Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 1 | June 25, 2004 | 8th Anniversary Issue


   Editor's Note
   Cover Story
   Nothing if Not     Serious
   Slice of Life
   A Roman Column
   Food for Thought
   One Off
   Straight Talk
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home


One Off

The Stage's Most Flamboyant Actor

He is a man with many hats. More known as the flamboyant, burly figure of the stage and the lovable character of tele-drama, Aly Zaker has entered into the world of admaking with equal finesse. Recently, he has also delved into column writing. Here, Zaker, a regular columnist of SWM, talks about his multiple roles in the entertainment scene.

Which role are you most passionate about -- actor, director or admaker?
Admaker is a role that came my way when I was in Karachi loitering about as a fresh university graduate. I do it for a living. I came to love advertising much later in life when competition amongst brands, their makers and the ad agencies started 'hotting' up. I must confess that professionally I tend to excel in competitive situations. I love advertising more now than in the past. The trade has graduated from being mere advertising to 'total communication' and marketing plays a very important role in it.

Acting and directing are the passions I have pursued without any question of pay-offs. I have been with these two activities, now, for over three decades. I love them as I did when I started. But, of course, maturity comes with age and I do think a lot before deciding, more than I ever used to. All in all I must confess that I love all three with equal intensity but with differing attitudes.

There was a surge in the theatre movement right after independence. But over the decades, that spark seems to have diminished. How do you evaluate the present theatre scene?
This is a question that we are asked very often. My answer to this, as always, would be, no, it has not diminished. Theatre is equally vibrant today as it used to be before. You see, when the first child in a family is born there's a lot of excitement about and around it. On the 3rd February 1973, regular staging of plays by selling tickets had begun for the first time in the country. So there was a lot of hullabaloo. Now it has settled down to a regular practice. Therefore the excitement of the maiden venture has watered down. It is true that we are still confined to two or three theatres in Dhaka city. We are technically handicapped. Therefore the presentation is not commensurate with the acting or directional standard. However when it all started in the early seventies the attraction of the TV channels wasn't there. Now only the core audience of the stage plays come to the theatres.

What are your biggest weaknesses?
Tardiness in every aspect of life.

What is your most favourite activity?
Doing nothing. Acting, thinking, writing, reading and occasionally getting lost in the country side with my still camera. The most, of course, is doing nothing.

Were you always, even as a child, interested in acting? What was your childhood like?
No. My childhood was like a dream. I lived in Khulna and Kushtia with my parents. We were nature abound. The rivers Rupsha and Gorai, the "Kash bon" the steam locomotive meandering through the rice fields, the boats and the bullock carts still beckon towards rural Bangladesh.

What would you say has been the biggest disappointment in your life?
This is not the Bangladesh I dreamt of when I decided that I must fight for its liberation. Mind you, I wasn't forced by circumstances. I had deliberately and whole-heartedly decided to fight the war against the occupation army of Pakistan.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have been able to remain absolutely clear to my conscience for all my actions so far.

What was your first role on stage? Were you nervous? Tell us about it.
My first role on the stage was as the Neta (Leader) in Shaheed Munier Chowdhury's "Kabor" (the grave). This was a huge role and I was nervous like hell. But I suppose in stage theatre the audience creates a spell for the actors. It's like magic. This, of course is my personal view. So, once I am on the stage and see the audience in front of me, I am transformed in to the character I am doing. I love to carry the audience with me.

What has been your most challenging role on stage and on television?
On stage, several. Galileo, Nuraldeen, Dewan Gazi, Macbeth, Prospero. My most favourite, till now, is Galileo. On TV, you could say the inimitable Mama in Bohubrihee. And some others now and then. I am still awaiting the role, the play and of course the Director to be able to do something worth mentioning in the electronic media.

Has going into admaking forced you to compromise your acting career? What excites you about admaking? Can you give an example of an ad that you are particularly proud of?
Well, I became an adman much before I became an actor. Acting is my passion. Thankfully I do not have to pursue it as a profession. I am lucky to be able to choose my role, my time and my priorities. When others seek relief from various other recreations and chores I enter the rehearsal room. About ads, it's been a long journey of thirty five years. During this time several significant ads were made from the agency I work for. To name some, the Lux ads with our local celebrities, the Lipton Tea ads, the Close-up toothpaste ads, the Red Cow milk ads, the Ciba- Geigy ad on depression, the UNICEF ads on primary education, etc.

Do you think TV dramas have reached a mature stage or is there still a lot more growing up to do?
I don't think, in our country, TV drama has reached anywhere. We have miles to travel. Forget about technical skills, our acting standards are nothing to write home about. Well, there are exceptions. But then exceptions prove the rule.

Have you ever considered going into cinema? Why have we not seen you on the silver screen?
No, not in the conventional commercial cinema. I have acted in the parallel cinema of course. I have worked with Morshedul Islam and Tanveer Mokammel. If I am offered a role that I like in a genuinely good film, time permitting, I will definitely have a go. But commercial cinema is out of the question. It's business, not art.







Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004