Vol. 5 Num 341 Sat. May 14, 2005  

Rowshan Jamil's legacy
In the eyes of her daughter

The old woman from the village had a free life close to the nature. But when she comes to the city to see her children, she can hardly relate to her surroundings. Here she has to stay at home all day long. She wants to go back to the village but nobody listens to her, nobody opens the door for her. Through the open window she keeps looking towards the sky and cherish her dream for freedom. One day unable to bear the pain of deprivation and negligence any more, she dies and her soul flies away--she is freed finally.

This is the story of a yet-to-telecast television play titled Duar, the last in which acclaimed actress and dancer Rowshan Jamil acted.

When Rowshan got the offer of Duar, she was very ill. Her children did not want her to act in the drama as they were scared she might collapse anytime. But Rowshan's courageous soul did not want to give up and acted in the play secretly. It was only after her death that her children came to know about it.

Today is the third death anniversary of Rowshan Jamil, one of the most powerful actresses of the country's silver screen.

Born on May 8, 1931, Rowshan got married to famous classical dancer Gawhar Jamil in 1952. After their marriage, she started to learn dancing from her husband. The couple established a dance school, Jago Art Centre, in 1959, a dream and a very significant part of Rowshan's life.

As a dancer Rowshan performed both at home and abroad. She choreographed a number of dance dramas such as Anarkoli, Shamanya Khoti, Itihasher Ekti Pata, Nirasha, Kanchan Mala and Mayer Mukti. She was awarded with the Ekushey Padak in 1996 for her contribution in the field of dance.

Rowshan Jamil's career as an actress covered all the mediums--radio, stage, television and the cinema. Starting as an actress in television in 1965, she acted in over 300 television plays, including Rakkhushi, Palabodol and Shokal Shondhya.

Rowshan featured in around 200 films of which Jibon Thekey Neya, Nayon Moni, Shurjo Dighol Bari, Titash Ekti Nodir Nam, Golapi Ekhon Trainey, Chitra Nodir Parey, Abar Tora Manush Ho and Ora Egaro Jon earned her wide acclamation. She received the National Film Award in 1975 and 1999, Bangladesh Journalists' Film Award in 1971 and 1979, and many other noteworthy awards for her contribution both in dance and acting.

Kanta Jamil, daughter of Rowshan, says, "Her first love was dance for which she had dedicated her life. To establish dance as a popular performing art, she literally went from door to door and asked parents to let their daughters get admitted in her dance school."

"She was very courageous and creative at heart," Kanta reminiscences. "Mother used to organise everything of a production of her school: from developing ideas, preparing the costumes, to staging the show."

When Rowshan was suffering from the old age complications she once told her younger daughter, "I've lot more to give. I have not given enough to people to remember me."

However, what Rowshan Jamil gave to her audience of both the TV and silver screen can never be measured. Her bright appearances in diverse characters ranging from a loving mother dedicating her life for her children, a birth attendant threatened to lose her job, a starving rural woman becoming a victim of famine, to a tyrant sister who wants every single people she knows under her control, she will be alive in the hearts of people.

Rowshan Jamil (L) with her sister Alpana Mamtaz performing in the dance drama Kanchan Mala, directed by Gowhar and Rowshan Jamil in 1962