Better known as the 'Nayakraaj' or the 'king of heroes', Razzak has made great contributions to the Bangladeshi film industry. A proud winner of five National Film Awards, he has also won the adulation of millions. Actor-director-producer, the multi-talented Razzak ruled the cinema scene at the peak of his career, with every new release a confirmed superhit at the box office. The veteran artiste celebrates his 71st birthday today (January 23). On the occasion, here's a glimpse into his illustrious life.
Born in 1942, in Nagtola, near Kolkata's Tollygunge, Razzak was the youngest among three brothers and three sisters. His father was Akbar Hossain and mother, Nisarunnesa.
Razzak finished his first phase of education in Kolkata's Khanpur and went on to study at the Charuchandra College. He had a yen for acting from an early age, prompting him to join the Rongo Shobha Natya Dal for proper training. At the time, Chhabi Biswas was the president of the theatre group.
Razzak first faced the camera for the movie “Shilalipi”. He married Meherunnesa Lokkhi in 1962. But times were hard in Tollygunge, as there was hardly any opening in the movie scene. On his friend's advice he came to Dhaka in 1964 to try his luck.
Razzak's friend had written a letter, on the actor's behalf, to the producer of “Mukh O Mukhosh” (the first feature film made here), Abdul Jabbar Khan. Khan made arrangements for Razzak to work at his production company, Iqbal Films.
Razzak began working under director Kamal Ahmed, as his assistant, for the movie “Ujaala”. He also continued to act in minor roles and eventually he got the opportunity to work as an assistant director for Zahir Raihan.
At the time, Zahir Raihan was on the lookout for a young actor, for his film “Behula”. The top actors of the time refused to act as a corpse, for the most part, in the film. When Raihan offered the role to Razzak, the actor seized the opportunity.
After its release in 1966, “Behula” became a superhit and the Dhaka movie scene got a new promising star. Razzak was the new face beside tested heroes like Khan Ata, Khalil, Rahman and Anwar Hossain. Following the success of “Behula”, Razzak worked in most films produced before the Liberation War.
Razzak carried the momentum in films like “Dui Bhai”, “Abirbhab”, “Bashori”, “Etotuku Asha”, “Neel Akasher Niche”, “Jey Agune Puri”, “Dorpo Churno”, “Jibon Theke Newa”, “Jog Biyog”, “Moinamoti”, “Shorolipi”, “Modhumilon”, “Dip Nebhe Nai”, “Smritituku Thaak” etc. These films lifted Razzak to a more elevated status in the industry.
After the country's liberation, Razzak's first released film -- “Manusher Mon”, which was produced by Mostafa Mehmud -- was a commercial success.
Director Zahirul Haq pioneered the action genre in Bangladesh with his first effort “Rangbaaj”, featuring Razzak as the protagonist, in 1973. Razzak also made his debut as a producer in 1976 with the film “Akankha”. He received the 'Nayakraaj' title from the editor of film magazine Chitrali, Ahmed Zaman Chowdhury.
Even though Razzak was enjoying the height of his popularity, he kept pushing his limits, always giving the audience something refreshing. In 1978, he worked in the film “Oshikkhito”, playing the role of a security guard, which was groundbreaking for a mainstream “hero” of the time. He also played the character of a school assistant in the Azizur Rahman film “Chhutir Ghonta”. These two films brought a new dimension to the actor's career.
Razzak made his directorial debut in 1977 with the film “Ononto Prem”. He played the role of the protagonist, while Bobita played the female lead. The movie featured the evergreen song: “O Chokhe Chokh Poreche Jokhoni”. Razzak also directed an adaptation of “Chapadangar Bou”, written by Tarashankar Bandopadhyay.
He has his own production company, Rajlokkhi Production, and has directed 17 movies made under the banner of the production house.
The veteran actor acknowledges the help and support he received from his wife during his 45-year-long career. Razzak has five offspring: Bapparaj, Bappi, Shampa, Moina and Shomrat. Razzak still grieves the death of his eldest daughter Shampa.
Razzak was the first Bangladeshi film star to be chosen as a UNFPA goodwill ambassador. He is also the founding president of Bangladesh Film Artistes' Association.
This year, he received a lifetime achievement honour from National Film Awards.
On his birthday, Razzak wishes for the welfare of all citizens and hopes that no one is left hungry.