You have been around for a really long time. What are the changes that you see?
Change is inevitable. But not all the changes that occurred have been positive. Many of them have taken the media to a negative turn. Quality has indeed been deteriorated. And it's high time that the state should step up and take necessary actions. Formal education - getting graduation certificate and all that - is not enough. There's no substitute to an enlightened society. Unfortunately, the rich cultural practice or consciousness or activism which once reigned in our country - that is evident in the Language Movement or the 1969 Mass Uprising, to give two examples - is now lost.
We now have many television channels. A common complaint is that, somewhere down the line, quality has been compromised.
It's been said that quality is inversely proportional to quantity. So, as the quantity of channels and dramas increased, the quality has come down. Moreover, there's no quality control in this industry. There is no fixed set of policies from the government. Just see the phenomenal growth in the number of channels. We need to investigate the reason behind it. Do we really need so many? When there used to be only BTV - or when there were just a few channels - the level of value or superiority was much higher than it is today with dozens of television stations.
Now, moving on to the stage. Theatre in Dhaka was once highflying.
The theatre is still coming up with some good stuff. There are several groups that are doing these performances. But yes, when you think of the people who performed in the theatre back in the '70s, '80s and even the '90s, there is a big difference between the current generation and the preceding ones. A portion of the youth has become too self-centred, and too drawn towards glitz and glamour. Why would I waste five good years of my life when I can, say, join a reality show and become a superstar overnight? Fame is what these people are after.
Nevertheless, I would like to say with pride that our theatre scene is still rather good. In the international arena, those who understand theatre and keep knowledge about it recognises that Dhaka produces some first-class dramas.
And what about cinema? Why are we lagging behind?
First of all, cinema is a very taxing and demanding medium. With only a pen and paper, you can write a poem; with just a harmonium, or even without it, you can sing a song. But making a movie is a multifaceted affair and an amalgamation of numerous components: movies require hefty budget. But the budget of the movies produced in Bangladesh is usually so low!
Moreover, we lack proper infrastructure. To illustrate, we need a proper schools for makers. It's not all about technology; you can hire that if you have the budget. But we need that level of budget and those institutions to train people.
Well, there are a few works that are indeed superb. I hope that one day eventually, our movie industry, like our theatre, will bring a lot of pride.
Interviewed by Rafi Hossain
and Narrated by Himadri