Vol. 5 Num 778 Fri. August 04, 2006  

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"There is no ingenuity in our current films"-- Riaz

DASHING, charming, sporty, charismatic, academically brilliant -- several adjectives can be dedicated to Riaz, who has been one of the leading actors in Bangladeshi cinema for 10 years now.

Born and brought up in the CNB staff quarters of Faridpur, Riaz had never in his wildest dreams imagined he would become a heartthrob to millions of people in the country. Interestingly, back in those days he would go to other peoples' houses to watch the popular TV show Tarzan and Bengali feature films. Tarzan made a huge impact on young Riaz. Eventually when he grew up, Tom Cruise's character in the Hollywood blockbuster Top Gun replaced Tarzan.

It seems that Riaz was not far from achieving his dreams when he cleared the exams for being a pilot right after his HSC results. From then on it was smooth sailing for this athlete, as he became a top-rate fighter pilot. He went under training in Turkey on a scholarship for one and half years. "Good old days," reminisces Riaz. However, he was later dismissed from the Air Force due to a misunderstanding with the authority.

Inspired by his cousin Babita, one of the leading ladies in film of the country, Riaz turned to acting. Youngest among eight siblings, Riaz's mother was against her son joining the film industry. "My mother is a religious person and she has been against me working in films from day one. That stance hasn't changed," confesses Riaz.

Riaz feels that after being in the film industry for 10 years he has not done anything worth writing home about. "We lack in all fields whether it's scripts, production, direction or technical side. There is no ingenuity in our current films. I feel the state of our cinema is stagnant. As actors we are stuck doing the same roles over and over again." In Riaz's opinion, compared to the Indian film industry, Bangladesh is far behind. "They have a large local and international market and a diverse target group compared to Bangladesh. Hence they can afford experimenting and making different kinds of movies."

Riaz in partnership with Tuhin Barua has a production house called Pathika. They have produced their first movie Hridoyer Kotha. "This movie is close to my heart. It is yet to be released and I don't know how the audience will receive it," admits this talented actor who also wants to move towards direction some day.

Riaz describes himself as a God-loving simple man who loves all of creation. While this 'scorpio' does not believe he is the ace actor in the country, he is still thankful to the Lord for the position he is in today. However, the sacrifices he has had to make in his family and personal life have been big he admits. "The sacrifices, the hurt, the blood, sweat and tears -- at times I wonder whether it's all worth it," concludes Riaz.