“Who is Misir Ali?” | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 08, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 08, 2018

Director's Cut

“Who is Misir Ali?”

I am a reader of Humayun Ahmed like everyone else and directing ‘Debi’ was an exciting incident that happened. But, I didn't know I will ever make a movie from this novel when I read it in school. The description of someone pulling Ranu's leg from under the water kept me frightened for days.

And surely that was the first time I met Misir Ali. I imagined a Misir Ali who looked more like Ray's Professor Shanku, smoking, coughing and mesmerizing people with his logic. I would be lying if I say I saw Chanchal bhai in my head. Chanchal bhai was not into acting that time I guess.

I grew up in the Dhaka University teacher's quarters and I believe I have seen people who were a lot like Misir Ali. No, they were not solving cases, but they had the texture of the character.

During the first attempt of writing the screenplay, I realized the phase of only telling intelligent interesting things about Misir Ali is over, I have to find him in full flesh and blood, I have to find Ranu, Anis, Nilu and Sabet, who are believable and appealing to an audience who have not grown up reading Humayun Ahmed.

So, who is Misir?

Himu and Misir are extensions of the writer. Well, every character the writers create somehow connected with one of many selves the writers have, but some are essentially themselves. Himu and Misir are two of those, who are essentially Humayun Ahmed. To me, Himu is the projection of his spiritual quest in the chaotic time we live in and Misir is a projection of his finest intelligence. Both are impulsive, eccentric, charming and brutally honest. One is in love with the supernatural; the other is in love of the queer cases that deals with the supernatural. 

I denounced my much loved Professor Shanku version of Misir. Misir must be the writer himself and he doesn't have to have beard. Though my friends said I might have to face processions at the press club if Misir Ali shows up without beard. Well, we tried to give Chanchal a bearded look, but how can you accept Misir walking with fake beards?

Anyway, during the initial one to one sessions what I told Chanchal bhai was our Misir is the writer himself and he loved the idea. He met the writer many times.


Anam Biswas is a Director, Advertiser, Composer and Writer.

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