You have won the hearts of millions of Bangladeshis with your acting on television and films, not to mention the National Film award you won for your performance in "Kittonkhola". So, in the face of that fame, let's start with a word of concern - if one spends some time on the internet searching with your name, a lot of sites appear with rubbish and derogatory comments about you.
Are you aware of this fact?
I'm just learning about this now from you! Thank you for informing me. I will have to see it for myself. Although, I'm not the curious kind. This is both a good and a bad side of me. With due respect to all journalists, I don't like giving many interviews. There are many newspapers, magazines and online portals; I don't really keep myself updated about what's written in all these. Since I'm publicity-shy, I believe there are few bad comments about me, since there is no news about me. Maybe if somebody doesn't like me or can't reach me, they might write something negative about me. I don't think it's my job to appease every journalist!
Why don't you like giving interviews?
Sometimes I've heard that my interviews have been published, ones which I never gave! When a journalist calls me up and asks how long are you acting with 'Dhaka Theatre', it pisses me off. I belong to the theatre troupe 'Aronnok'. The journalist who intends to interview me must do some background research before calling me up. It's not like I expect the interviewer to know everything about me, but there should a semblance of some research. There's a lot of ways to harass a celebrity. When Anal Raihan or Aditya Kabir interviewed me, I used to be scared. The last good interview I gave was for Anondo Bhubon. The Daily Star did a good interview as well. With this interview, I feel good that I'm being interviewed in the proper way. The editor of the magazine and the stylist both contacted me. And you seem to have done your background research!
Do you think an artist should be aware of what is being said about them on the internet, since it affects your image?
Yellow journalism makes me laugh. If you hear that a marriage is about to end, you should ask him first before writing about it. If somebody tells me, this magazine wrote this thing about you, they couldn't get a reaction out of me. You know why? Because this is very normal - this is a reflection of the kind of mentality we have in our country.
Are you satisfied as an actress?
Not at all. Although I have achieved a lot, I am not fully satisfied. I got the opportunity to act with some truly great actors, and I have received the audience's love. For theatre, I went to Kerala and Korea- that was the first government tour of the theatre movement. I received an Award from the North American Cultural Society, on top of others from my childhood, such as the Bongobondhu Shishu Puroshkar, Shahid Munir Smriti Shishu Puroshkar, Choyonika Shilpo Goshthi, Motiur Rahman Smriti Shishu Puroshkar, Manik Miah Smriti Shishu Puroshkar, etc. I've been acting from the age of 3. Gohor Zamin- folk and classical dancer- was my dance teacher. I was a student of Chhayanaut (classical). In theatre, Mamunur Rashid is my guru. What I've learned in my childhood was taught by my mother, but I'm sitting here today for my own hard work. I was good at drawing from an early age. But at one point I felt like I should concentrate on only one topic - acting. Sometimes, I feel that winning the National Award at a young age for Kittonkhola (2002) was a mistake! There are many good directors who never call me up for a role. And I know them well, some of them are childhood friends, but they don't want me to act in their productions.
You are under-utilized as an actor. Why do you think that is?
A lot of people in the media don't like me. But the 20-40% that do like me, I do believe they like me by heart. Becoming a star takes a lot of hard work. But here, people are called artists very easily. I'm a perfectionist. I'm very conscious and choosy about my work, and I've only done 7 dramas in the last 4 months. The dramas that are made today are made without any consideration for perfection. I ask the directors a lot of questions. And I'm very obedient - I'm the director's artist. I love to act. However, there's a lot of incompleteness. So many films are being made today, and I feel that I deserve to be in a few of them. It saddens me that I haven't acted in any of Tagore's dramas in a female role. My junior artists are shocked to hear that! Actors who don't know much about acting or aren't even willing to change their hair colour for a role - even they have acted in Tagore's dramas! I'm attached to the theatre as well. I've never been off-screen. I never took a break. The rest of the time, I act to make a living. I've been acting in theatre for the last 22 years from my childhood. Except for one, I have been in every single production of Aronnok. I'll carry the love for theatre in my veins till I die.
Your personal life has been tumultuous in the past. What is it like now? What does the future hold?
Whatever happened in my personal life was fate. Ups and downs are there in everyone's life. I'm very happy with my acting and with living with my parents. I won't go into another marriage now. I want to live like this. I love to be with my parents. I love to be with my acting and my well-wishers. I don't know what tomorrow holds. But I know I just want to act. I never do any role that I don't like. If ever a time comes when I'm not getting enough good roles, I will understand. I'm very responsible, disciplined, and straightforward. I'm not a hypocrite. If I don't like you, I can't keep in touch with you. In the future, I want to work with Suborna Mustafa again, and with good directors like Mezbaur Rahman Sumon, Diponkor Dipon, etc.
You did the choreography for 'Rarang'. How did it feel to choreograph?
It was very hard since dancing and choreography are two different things. You have to know the dance, the theme, the director's vision. The story was about 'Shaotals'. It was a bit easier for me as I had trained in this form of dance.
What are you looking forward to in 2014?
I'm looking forward to quite a few productions. Shonjib Chattyapadhyay's 'Lotakombol' is the new serial I'm working on for 2014. I'm also looking forward to 'Andhokarer Gaan' by Choyonika Chowdhury, a 20 episode serial. For 26th March, I'll act in another one of her serials of 16 episodes. A BBC production directed by Giasuddin Selim, Agunpoka in SATV, Boro Barir Chhoto Bou, Nishorgo on Boishakhi TV, Khonikaloy in Machhranga, etc. are also in queue. I'll also be involved in theatre - a lot of people think you can't do theatre and TV drama at the same time since there's no money in theatre. I disagree.
Interviewed by Sadia Khalid