Vol. 5 Num 339 Thu. May 12, 2005  

In conversation
"We need to weed out obscene films"--Ujjal

Moviegoers of the 70s still remember the young man in the comedy Ieye Korey Biye, who played the role of a house help in order to marry the girl of his dreams. The protagonist is Ashraf Uddin Ahmed, popularly known as Ujjal. With an acting career spanning over 30 years, he has acted in over 100 films, including Binimoy, Nalish, Nasib, Usila, Shakti Porikkha and Nijerey Haraye Khunji.

"Before embarking on the silver-screen, I was a full-fledged television actor. I acted with the popular and talented actresses of the time such as Dolly Anwar, Rubina and Sujata. I was an aspiring television actor, but somehow I joined movie arena."

In 1970 Subhash Dutta was looking for a new face to pair up with Kabori, in his film Binimoy. After a brief photo session, Ujjal was finally selected.

"I was quite nervous working with Kabori, who was a very popular actress by that time, the film was a hit."

Ujjal, for the most part of his film career portrayed characters of ardent lovers. But in 80s late Mumtaz Ali cast him in a negative role. And films such as Nasib, in which he played a villainous role, were very well received. "The total scenario is not conducive to making good films. However, as I have a responsibility towards the audience I must make films that don't have any questionable material."

Ujjal is actively involved in the Film Producers and Distributors Association, the apex body responsible for policy making in the industry. He is also a member of the Film Censor Board.

On the issue of vulgarity in recent films, Ujjal says, "Some directors are making such films to benefit financially. These directors are trying to compete with the popular satellite culture in an erroneous way. Social unrest and negligence of the authority in producing quality films are also responsible for fuelling the trend of vulgar films. This has resulted in a negative attitude amongst the viewers who are not willing to watch movies in cinema halls anymore.

"The variation, glamour and, to some extent, visually stimulated images on satellite channels have made the moviegoers expect more from the Bangla films. The responsibility of ameliorating the situation goes to film circles as well as the audience. The management of the Film Development Corporation (FDC) should be vigilant and the Ministry of Information must implement the law to stop such obscenity and take exemplary action against the violators," Ujjal concludes.

Ujjal in one of his films