Vol. 5 Num 891 Wed. November 29, 2006  

Asaduzzaman Noor and Faiz Zahir bag awards

This year's Shaheed Muneir Chowdhury Award and Zakaria Smrity Padak went to Asaduzzaman Noor and Faiz Zahir respectively. The prize-giving programme was held on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Martyr Muneir Chowdhury at Mahila Samity on November 27.

Theatre personality Ferdausi Majumdar announced the names of the winners while Ramendu Majumdar delivered the welcome speech. Professor Hassan Aziul Haque was the chief guest. Professor Kabir Chowdhury chaired the event and M Hamid was the other discussant.

Shaheed Muneir Chowdhury Award was introduced in 1989 in memory of the martyred intellectuals during the Liberation War. The aim is to honour senior theatre activists or organisations of the country for their contribution to theatre.

The Zakaria Smrity Padak was introduced in 1997 to encourage promising theatre activists of the country. The award is instituted in memory of the late pioneering theatre activist Mohammed Zakaria, who made an immense contribution to theatre since 1944.

The Daily Star talked to the awards winners.

Asaduzzaman Noor
For his bold performance in diverse roles on stage and TV, Asaduzzaman Noor has won wide appreciation. His convincing voice modulation and ability to handle the characters have made his performance unique. Besides acting, Noor has directed and adapted plays. Moreover he is a renowned recitor.

He carried on simultaneously with cultural and political activities as a student. In 1972 he worked as an assistant editor of the theatre magazine titled Theatre. Later he joined Nagorik Natyasampradaya.

Noor's entrance to acting was rather unplanned, as he initially took the stage as a substitute for Abul Hayat. To quote him, "Two days ahead of the play Toilo Sankat, Abul Hayat had a serious accident. As a prompter, I had memorised the dialogues of all of the characters. The director of the play Aly Zaker forced me to take up the role."

For the last three decades Noor has performed in most of the theatre productions of Nagorik Natyasampradaya. His performances in the plays such as Bidogdha Romonikul, Milepost, Shajahan, Nurul Diner Sharajibon, Kopiniker Captain, Mohonagori, Godor Protikkhay, Galileo, Muktadhara, Shat Manusher Khonje, Mukhush, Khatta Tamasha and others remain notable in mind of the viewers.

Dewan Gazir Kissa and Mohonagori, two Nagorik productions, are adapted and directed by Noor from the works of German drama legend Bertolt Brecht. Of these plays, Dewan Gazir Kissa is the most staged play of the troupe. Moreover, with Ataur Rahman he jointly adapted Ferenec Molnar's original play Liliumand and titled it Venmpute Behag.

Explaining the reason for adapting Brecht's play, Noor said, "I subscribe to Brecht's ideology that admits the share of the working class in the wealth of the rich."

On his current endeavour Noor said, "I occasionally perform in TV plays and would like to continue. But, because of my involvement with national politics I can't give much time to theatre."

Faiz Zahir
Faiz Zahir is a promising theatre talent in Bangladesh. He is a director-actor-designer. From the beginning of his career in 1980, he has been involved with Aranyak Natyadal. "In Aranyak, I basically got the opportunity to apply my knowledge and creativity in art," says Zahir.

Zahir started his career as an actor; then he started set designing, light designing. Eventually he appeared as a director in 1991. His notable works in Aranyak are Iblish (as an actor in 1981), Guinea pig (as an actor and assistant designer in 1984), Nankar Pala (as an actor, set and costume designer in 1986), Joyjayanti (as an actor and set designer in 1995), Lebedeff (as an actor and designer in 1995), a puppet theatre production (as a director and designer in 1998), Mayur Shinghashan (as a set designer in 1999), Shongkranti (set designer in 2000).

Apart from his own theatre group, he also works as a freelancer for several other troupes in different corners of the country. Plays directed by Zahir such as Teerthankar, Che'r Cycle and others have won plaudits.

Zahir went into direction in 1991 with Manush produced by Bangla Theatre, a reparatory company in 1991. He has participated in professional training, workshop and conference in Bangladesh as well as in Germany, Italy, France, USA and others. One of his major works was conducting a workshop in Chuncheon theatre festival, South Korea about 'Learning various ways of expression, using puppets and masks' organised by the AITA/IATA national centre in 2002. He participated in a conference of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology in 2004.

Since 1981 Zahir has worked as an organiser, animator and facilitator in Mukto Natak Dal, an indigenous theatre organisation with a vision and mission to develop theatrical activism at the grassroots and rural level, particularly in Sylhet, Sirajganj, Kishoreganj, Tangail and Manikganj.

Zahir said, "I've taken theatre as my profession, which is quite challenging."

From left: Asaduzzaman Noor & Faiz Zahir. PHOTO: STAR