You have been directing dramas for 16 years. What has the experience been like so far?
I started directing dramas in 2001 with Shesh Belay. I will always be thankful to Mujibur Rahman of “Light & Shadow” for supporting me back then. Had he not been there, I wouldn't be able to reach where I am today. However, my turning point as a director came when I directed Ek Jibone, which was possible due to Tomalika's insistence. I have been a regular director ever since!
In your journey as a director, who would you say had the most influence on you?
There are a lot of people who have supported me during my journey. It wouldn't be possible to name them all. However, some people whose name I just have to mention are Tomalika, Mujibur Rahman, Zayed Rabbi, Mahfuz Ahmed, Imdadul Huq Milon, Shakoor Mojid, Tuhin Barua and of course, my family. The people who supported me a lot during the beginning years of my journey are Bipasha Hayat, Mahfuz Ahmed, Aupee Karim, Srabanti and Shahid. In my later years, Tarin and Apurbo have also been there for me a lot. I shall forever be grateful to these people.
How did you learn the tips and tricks of directing?
There was a lot I didn't know in the beginning. I grew up watching and acting in dramas since I was 3 and half years old. I learnt a lot from my mother. After I got married, I learnt a lot from Arun Chowdhury as well. I used to visit him on set a lot and watch how things work. You could say that I basically learnt it all by watching and observing others.
Did you ever have any bad experiences when directing?
There are people who have hurt me but for that I am grateful. Had they not done what they did, I wouldn't be here today. The bad experiences have given me strength.
In these 16 years, what changes did you see in yourself?
At first I was very impatient and short-tempered but with time I have been able to change that about myself. I have also become very picky when it comes to work. I only select stories that I feel are worth telling. I also choose the actors very carefully now. But what hasn't changed is love for my work. I would not say I am a talented director but I am definitely hard-working. This characteristic of mine haven't changed since the get-go.
What would you say are your achievements?
I would say my fame and the love my audience has for me are my biggest achievements. When I travel, people ask me if I am the same Choyonika Chowdhury that makes dramas. Mahfuz once told me after coming back from a trip in Australia that everyone he met there has seen my dramas and there was even a store that had a rack with my name that held my dramas. To me, this is a great achievement.
There were talks of you making a film. What happened to that?
It's my dream to make a good film. I have been thinking about this since 2014, but I haven't been able to start working on it yet. I have decided on the name though. It will be called Bhalobeshei Mori. But that name might change later on.
Interviewed by Zahid Akbar
Transcribed by Amira Amin