Vol. 5 Num 386 Tue. June 28, 2005  

Q & A
"How can you come up with romantic scenes with a bodybuilder?"-- Babita
Nicknamed Poppy, the name Babita is associated with the golden era of our cinema industry and she's still going strong. The glamorous Babita attained fame for her versatility in films such as Satyajit Ray's Ashoni Shanket, Amjad Hossain's Golapi Akhon Train-e, Subhash Dutta's Arunodoy-er Agnishakkhi, which fetched her numerous national and international awards. Here's a reflection of the real Babita----

How did you set foot in filmdom?
I was hell bent on avoiding the path of filmdom. This was partly because I saw my elder sister Suchanda returning drained from her shooting, day in day out. But my fate was sealed when acclaimed director Zahir Raihan cast me in his film Sangsaar, while I was still a teenager. It was all the more difficult to refuse him as he was my brother- in- law! Later he once more requested me to work in the film Shesh Porjonto, co staring Razzak. After that it was the point of no return…

Any embarrassing moments you would like to forget?
I can think of quite a few. In one of my first films, Razzak bhai was cast as my father. In the next film, I was to play his love interest! As luck would have it, I was to render some very romantic lines and songs. Naturally I was tongue tied, as he was a family friend. Zahir Raihan's scolding didn't help either! Razzak bhai thankfully came to the rescue, asking me to say it naturally (whatever that meant!!) but the day finally ended well.

Any overwhelming experience?
In the film, Raater Por Din I was cast opposite Wasim, one of the most popular actors of the time. He was 'Mr East Pakistan', so for me it was like being cast opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger! How can you come up with romantic scenes with a bodybuilder? But happily the movie was a great success.

What three things would you change if you could?
My three BIG wishes would be to abolish bribery, reduce the income gap between the rich and poor and educate the under privileged.

What three things would you carry if you were marooned on an island?
My mobile (and charger...!) to keep contact with my son and the rest of the world. A fridge filled with cold water; this is one thing I can't do without. Thirdly my TV set; this is my regular source of entertainment. I just love the soaps, but at the same time also the Discovery and Geography channel.

What about a memorable experience?
In my personal world, the day my son was born.

In the film world the most moving experience was when I was working under the legendary Satyajit Ray in the film Ashani Shanket. While shooting I had to cross a small bridge on foot. I forgot to take my slippers. When I turned around, I was shocked to see that Ray himself was carrying the slippers! This was a never-to-be forgotten lesson in humility for all of us

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I dream of becoming a director. That'll be a nice change after 30 years of acting!

Moved by any recent movies?
I enjoyed watching Parineeta and Amitabh in Black was remarkable. In our neighbouring countries, it's not unusual for playwrights to develop plots around actors to showcase their true potential. Sadly in Bangladesh, once an actor reaches a certain age, the opportunities are very limited. Movies usually revolve around age-old plots, barring veteran actors to demonstrate their finesse.

Favourite actors?
Sophia Loren hands down. I also admire Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Julia Roberts, Amitabh Bachchan and Suchitra Sen.

A word on your co-stars?
I have co-starred with national and international stars. However Zafar Iqbal and I were a great hit. Our clothes were in vogue. Zafar was a marvelous singer blessed with natural good looks. Another winning combination was with Faruque. Typically I would play the innocent village girl and he would be the fiery young man in the village!

Illustration: Shiplu