Vol. 5 Num 241 Fri. January 28, 2005  

Films were clearly in her destiny
In conversation with Champa

One would think that Champa was destined to become an actress. Her two elder sisters Suchanda and Babita had already become popular film heroines and the younger one was expected to follow suit. Besides, she had an almost irresistible attraction for the fashion world.

Explaining her initial reservations about joining the film industry, Champa says, "Initially I detested filmdom as I watched my sisters being pestered by their fans and their family life being hampered. They avoided going out as the frenzied fans hounded them. Fans would ask them silly questions like what they ate, even wanted to touch them to see if these silver screen goddesses were real!" Champa, therefore, hated the excess public attention and decided not to enter filmdom.

However, Champa was destined to join filmdom. After her first film, she has chalked up a long list of about 200 titles in the nearly two-decades of her movie career.

Champa's introduction to the glamour world took place through her fascination for modelling. "I always loved modelling and wanted to perform myself," she says. She first modelled for Cute cosmetics. "Saidul Anam Tutul made the TV ad. At that time TV ads were a series of still photographs accompanied by commentary," recalls Champa. Later, the heroine-to-be was featured in many TV commercials and calendars before becoming a TV actress.

Champa reveals her fondness for acting, "At an early age I had to take charge of our family after my mother's death. Simultaneously with carrying on the household chores, I would also find time for recreation. And my favourite recreation was playing different roles: often I played the mother of my dolls; sometimes I played the beloved of some imaginary young man I had seen in a movie."

Champa would often lip-sync with songs like the heroines of films. She would also record recitations from storybooks and later listen to them. "One day I was caught red-handed by my father while I was imitating none other than him!" recalls Champa. "But my father, usually a grave angry man, burst into laughter seeing my acting," she adds.

One day actor-director Abdullah Al Mamun, who often used to visit their house, offered Champa a role for a TV play. Initially, Champa felt a little nervous. A sympathetic Mamun said that she would not have to go outside for shooting. "The shooting took place in our house," says Champa. And she did her debut TV drama Duub Shatar in which she played a girl who can foretell the future. Gradually, Champa featured in many of BTV's popular plays including Ekhaney Nongor, Akash Bariye Dao and Shazadir Kalo Nekab.

Champa might not really have come into filmdom had her eldest sister Suchanda not asked her to play a role in her production. "The story was about three sisters and Suchanda Apa had already cast herself and Babita," Champa says. "She explained to me that three real-life sisters would perform the best in such a film." The film Tin Kanya (Three Daughters) became a huge success.

"But at this point I was somehow overcome by a tremendous lure for the silver screen," says Champa who had previously thought that Tin Kanya would be her first and last film. "Soon I did my second movie produced by actor Alamgir," and she became a full-fledged film actress in a short time. This Eid saw the release of Champa's latest film Shasti, based on a story of Rabindranath Tagore.

Besides winning at home, in her long career in films Champa has earned international acclaim doing films under the direction of renowned filmmakers such as Goutam Ghosh and Buddhadev Dasgupta. Watching the play Ekhaney Nongor, Goutam Ghosh chose Champa for the role of Mala of his epic film Padma Nodir Majhi. She has also performed in Buddhadev Dasgupta's Lal Dorja, Sandip Ray's Target and latest Goutam Ghosh's Abar Aranye.

At present, however, Champa has withdrawn a little from mainstream films "just when I thought I had gained experience in acting and had the opportunity to show it off," she says. "The environment in the industry has deteriorated to such an extent that it is now almost impossible to work here like before," she adds. Moreover, Champa believes that it is time she gave her family more attention. "One could say I am thoroughly enjoying my life with my family. Know what? Today we bought some earthen vessels from the village and Babita Apa and myself are cooking Koi fish and chicken. It has a country flavour which is second to none. These are the little things I want to enjoy in life. All this brings great satisfaction for me," says the National Award winning actress.