BEGINNING FROM INSPIRATION
My family and surroundings were my main inspirations in choosing a career in acting. Every member of my family have been somehow related to art and culture. So, it was quite mandatory to be involved in those besides academics. My father, Tofazzal Hossain, was a stage performer and director. He used to say, “Art makes life beautiful.” He valued art more than institutionalised education. Perhaps, I was born with acting in my veins. I used to regularly take part in radio dramas as a child. I started stage performances in tenth grade, on my father’s suggestion. After earning a degree in social work, I went to Kolkata to study drama in Rabindra Bharati University. Besides studying alongside Bibhash Chakrobarty and Ashok Mukherjee, I used to take part in theatre regularly with them. I even debuted in a Hindi television series back then. My first drama in Bangladesh was E Ki Jalaton, by Momtazuddin Ahmed in 1986.
As a child, I used to learn singing and painting. Although I have not continued practising them, they still hold a special place in my heart. I absolutely love cooking, and try to make different dishes whenever I get the opportunity. When I have free time, I love reading books and listening to music. Additionally, I like to keep the bond between me and my relatives alive by spending time with them.
Our industry is culturally rich; the actors are immensely knowledgeable. I have many favourite actors: Abul Hayat, Aly Zaker, Asaduzzaman Noor, Humayun Faridi, Chitralekha Guha, Suborna Mustafa, Ferdousi Majumdar, Traupa Majumder and Shatabdi Wadud, among several others. I love listening to Rabindra Sangeet. My favourite musician is Kanika Bandopadhyay. I also listen to other artists. My absolute favourite writer is Rabindranath Tagore.
A JOYFUL MEMORY
I have many happy memories associated with my career. About twenty-two years ago, I was shooting for a drama scene in Dhaka. I played the character of a helpless mother who came to the city to look for a job. We were shooting in different locations in Dhaka that day. When I was called for a specific shot at night on Farmgate foot-over bridge, it was very crowded. I went through the crowd for my scene and was stopped by a policeman, who thought I was a beggar, judging by my outfit. Before I could explain anything, my unit came to my rescue. The policeman was very embarrassed. Whenever I think about this incident, I cannot help but laugh.
Work is my religion. I do not care about fulfilment. I sometimes think that I have achieved more than I could imagine. I love acting and I still continue doing it out of love. However, being an actor, I feel that I still have a lot more to achieve. I always strive to do better.
Interviewed by Akhand Jahid
Transcribed by Amina Hossain