Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
The words 'pride' or 'achievement' do not really cut it when you get to fill a parent's shoe. Being able to 'be' them and carry on their legacy is a feeling indescribable and unfathomable. One young man on such a journey is none other than Ariq Anam Khan- the son of theatre and on-screen legends Tariq Anam Khan and Neema Rahman.
During his childhood, Ariq visited shooting spots often when his father would be directing. “I remember, back then, whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be, my answer would be 'director'. I would even carry a fanny-pack around like the Assistant directors did!” says Ariq. “That desire to be like my father stayed with me.”
During his mid-teenage years, his interest in films grew. He began raiding his father's collection for famous films by great names like Satyajit Ray or Akira Kurosawa.
“After finishing my A' Level examinations, I enrolled myself into NSU for BBA. No other ideas came to mind. I probably should have studied English. But still, no regrets,” says Ariq. “I decided to work on my acting skills. I explained to my father that I didn't want to be an actor, per se, but just really wanted to learn. He, in turn, wanted to see if I was serious and told me of the things I needed to improve. My mother helped me out a great deal especially with my speech.”
At the end of 2008, Natyakendra, a Dhaka based theatre group, began recruitment. “I was always involved with the group since my father was always involved. He leads the group. That year, I applied for recruitment as an actor and began their workshop.”
Ariq's first show was the revival of an old production- Aroj Charitammrito - on February 13, 2009. Overly critical of himself, Ariq didn't make much of it and took it as a learning experience. In November 2009, he landed an important role in Mrito Manusher Chhaya. “That was the first time I was acting with my mother and father. I remember crying the day before the show. And then I realised that there was no way I could fall short. I simply could not goof up! I was so hesitant that I went to speak to my father. I remember him saying exactly these words, which were more than enough for me to boost my confidence again -- ‘I don't put anything or anyone below standard on stage. If I put you there, it must mean there is a reason you gave me to do so.’”
Eventually, Ariq was called to audition for television productions but somehow they never worked out, until in 2012, when director Animesh Aich asked him to book a date for his next schedule. That phone call resulted in Ariq's first television drama fiction- Polatok Shomoy, which was aired on Channel i.
Ariq's debut short film -- The Smile -- which he directed was also something that Ariq was initially critical of. “I was very apprehensive about it and didn't even show anyone until a year later.” This short-film made its way to the Moviyana film-fest in Shilpokala Academy where it received good response. This year it has been selected for an online screening of Asian short-films.
In April 2015, Ariq's biggest learning experience came to town -- when he worked in the crew for The Avengers, Part 2. “I realised then that there is a reason Hollywood is Hollywood and there is a reason it is where it is. The amount of hard work they put into every single detail is unparalleled and like nothing I have ever seen-before. The director was so inspiring, would always be on his toes, always the first to wake up, always the last to leave. That experience grew my knack for filmmaking.”
The year 2015 was also his turning point as an actor when he landed his first main character in the theatre play- Bondukjuddho. This character got him praises from the likes of Ataur Rahman and Nasiruddin Yusuff Bachchu.
He had also become more regular on television by then, having done some episodes for Fright Night on GTV and around 50-60 radio ads through voice overs. “That is when my career goals started to take shape.” In May 2016, he got the lead for another play, and English one this time- An inspector Calls.
Recently, Ariq did a drama-fiction – Hiyar Majhe Lukiye Chhili—sharing the screen with superstar Zakia Bari Momo, where the duo played the younger versions of the characters of Suborna Mustafa and Tariq Anam Khan. He also has another television serial coming up in a new channel- Bangla TV- called Tokkor.
“My future, well, I suppose is now quite ready to be embarked upon. While I always wanted to go abroad to study filmmaking, this desire was reinforced when I realised quite recently that I am not cut out to be an actor. That is specifically because I think like a director. My mind works in different sectors and that I believe is more suited for me. So my plans are pretty much ready to launch, but let's see what happens!”