscreen, it’ll ruin the onscreen chemistry and also professional relations. I believe that some pairs have really good chemistry together, but it’s not neccessary that you need to have a relationship with someone to have good chemistry.
Rafi: What do you think needs to be done to make our film industry more active?
Shuvoo: Many people answer this question by saying that we don’t have audiences that go to movie theatres. We do have audiences; just look at the amount of people that go to watch any Hollywood movie in theatres. Many investors are scared to invest because they think that people won’t watch the movies in theatres. The thing is, we really lack cinema halls. If we can build more cinema halls all over the country, instead of just making multiple ones across Dhaka, our industry will really change. Another thing is, to make our industry more active, we need new talents. If we have more new faces, it can take the industry to greater heights. I think that in five years time, our industry will improve drastically.
Rafi: Thank you, Shuvoo. It was a pleasure talking to you. Do you have any parting message for the readers?
Shuvoo: I would like to thank The Daily Star for always supporting me in whatever film I did. My new film is called Shapludu, and it’s in theatres now. I hope all of you go and watch it. We worked very hard for this project, and hope that you all will enjoy it.
Transcribed by Ridwan Intisaar Mahbub