Vol. 5 Num 1115 Fri. July 20, 2007  

A thespian on his illustrious career
In conversation with ATM Shamsuzzaman

Viewers are accustomed to watch him in negative roles. For his unique presence in diverse roles, ATM Shamsuzzaman has won several national awards. But many do not know that Shamsuzzaman is a screen-playwright as well. The busy film actor is frequent in TV plays these days. Currently he is acting in three mega-serials.

ATM Shamsuzzaman began his career as an assistant filmmaker. He has worked with many renowned directors including Khan Ataur Rahman, Kazi Zahir and Soovas Dutt. Reminiscing his introduction to acting, Shmsuzzaman says, "Amjad Hossain first offered me a role in his film, Nayanmoni, released in the early 1970s. After watching my performance in the TV serial Shongshoptak, Amjad wanted me to play the antagonist in Nayanmoni. In Shongshoptak, which was aired in late 1960s, I played the role of Ramzan."

Following Nayanmoni, Amjad Hossain selected Shamsuzzaman as the baddie for his movie Golapi Ekhon Train-e. His portrayal as the villain, in Dilip Biswas' movie Ashami, earned him nationwide popularity. From then on the powerful actor did not need to look back. To quote him, "The audience likes my natural way of acting and my comic expressions. I've developed my own unique style."

ATM Shamsuzzaman has also worked as a character actor in some films. However, since 1990s, he has not been frequent on the silver screen. According to the thespian, "I've rejected many offers as most of the current movies are vulgar and substandard."

The actor has now become busy with TV serials. After being absent from the small screen for several years, the seasoned film actor performed in a TV serial titled Greehogalpo, directed by Afsana Mimi. Soon after, offers from TV serial-makers poured in. Shamsuzzaman's role in Rang-er Manush was hugely popular. Currently, he is seen in several serials, including Bhob-er Haat. Shamsuzzaman says, "I enjoy working in TV serials, my co-actors and the crew. But, still I consider myself a film actor."

ATM Shamsuzzaman is optimistic about the future of Bangladeshi cinema. "A good number of educated individuals are now interested in films, which is a very positive sign. I believe Bangladeshi cinema will regain its popularity in the near future."

For his contribution to cinema ATM Shamsuzzaman has won several honours, including four national awards. He received the award for Best Actor in 1987 for the film Dayi Ke, as well as the award for Best Story and Dialogue Writer for the same movie. He also won awards for Best Supporting Actor on two occasions -- for Madam Phuli (1999) and Churiwala (2002), an Indo-Bangla joint production.