Vol. 5 Num 946 Fri. January 26, 2007  

In Conversation
Amitabh Reza: Ad-maker with an eye on filmdom

Many a TV viewer watches catchy commercials of corporate giants such as Grameen Phone, Banglalink, Citycell, Toshiba, Labaid and Apollo Hospital. However, a sizeable section does not know the name behind these TV ads. That's the story of Amitabh Reza, director of these commercials. So far he has directed about 400 ads, of which Banglalink commercial titled Oi din ki aar achhe has been nominated for Global Mobile Award-2007 in 'Making Difference in People's Life' category. Earlier his commercial titled Grameen phone Ekushey February, grameen phone bhasha andolon bagged a prestigious award in Mumbai.

"Though I'm making many TV commercials these days, I'm basically a filmmaker. While studying economics in Pune, India I developed a passion for filmmaking. However, as I did not get any producer for films at the initial stage of my career, I decided to dedicate my talent to ad making. And it's challenging and remunerative, " says Reza.

Do the TV commercials have a social undertone? Reza replies, "There is no room for ethics in the world of commercials. One should know that the aim of the commercials is to sell commodities. The only responsibility of an ad maker is to present the commercials interestingly to the viewers."

Reza asserts commercials are merely his bread and butter. But he makes TV plays in pursuit of his passion.

On his return from Pune, he first made two single episode plays-- Hawa Ghar and Apekkhay brishti arekti goldfish-er opomrityu for BTV and Ekushey TV respectively. Since then he has made only five single episode plays and one mega serial. Says Reza in explanation, "As TV plays make me tick, I like to take my time over them. In fact, one can get the taste of cinema in my work and this is my unique selling proposition. This is also applicable to my commercials."

On his future, Reza asserts that he plans to venture into filmdom. To quote him, "My ultimate target is filmmaking. I've already got producers and I'm working on three scripts. And my target viewers will be the masses."

Reza expresses the hope that better times are in store for the Bangladesh film industry and there is greater teamwork in the future. He wants that each and everybody should work dedicatedly to achieve the goal. "I believe that the need of the hour is a film institution," says Reza.