Sunday, July 21, 2024

Life Behind the Lens

Accomplished actor turned director Afsana Mimi is full steam ahead directing TV plays. Following the success of “Bondho”, “Share Tin Tola”, “Griho Golpo”, “Kachher Manush” and “Doll’s House”, Mimi has garnered much praise for her ongoing directorial efforts with “Poush Faguner Pala”.
Mimi recently gave The Daily Star (TDS) a glimpse into her latest plans:
TDS: After crossing the 50-episode landmark, does “Poush Faguner Pala” offer more surprises?
Mimi: We had earlier said that Zahid Hasan and Sadiya Islam Mou may join the cast soon, which they have already done. The serial started with a bang, uniting a wonderful cast featuring Ferdousi Majumder, Hasan Imam, Raisul Islam Asad, Ramendu Majumder and Keya Chowdhury. Now there is a possibility that I might also appear in the serial.
TDS: How long will the audience have to wait to see that materialise?
Mimi: Pretty soon. My character will be an affluent Hindu urbanite, named Ratan, who is apparently happily married. However, after the arrival of another man in the house, it is revealed that the whole family lives on the earnings Ratan makes as his mistress.
TDS: Which way will the story twist?
Mimi: A lot of things will happen. After the death of the matriarch, the family will be plunged in chaos with conflicting claims for the house; Humayun Faridi’s character will play a huge role in this. Saju Khadem’s character will fall sick and Sanjida Preeti’s character will get married.
TDS: Have your expectations from the serial been fulfilled?
Mimi: I’d say 99 percent of it has been fulfilled.
TDS: At a press brief you said that Ferdousi Majumder may return to the serial. Is that a possibility?
Mimi: She was with us till the 50th episode. If the story demands it, she may return.
TDS: What role is Mou playing?
Mimi: Mou is playing the role of a Muslim woman who lives with Zahid Hasan’s character. In the serial, Zahid’s role leaves his wife, played by Tropa, to be with Mou, a woman he is in love with.
TDS: What did you achieve through “Poush Faguner Pala”?
Mimi: The original novel, from which the serial has been adapted, is a very old text. Funny thing is that like most other people, I also read the book when I was in college. I borrowed the book from my father and was so engulfed in it that I hid it inside my math textbook and kept reading it in my study hour. I was so absorbed in the story that I didn’t notice when my father came and stood behind me. I faced some scolding that day for ignoring my math. It is strange to direct scenes from that same book. People from Sagar Publishers have told me that a lot of young people are buying the novel after the serial began airing. I consider this to be a great success.
TDS: Do you face any problem, while working with several major stars?
Mimi: Not at all. On the contrary, it is their cooperation that has kept the serial alive. I can’t sum up in words how much hard work the artistes put into their outdoor shootings. We can’t even pay them a generous amount due to our budget constraints. In several countries, actors can work for a couple of days a month and rest. But in our country, an artiste has to work 30 days a month to earn a decent living. We also have a shortage of really talented actors. Sometimes we hear complaints about actors messing around with schedules or putting directors in trouble. To me, these people are not artistes at all. I think it is better not to work with people like these and I always try to form a team where the artistes will be dedicated to the cause, work sincerely and work with the team.
TDS: How long will “Poush Faguner Pala” stretch?
Mimi: Two hundred episodes. After all, it’s an adaptation of a novel.
TDS: Who is your favourite character in the serial?
Mimi: It is hard to single out a favourite among so many roles. But as an actor I would have to say my pick would be Tropa’s role. If Tropa was the director casting me, I would’ve asked her for the role of Uma.
TDS: How did you locate Belishwor village, the shooting spot for the serial?
Mimi: Back in 2009, we were making “Ebong Bonolota Sen” under the direction of Tanvir Hossain Probal, with assistance from Rakesh. We needed a large pond for shooting, so Rakesh went out to scout for a suitable site. He found the perfect pond with a ‘ghaat’ and we shot the drama there.
Later when we were searching for a location to shoot “Poush Faguner Pala”, we couldn’t find any suitable place and were afraid the project might get scrapped. Finally we went to the previous spot with the pond, and found that it was the perfect site. It had a house with a pond on one side, while the other side had a little ‘para’ or clusters of homes and a camp of Proshika. Belishwor village had 80 percent of the zones needed for the shooting of the drama. I expressed my fears to Rakesh on whether we would be lucky enough to get permission to shoot there without any hassle. But in the end, I must say if we didn’t find Belishwor with its Zamindar Bari, small houses, pond and the pleasant surroundings, we wouldn’t be able to shoot the drama. We were very lucky to find a location so close to Dhaka.
TDS: How did you get involved with the show “Moner Kotha”?
Mimi: Although I’m the host, the total credit for the programme goes to Shamim Shahed. It was his concept. He made all the necessary preparations and convinced me of his plans. I was doubtful at first due to my time constraints.
TDS: Any plans of making movies?
Mimi: I will make an announcement soon. I want to make a film based on Mohammad Zafar Iqbal’s novel “Camp”.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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