You look amazing today! What projects are you doing as of now?
(Laughs) Thank you so much! I am doing a joint-venture film with Arindam Sil, and it will be called Baalighor. We will start shooting for it soon, and we will ensure that it follows all the rules and regulations of a joint venture film. I'm acting alongside the likes of Arefin Shuvo, Tisha, Parno Mittra and Abir Chatterjee in the film. Besides that, I am acting in the serial Saat Bhai Champa and my character airs from the 15th episode. Besides these, my films Alga Nogor, Chandraboti and Swapno Bari are set to release soon. They're directed by Rashed Chowdhury, Taneem Rahman Angshu and Mijanur Rahman Lablu respectively.
Saat Bhai Champa is one of the most ambitious projects in Bangladeshi television history. Tell us about your experience working on that.
There is so much I want to share about it! First of all, I was asked to do an audition for the serial and that was really a welcome surprise for me. I had previously auditioned for films, but very rarely do serials here have auditions and this is how you know that they were very serious towards this project. I did impress in the audition and was offered a central role in it, but I declined as I honestly did not want to play as a 'raani'. I felt like I wouldn't be comfortable with it, much to the surprise of the director. A few months later, the director had called me and said that he had another role to offer me, of a character that he had specifically sketched for me! It was a huge honor, and I ended up signing for the very tomboyish princess that you will soon see on your screens.
You've previously played a lot of roles tailored towards children. Tell us about those.
Indeed! I was “Duronto Apu” in Swapno Akar Dol in Duronto TV. Another program called Rongila Rongo Shala was aired in News24 where I played 55 different roles in 55 episodes!
We've seen you portray a vast array of characters in your films and serials. Do you enjoy playing different roles?
I have a slight quirk regarding this: it's actually very difficult for me to get out of characters! After my role in Dhaka Attack, I actually felt pregnant for 3 months! I had gained a lot of weight for that role, and ended up staying in that zone for a while after the shooting was done. After the film released, I started getting dozens of offers from baby product manufacturers to star in their advertisements! I played the role of a prostitute in my first film Udhao and started getting offers of a myriad of similar roles. However, I don't want to be typecasted. I want to experiment and improve myself as much as I can.
Tell us about your journey into the world of showbiz, and how you became an actor.
It has been a rather long road, and a difficult one to say the least. I started off as an art director working for Amitabh Reza Chowdhury. In my head, I just wanted to work for children, and at that juncture in my life came Sisimpur. When I went to audition for that, I came across Martin Robinson, the pioneer of Sesame Street. He could play 6 puppets at once, and I instantly fell in love with the craft. I was there for 6 and half years, and I played 'Ikri' during that period of time. The role became my life! However, life had different plans as I had a terrible accident which paralyzed me partially for one and a half years. When the doctor had told me that I could not play Ikri anymore, I was devastated. This is because for puppetry, you have to stretch a lot and that was very dangerous for me at the state that I was in. I went into depression and had to consult a psychiatrist, who suggested that I keep myself busy during my recovery period. When I was able to stand, I decided that I would act, and as fate has it, here I am.
Where would you like to see yourself in the near future?
I have worked for quite a while in the industry but have never bowed down to commercialism or some of the underhanded methods of getting roles. I'd rather die of depression than decrease my own standards. I have a 5-year-old daughter I have to care for. I want to give her the best future possible, while also being her role model. I want to do roles that are so amazing that she proudly tells people, “Look, that's my mom!” This is part of the reason why I am extremely picky about my films. The character Debjani that I am playing in Saat Bhai Champa is completely dedicated to my daughter, and besides that I have always felt comfortable working for children. Hopefully you'll see me In a position where I can do more roles geared towards children while also doing mainstream films with scripts that hopefully intrigue me!
Interviewed by Sadi Mohammad Shahnewaz
Photos: Shahrear Kabir Heemel
Makeover: Farzana Munny