Vol. 5 Num 819 Fri. September 15, 2006  

Up close
"Acting is not mere pretence" -- Bonna Mirza

IT is a cliché that women in the entertainment industry are beauty without brains. Bonna Mirza, one of the leading actresses in theatre and television today, certainly goes against that cliché.

Bonna joined the theatre group Desh Natok 16 years ago right after her SSC. "I always knew I wanted to be an actress. So I never even considered modeling or any other medium. I believe that each of us subconsciously or consciously strive to attain a goal and ultimately end up achieving that in the long run. I wanted to be a journalist when I was young. However, subconsciously I wanted to be an actress and that's what I am today," she explains.

Growing up in Kushtia, Bonna's companions were mostly books. Unlike other children, she was not allowed to go out and play. Her father and uncle were staunch leftists, which had a profound impact on her views. Coming from a highly educated background, it is not surprising to see this dusky beauty completing her Masters from the Department of Theatre and Music, Dhaka University.

Gaining experience in theatre, Bonna joined the small screen in 1996 with Saidul Anam Tutul's Shukher Nongor. Since then Bonna has acted in hundreds of TV serials and has become a familiar face to the audience. However her passion is still theatre. In her own words, "People say theatre-acting is more challenging than TV-acting. I don't feel that way. Yes, theatre is demanding at times, but that's what makes it all the more interesting."

On her acting technique, Bonna emphasises on character realisation. "Many people think that acting is mere pretence. They couldn't be more wrong. To be credible, an actor has to emote with a character and become that character."

Being in the number game doesn't appeal to this Virgo at all. She questions the whole process. "I don't even know how someone's acting can be measured. What is the scale for measuring the number one spot? Is it based on quality or quantity? Do we count the opinion of people from all corners of the country? All I believe in is delivering my best and that is enough for me."

Bonna never faced any obstacle from her family when she made the decision to take acting as a career. "My parents may not have approved of it but they never said anything against it. That's the way things work in our family. We have tremendous respect for each other's decisions and independence."

Bonna as of now is not thinking about joining the silver screen. But she does not rule it out completely. On where she sees herself 10 years from now, the actress says, "I don't know what will happen after 10 years but I do know that someday I want to go back to Kushtia. I want to go far away from the maddening crowd and try to live a simple life. I guess I will never be completely urban, nor will I ever be totally rural."