The young Amanul Haque loved music; he aspired to be a singer! A Serajganj native, he was training under Guru Dinesh Chandra Malakar. An avid cricket player, Amanul was also a delegate from East Pakistan to Karachi (erstwhile West Pakistan), to the National Cricket Training (1959). At the closing ceremony, he sang in the variety show, where he watched the dance performance of Ghanashyam Das Lakshman Bijoy and his wife Nileema. It was a turning point: Amanul fell in love with dance! He decided not to return to East Pakistan. Instead he began learning from the couple Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi and Manipuri dance forms. He also took Kathak dance lessons from Ustad Ghulam Hussain.
Amanul's vision was filled with the images of the great dancer Bulbul Chowdhury. Ambition gripped his spirit so completely that he stayed in Karachi for six years. He taught (dance and music) in three schools. In 1963, he joined the then Industrial Development Bank while continuing his practice of music and dance.
When Karachi TV started in 1964, Amanul appeared as a dancer. He was also the first East Pakistani to dance at Karachi TV later on. He danced along with his Guru Ghanashyam. In the same year, he became the dance director of his debut film titled 'Neela Parbat'.
In 1966, he was transferred to Dhaka and joined Ustad Barin Majumdar's music college. My mother Husne Ara Kamal was a philosophy professor at the college. I often went to pick up my mother after school. While I waited, I watched Amanul give dance lessons. That year, he directed an Urdu movie named 'Tum mere ho'. Shortly thereafter he joined a cultural organization Kranti, where he choreographed dance dramas about the 'People's Culture'. In February 1967, he staged the dance drama titled 'Jolche agun khete khamare'. On 11th June 1972, the Bangladesh Awami League staged his dance drama at the Jonaki Cinema Hall in Dhaka. The Bangabandhu was the Chief Guest. The Special Guest for the night was Siddharta Sankar Ray, the Chief Minister of West Bengal. In November 1972, in honour of the Julio Curie Award received by the Bangabandhu, Amanul Haque staged his dance drama 'Bangladesher Muktijudho'.
In rapid succession he produced, directed, wrote scripts and composed the music for his dance dramas such as 'Mukhi matara', 'Kaberi Teere', 'Kushumer Shopno', 'BIkhubdho 7 June', 'Battle of Bangladesh', 'Ei desh ei mati amar'. He was always involved with progressive ideas and sought to free his people from injustice. Amanul lived and breathed freedom, channelling his creative energies to produce inspirational dance dramas that highlighted the common man's dream.
Throughout his long artistic career Amanul has received many awards, such as 'BACHSHASH AWARD' for composition of music for movies by Sheikh Niyamat Ali, titled 'Dahan' and 'Annyajeebon', as well as the Shanta Marium University Award, Nrittyadhara Award, Benuka Sangeet Academy Award, Bulbul Chowdhury Award, and Shilpa Kala Award 2013.
This year, Amanul was the proud recipient of the Ekushey Award. It is a national recognition of his dedication to combining his creative arts: music, dance, choreography, lyric writing, tuning and directing for the cause of liberation and to championing the dream of the have-nots.
Kudos to Amanul Haque!
The author is an academic,
Nazrul exponent and writer.