Vol. 5 Num 238 Tue. January 25, 2005  

Q & A
''Initially, I was eager to be a journalist '' --Abida
Abida Sultana is a popular modern singer for the stage, television and films. Her talent has won recognition and she has represented Bangladesh in many tours abroad. Here she speaks to our cultural correspondent on diverse issues.

What is your nickname?
Shikha--meaning flame.

Major breakthrough in the music world
Eminent composer Bhupen Hajarika gave me my first break to sing for the movie "Shimana Periye" in 1975. I remember I had flown to Kolkata the night before, picked up the tune and recorded it the very next day. It is one of my favourites and is probably the popular most song I have sung till date.

Tell us about your best performance
It was back in 1989. I went to Egypt to perform. Here one of my songs in Arabic received a tremendous applause from the audience. The meaning of the song was something like "Have you listened to the sweet melody of that song"?

What would you be if you were not a singer?
Initially, I was eager to be a journalist. That ambition was not fulfilled. Eventually, I studied political science- which did not actually help me in my career. I wish I could study psychology instead.

Amusing experience
In the early 80's I was invited to Nepal to perform. A famous film actor of Nepal named Shrestha was also present among others. Now, when I had sung one of his favourite playbacks, he fell in love and proposed to me then and there. It was a very interesting experience no doubt. But as I was already engaged, there was little scope for me to give a second thought to the proposal!

The best movie you have watched so far
I liked many films but the choice changed as I grew up. The film "The Pianist" by Roman Polanski touched me when I first watched it. And I still watch the movie when I get time. Another movie "Arth" by Mahesh Bhatt is also my all time favourite.

What is your favourite past time?
At home I spend my leisure listening to music and cooking. When abroad, I spend a lot of time sightseeing after the shows.

If you are told to choose a hero to play the romantic role in a film, who would that be?
Mmm...the list will be very long (Smilingly). Uttam Kumar, even if he is no more, still tops the list. Among others Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham and Will Smith will be the next top three in the list.

Which are your favourite teams in cricket and football?
I always support West Indies and Pakistan in international cricket. And during the World Cup , I always support the winning teams in football.

Who else in your family are involved in music?
All my sisters and brothers, starting from Rebecca to Rehana, Salma, Chitra, Shumon and Imon are very popular in the music world. Rafique was already a popular singer when we got married. In fact, that is how we came to know each other.

What if you were told not to sing again?
Music is my life and passion. I cannot think about living without it.