The Selim Al Deen Festival opened in full swing at the main auditorium of the National Theatre Hall at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on August 19, through a ceremony that handed out a number of awards, and saw the staging of Dhaka Theatre's play “Dhaboman”. The festival is celebrating iconic Bangla playwright Selim Al Deen's 68th birth anniversary. Dhaka Theatre, Bangladesh Gram Theatre Foundation and Selim Al Deen Foundation are organising the five-day festival, with assistance from BSA.
The day's proceedings began with a children's art competition at the lobby of BSA's National Theatre Hall, which was adjudicated by eminent artist Hashem Khan. The festival was inaugurated by academician Dr. Farzana Islam, Vice Chancellor of Jahangirnagar University at the main auditorium at 6pm. The ceremony began with handing over a few commemorative awards. The Selim Al Deen award recipient, noted theatre and television actor Aly Zaker, could not attend the ceremony. He was reportedly abroad and could not reach Dhaka on time, and organiser sources said he will receive the award on the festival's closing day on august 23. The Mir Maksud-Us-Salehin-Bazlul Karim award was given to Liaquat Ali Lucky, director of Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation (BGTF) and Director General of BSA. He was also absent from the ceremony due to health reasons, and members of BGTF received the award on his behalf. The Fauzia Yasmine Shibly award is generally awarded to young theatre personalities, and this time was given to Sudip Chakraborthy. Sudip, who recently suffered a personal tragedy as his 5-month old daughter died, said, “I have been going through a devastating time in my life. Receiving this recognition and love has given me strength to stand back up and carry on with my art.”
After the award ceremony, the first stage play of the festival, “Dhaboman”, was staged. The play, directed by Shimul Yousuff and written by Selim Al Deen casts Shimul Yousuff, Shahiduzzaman Selim, Nasrin Nahar, Rosy Siddique, Esha Yousuff, Nargis Akhter, Asaduzzaman Aman, Shajjad Rajib, Rafiqul Islam and many others.
The festival informally opened the day before (August 18) when organisers made a trip to Jahangirnagar, where Al Deen is laid to rest, to pay tributes to him. A seminar was also held on the day at BSA.
Other plays to be staged at the festival will include “Rupchan Sundori'r Pala”, “Nimojjon”, “Swopnoromonigon” and “Neelakhyan”.