Rafi Hossain: Welcome to Uncensored with Rafi Hossain. Today, we are joined by Tony Dias. Even though you came to Bangladesh for such a short period, you still made time for us. Thank you for that, Tony. What made you come visit Bangladesh?
Tony Dias: Friendship plays a pivotal role in my life. I keep my friends immediately after my family. Without their support, I would've never been able to reach this height of success. When I started doing plays, reciting poems on the radio or when I started doing plays with Nagorik at Bailey road, my friends would support me. They never let me feel like I wasn't supported. Since they play such a huge part in my life, it's hard to stay without them for too long. That's why I came here, even if it's for a short time.
Rafi: It has been eleven years since you moved to the US. You moved there right when you were at the peak of your career. Was it very difficult to stay away from the showbiz industry?
Tony: It was very difficult. Any form of art is very dear to me, especially acting. I could even say that it is in my blood as my ancestors would travel around and do plays during the British ruling. Ever since I was a child, I had a love for acting. My parents never told me to act; it was something that I just wanted to do. So, it was very difficult to move away from it. But, I value family more than anything, for which I took the decision to move away. Another thing is, it's easy to reach the pinnacle of our showbiz industry without working for too long, but once you reach there, going past that is incredibly difficult. Our industry lacks good stories which are not repetitive. As a result, acting becomes exhausting. Our industry still hasn't been able to develop much. Even now, the storylines are the same. The films don't get proper budgets, people aren't trained to do the work properly, and overall, the whole industry needs a massive revamp.
Rafi: Do you think that you wouldn't have been able to achieve more if you had stayed?
Tony: Yes, I think I wouldn't have been able to achieve much more. I was getting older, but wasn't getting better stories or roles. People weren't watching our films. Instead, they were more interested in watching foreign ones. I was unhappy with the work that I was getting, so it was best for me to leave as I didn't see a future for myself here.
Rafi: Where do you see yourself in ten-years-time?
Tony: I cannot think of doing anything other than films. I might even do films in US if I can get good roles. I don't want to do many projects; I would even be happy to come and do some projects here. I don't need to do hundreds of projects a year. I am happy to do maybe just three or four.
Rafi: What does friendship exactly mean to you?
Tony: My friend circle is very diverse. We have remained friends for over forty years now, and during this time, we have always stood by each other. If anyone is going through any issue, all of us have stepped forward to help them. We also have a common fund in case someone from the circle is in need. Friendship is a very important thing for me. For friends, you have to learn to compromise and be understanding. Even though I don't get to see them often, we still keep contact through social media platforms. Without social media, I think that it would have been harder to maintain friendships as they make you feel like you are much closer to each other even if you haven't seen each other in a long time.
Rafi: I heard that your daughter is studying acting in university. Have you had a hand in that?
Tony: Like I said, I have acting in my blood. That's why it may be in hers too. I always told her to pursue whatever she enjoyed, and she leaned towards acting. When she was in high school, she would always be a part of plays. From there, she got her love for doing theatre. When she told me that she wanted to pursue a degree in theatre and acting, I told her to go for it.
Rafi: Is there anything you would like to share with the fans and readers?
Tony: Since my childhood, I have understood films. I believe that a country's culture is highlighted most in the films that are made there. The dramas and novels are also very crucial, but I think that films are the most highlighted medium. We have to work hard to make our films good enough to be of international quality. I want to see a day when people in foreign countries buy tickets to watch Bangladeshi movies in their cinema halls. I have been working hard with some organisations to screen Bangladeshi films in the US for our people there, and maybe even people from other countries. We all have to work together to make Bangladeshi films get international recognition. If producers and filmmakers here can cooperate with us and do this, it can help this industry develop a lot. I would ask the readers to pray for all of us so that we can make some worthwhile projects and be able to take the Bangladeshi film industry worldwide.