Your debut, Simanaheen was a quite a notable success when it comes to Bengali films. Tell us more about your takeoff in the film industry.
Simanaheen was the largest theatrically released Bengali film ever at the time, and that includes Bengali films from Kolkata as well. I was a newcomer at the time, and it helped me gain recognition and get many exclusive deals abroad. I went on to star in the independent Bollywood film The Spectacular Jihad of Taz Rahim, where I played the titular character alongside Monica Dogra, who is well known for her role in films like Rock On, Dhobi Ghaat, etc. After that, I had to take a break because my father unfortunately had an accident. My upcoming film, Bengali Beauty is my comeback film.
Tell us more about Bengali Beauty.
Bengali Beauty is a film about a love story in 1970’s Bangladesh. I have played the lead role and directed it myself. I will not the spoil the story for you, but I will say that it is a unique story that I am confident everyone will enjoy. Mumtaheena Toya is the lead actress, along with a very talented cast which includes the likes of Sarah Alam, Ashfique Rizwan, Masum Basher, GM Shahidul Alam, Naziba Basher, Naila Azad and Pijush Bandhopadhyay. The music is directed by Raghav Murali. The film is produced by Ziryab Films.
You've done quite well for yourself in the West. Do you plan to replicate that success here in the Bangladeshi film industry?
Absolutely. Even though I live in the US, I plan to work regularly in Bangladeshi films. I have a base of operations here; I can stay as long as it is needed if I shoot here. However, I still plan on doing international projects. I will start shooting for another film called Dhaka Diaries, which will be directed by Bangladesh's Rafi Tamjid. I will be working alongside Soumitra Chatterjee, Victor Banerjee and Prachi Mishra.
Tell us about your life in the US. Did you always aspire to be an actor?
I grew up in Chicago, the city of broad shoulders, as they say! (Laughs) Growing up, I played college level basketball and idolized Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. I took acting courses in The Second City Chicago, which is one of the more prestigious acting schools there. Personalities like Mike Myers, Tina Fey and Steve Carell among many others have graduated from here. You can say that this kickstarted my acting career.
Any message for the readers of Star Showbiz?
I just want to say that I am grateful to the fans that have supported me throughout my career. Now that I am turning a new leaf, I would like everyone to watch Bengali Beauty; we really worked hard on it. You will not be disappointed.
Interviewed by Sadi Mohammad Shahnewaz
On the October 14 edition of Star Showbiz, the makeup for Jannatul Ferdoush Peya and Shampa Reza was done by Farzana Munny, the credit for which was mistakenly omitted. We apologize for the omission and clarify that the makeup credit will indeed go to Farzana Munny.