Tahmina Shafique The Complete Portfolio

25Jul/080

Live and commit

Playwright, dramatist, director, actor, writer, thinker, advisor, friend, father- Abdullah Al-Mamun was each one of them and many many more. For some, he is a maverick, and for others he is a man of many avatars- his versatility and immense contribution to a whole era of theatre works, film-making and writings remains to be unparallel till date.

This month, as the eminent artist, fights against major brain haemorrhage and lies unconscious on the hospital bed, with fat tubes sticking out of his mouth, his friends and family continue to pray that he would walk out of the hospital door and touch their lives the way he had always.

Mamun’s contribution to the art and cultural fraternity has been immense, and today it is safe to say that he has shaped a major portion of the TV serials, films, plays and scripts that we have today.

‘I know Mamun since 1961,’ says Ramendu Majumdar. ‘I had just gotten into University of Dhaka and witnessed Mamun’s enthusiasm towards theatre. In a few years we had formed a student’s theatre group and since then Mamun took several initiatives and moved on to shape a whole era of theatre and film works. His contribution to the film fraternity and art has been immense and incomparable.’

Mamun has been known for his versatility- the kind that is rare. Over the past four decades, he has managed to contribute immensely to the films and theatre world, at the same time, he has brought many talents under the limelight, all of whom continue to look up to him till date. Some of his lauded theatre works include Shubochon Nirbashone, Akhon Durshomoy, Chardike Juddho, Shena Poti, Akhono Kritodas, Tomrai, Kokilera, Desher Manush, Krishno Kanter Will, Meraj Fakirer Ma, Meher Jaan Arekbaar.

Some of his timeless films are – Gibon Niye Juya, Shareng bou, Oshikkhito, Akhoni Shomoy, Shokhi Tumi Kaar, Mane na Mana, Jonom Dukhi, Dui Jibon and Domka.

‘My father was extraordinary and will always be so,’ says his daughter Deeba Nargis, a reputed TV actress. ‘His compassion and his dedication is something that always awed us.’

Born on July 12, 1943, Mamun was always quiet and lived in his own world. ‘He was never the loud kind- always composed and calm, which was the reason why he was often mistaken as pompous,’ says the renowned actor Tareq Anam.

‘But he was certainly someone who was supportive.’

Tareq’s career began with Mamun’s play and he worked with him in several occasions. ‘Mamum represents a whole new era, a whole new age where he shaped up the whole theatre and film culture and scenario.’

‘You can’t compare him with anyone; he was absolutely unique,’ says Kabori Sarwar. ‘He was a major support system for many of us.’

Mamun’s career began as a television producer in 1966, after he had acquired a degree in history from University of Dhaka. While at University, Mamum was inclined to plays and had already started working with a group of students in plays. From the late 70’s, Mamun played a major role in the theatre movement.

Decades on Mamun only went on proving himself to be one of our most talented thespians of time. More importantly, he created a new dimension to television serials.

‘One of unique things about Mamun was his rare ability to capture audiences attention. We might have had differences of opinions on his themes, but that was one thing that we always recognise and salute him for,’ says Tareq.

Mamun has left behind three daughters and a son, all of whom have grown up with his fundamentals. While his wife passed away in 1984, his children feel, he played the role of a mother and a father at the same time. His fundamentals in life - live and commit - has been deeply embedded in his children.

‘He spent his lifetime in building talents and finding actors and talented players, back at home, he wanted the same thing- he wanted to see the artist in us,’ remembers his daughter fighting back tears of pride.

‘He is my father and he is the best. But above all of that, I know he is incomparable and irreplaceable as a man, a guide, as an actor, as a philosopher, as a thinker, as an individual- he was a man of class.’

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