Vol. 4 Num 279 Thu. March 11, 2004  

Face to face
Keramat Moula: an artiste par excellence

Meet Keramat Moula, a theatre and film personality who is well known in cultural circles. He has had a rich and varied career but prefers to keep his distance from the medium of television. An ex-Controller of Design in Bangladesh Television, he prefers to be known as a performer.

Some of the high points of his career are the comedy Bharate Chai, where he was actor and director. This play, by Narayon Gongo padhyay, was staged in 1956 at the Shantinagar Club, and was Keramat's first performance on stage.

The current vice President of Theatre (Arambagh), Keramat is the vice President of the Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation and International Theatre Institute Bangladesh Branch. Later he joined the famous theatrical group Drama Circle and left to join BTV as a staff artiste in 1965.

After Independence, he went back to his hobby of theatrical work. His favourite playwrights, he says, are William Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Rabindranath Tagore, Momtajuddin Ahmed, Mamunur Rashid, Syed Shamsul Haq and Selim Al Deen.

Keramat is realistic about the current fissures in the theatre world of Bangladesh. As he says: 'The leaders of the groups are responsible for the divide. They should take care that just one or two artistes do not monopolise the cast. Definite encouragement, in the form of good roles, should be given to all talented performers. However, in our theatre, the leaders are biased in most cases. That is why the oppressed artistes establish new groups. If the leaders were more democratic in the selection of directors, playwrights and artistes for a new production, the present division in their ranks could be eliminated.'

Talking about the present theatre scenario in Bangladesh, Keramat says, 'Young theatre workers are really talented but they lack proper direction. That is why a few newcomers with huge potential are going in a wrong way. This phenomenon is a cause for alarm.'

Tracing major developments in the theatre arena, he points out: 'After the 70s the quality of the programmes have not improved enough to meet the popular demand. When colour TV was launched, we became very hopeful. But the reality is that a bulk of personnel began to treat their responsibilities simply as a government service. They lacked the drive and energy which is essential for creative work. That is why the quality of the programmes is declining.'

Keramat is keen on acting in feature films. Among his well known films are Manush Amanush, Surjo Dighol Bari, Maha Nayak, Rajlokkhi Srikanto, Padma Nadir Majhi, Dukhai

In addition to films and theatre, Keramat has a passion for sports. He is the vice President of the popular Wary Club. For his remarkable contribution to our culture he has won many prestigious awards: East Pakistan Education Award in drama in 1961, First National TV Award in 1975 and Shilpokala Academy Award in 1978.

Keramat Moula