Vol. 5 Num 206 Tue. December 21, 2004  

Q & A
'Our music director, looked helplessly from the other side of the glass' -- Ferdousi
Ferdousi Rahman a singer of repute, stepped into the world of music as a young girl of six. She has been a major figure in the cultural scenario for more than 50 years. The Daily Star met up with the eminent singer recently. Excerpts:

What's your nickname?
Mirna--it's a Russian name.

What keeps you going?
Music --and more music. I feel that throughout my career--first as a singer and later as a teacher-- I was blessed.

The programme, which I conducted on children, Esho Gaan Shikhi is still popular. With a gap of two years I have been training the young talents on TV from the very inception. Khan Ataur Rahman, Azad Rahman and a few others have occasionally conducted the programme, but somehow people have always admired my way of presentation.

What's the sweetest thing about you?
People often ask how I manage to smile all the time and enliven the atmosphere wherever I go. I take that as a compliment.

What is the worst thing about you?
Nowadays, I get agitated quite fast and get tense over trivial matters.

What interests you other than music?
I take great interest in designing saris for myself. In doing so, I find that our deshi materials are fun to work on. I also love to experiment with new dishes at regular intervals. In addition, I am into interior designing.

Any hilarious experience you would like to share with us?
During the early '60s, we were quite used to live broadcasts from the radio. And there were times when we had amusing experiences as well. At Shahbag radio station, we were performing for some special event. Big names like Laila Arjumand Banu, Rawshan Ara Masud and many others were also performing. All of a sudden, Rawshan Ara Masud began to giggle over something. As you know laughing is contagious, and it was impossible for us to stop laughing. Abdul Ahad, our music director, looked at us helplessly from the other side of the glass. Somehow, we managed to finish the song and we all sighed with relief at the end.

What are your memorable experiences ?
During my long career, I have had the privilege to work with great composers such as Abdul Ahad, Sattya Shaha, Samar Das, Khalil Anand, Nisar Bazmi and many more. As artistes, we utilised our time optimally. Even while travelling through the mountainous regions of Muree during our musical tours abroad, on a bus, I remember taking lessons from the classical maestros Nazakat Ali and Salamat Ali.

Your first play back / superhit playback
My first playback was a famous bhawaiya O Mor Kala Rey Kala for the film Aasia, in 1958. The song Poraney dola dilo ekon bhromora for the film Sutorang , directed by Subash Dutt, composed by Sattya Saha was the first superhit song out of over 1,000 songs I have sung playback.

What are your prestigious awards?
I have been awarded with many prestigious awards like the Ekushey Padak and the Swadhinata Padak--- but the most important thing to me is the love of my ardent fans.

Illustration: Aloke