Published: Monday, April 8, 2013

IN CONVERSATION

Shatabdi Wadud: Acting comes naturally

Photo: ATL Aakash

Photo: ATL Aakash

Veteran theatre performer Shatabdi Wadud is famed for his multi-dimensional work. The actor is also known for his skilful work on the TV screen, as well as frequent performances in films. His talents have been recognised by both fans and critics, as he won a National Film Award for his performance in the film “Guerrilla”. Wadud recently came to the Daily Star Centre and shared his thoughts and experiences.

Reaction post-National Film Award win for “Guerrilla”?

Shatabdi Wadud: It felt great when I first heard that I was nominated for the award. Initially I was hopeful of winning; but I still had doubts. When the gazette notification was published, it felt awesome. The most prestigious acting award in our country is the National Film Award. I feel very lucky to have won it.

What was the audience reaction to your portrayal of a Pakistani army officer in “Guerrilla”?

Shatabdi Wadud: After the movie was released, I went to several cinema halls. The young viewers shouted angrily during my scenes, and shouted with joy when I was killed in the film. I really enjoyed this. I feel it’s an achievement for me as an actor. If I failed to portray the character properly, I’d have failed to get such passionate reactions from the audience.

You’ve also worked in a film under the direction of Razzak?

Shatabdi Wadud: Yes, I’ve acted in veteran actor Razzak’s film “Aaina Kahini”. Shooting has been completed and it has also passed the censors. Imdadul Haq Milon wrote the
story of “Aaina Kahini” where I play an anti-hero.

Tell us about your character in the film “Jibondhuli”.

Shatabdi Wadud: This movie is being directed by Tanvir Mokammel, under a government grant. The shooting is nearly over. I play the role of Jibon, an instrumentalist who earns his living by playing the dhol. Jibon has a son and a daughter in the film. As the story progresses, the Liberation War begins; other dhol players and I plan on leaving the country. We join other refugees towards Khulna’s Chupnagar. But Pakistani soldiers kill 20,000 people there. Somehow Jibon survives and chooses to not leave the country.

What were your experiences like during shooting for “Jibondhuli”?

Shatabdi Wadud: As I played a dhuli, I had to observe their traditions and behaviour. I watched how they accept prashad during puja. I also watched the rites of Durga Puja. I travelled to Nababganj, Kaliganj and Netrakona towards this end. I also spent a whole night at the Siddheshwari temple to observe a dhuli who plays the drums all night. Mohadeb — a dhaki from Jessore — was hired to teach me how to play the dhol. It took me 20-22 days to pick up the necessary skills.

Have you worked on any other film recently?

Shatabdi Wadud: I’ve acted in a film called “Paira”. It’s a love story, where I play the role of an expatriate Bengali.

What are your targets for future films?

Shatabdi Wadud: It doesn’t matter whether I play the hero or the villain. I know how to act, so I will play the character assigned to me. I would prefer to choose films that offer me a greater chance to prove my acting skills. Just because I won a National Award for playing a villain, doesn’t mean I’ll only do similar roles. An actor’s job is to outdo himself; I want to achieve that goal.