You have been awarded the Bangladesh Film Award for Lifetime Achievement for the year 2016. Tell us about your thoughts on that.
It is obviously a huge honor for me, but there is always a “but”. Not all the accolades in a person's life are the same. From the time I started my career, I did not think of anything except films, and I gave my all to my work. I have worked with patriotism and honesty, but what have I received in return? Nothing. Compared to how much I have worked, I did not receive much at all. What I have received is the people's love and admiration, and that has been my strength throughout all this time. This is why this award has not given me too much happiness.
Why aren't you happy with the award?
Time after time I have been thinking; what has this award given me? It just feels like salt on my previous wounds. It feels like an age-old pain has resurfaced again! Since the very beginning, I was very vocal against anything unjust and wrong. I feel like they have given me this award to subdue my voice. And they have given me this award jointly!
What are your feelings towards the fact that you have received this award jointly?
Look, this is a National Award, and there is no doubt about that. Whoever receives that, it will be a huge honor for him. I thought that it should obviously have been given to one person. Why is it being given jointly? I feel like my career has not been appreciated enough, what do I do with this award?
There is talk of nepotism when it comes to the National Award. What do you think?
No one has been a bigger victim of nepotism than me. My due respect has been taken away from me year after year. I have been calm through it all, and did not say a word. I never went against any norms. I will keep requesting the organizers to not fall victim to this kind of nepotism in the future.
You said that you have been stripped of this recognition throughout the years. Could you elaborate on that?
I have acted in films like Sujon Shokhi, Noyonmoni, Golapi Ekhon Train E, Shaheb, Jonota Express, Miyabhai, Sarong Bou, Podna Meghna Jamuna, Matir Maya, Shokhi Tumi Kar, Jhinuk Mala and many others, for which I deserved to get the award for the Best Actor. But my work has not been given the recognition it deserves. I urge the new generation to watch these films and compare them to the ones who has actually received the award.
Interviewed by Zahid Akbar