• Monday, December 04, 2023

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Bangladeshi actor on working with Shyam Benegal on ‘Mujib’

Mujib is co-produced by Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) and India’s NFDC.

By: Mohnish Singh

Bangladeshi actor Arifin Shuvoo says he considers himself fortunate that he got the opportunity to collaborate with Indian cinema veteran Shyam Benegal for the biographical drama Mujib: The Making of a Nation.

The India-Bangladesh co-production narrates the life story of the first president of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was affectionately known as Bangabandhu -The Friend of Bengal. He was assassinated in 1975 with most of his family members.

Shuvoo, known for his work in mainstream Bangladeshi films Purno Doirgho Prem Kahini, Bhalobasha Zindabad, Chuye Dile MonMusafir, and Dhaka Attack, plays the titular part.

“I’m still in disbelief. Till my last breath, I’ll be in a dilemma if I’ve actually worked with ‘The Shyam Benegal’, who directed Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Om Puri, and so many talented actors. I’ll just cherish this moment to have worked with him and play this role,” the actor told PTI in an interview.

Shuvoo said the director advised him to concentrate on capturing Rahman’s spirit rather than focusing on the physicality of the character.

“It was the most difficult role. My father is a freedom fighter but I’ve never been politically affiliated with anything. The people of Bangladesh have a picture of Bangabandhu etched in their minds, like the way he would talk, walk, sit, and everything about him. So, I started coping up with these external things from the first day.

“But Shyam Benegal was like, ‘He was just Mujib, then he became Mujib bhai, then Bangabandhu,’ and if I focus on getting the gestures and external things right, then I’ll find it difficult to understand Mujib. He told me to capture the soul instead of getting the external. That’s how the whole perception changed for me and that’s why I could do whatever I did in the film,” he said.

The 41-year-old actor said he was approached to audition for the role after Mujib screenwriter Shama Zaidi saw one of his films, Ahaa Re, at a festival in Mumbai.

Mujib is co-produced by Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) and India’s NFDC.

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