Theatre is still not a profession in Bangladesh-- Tabibul Islam Babu

বুধবার, ১৭ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৪

17 September 2014 Tabibul Islam Babu is among those theatre activists who closely witnessed the evolution of Bangladeshi theatre and played active role in the movement.

He has been involved with theatre since the 1960s when Bangladeshi theatre scene lacked an organised shape. However, the scenario began changing following the Liberation War, which eventually flourished our cultural movements. In a recent conversation, the thespian who turned 70 today shared his stories behind getting into theatre and more.

How did you get into theatre?

Tabibul: Though no one from my family had involvement with theatre, I used to feel a certain attraction for acting from childhood. 'Dress as you like' was a fascinating event that I used to take part in school life. In my childhood, I acted in a few plays in Barisal. Then I shifted to Narayanganj and first appeared in Rabindranath's “Sheshrokkha” in 1963, directed by the late Zia Haider. Later I came to Dhaka and got admission in Dhaka University. While I was in DU, I got involved with theatre. In 1972, the troupe Theatre was formed and I was one of the founder members. Our first play was “Kobor” and then we did Abdullah Al Mamun's “Subochon Nirbashone”.

Tell us more about your journey.

Tabibul: I am primarily an actor, but I am equally engaged in organisational activities. I served as a treasurer of Theatre for 10 years and took the troupe to Korea as the team manager in 1986. In 1982, when theatre got divided we formed Theatre (Arambagh). Later, Theatre got another division and some of the members formed Theatre (Topkhana Road). The troupe experienced many partitions. My troupe's (Theatre Arambagh) first production was “Jamidar Darpan”. In 1986, we received invitation from the Indian government to stage our play in Kolkata, Jaipur and Delhi.

In 1997, I founded Natyajon and till date I am the president of the troupe. My troupe's production Jotirindronath Thakurs “Alik Babu” was invited to India in 2006. I also acted in TV plays and shared set with actors like Bulbul Ahmed, Abul Hayat and others.

How do you look back at the evolution of theatre in Bangladesh?

Tabibul: Life was easier in the past. Then there was no struggle for life and no traffic jam. When group theatre immensely flourished in Kolkata in the 70s, it directly inspired our theatre movement. At that time we devoted ourselves to stage. I used to clean hall and sell tickets door to door at that time. There was only one venue in Bailey Road. Those days are gone, and Bailey Road has lost its appeal. It has now turned into a place for restaurants and sari shops.

What's your take on the constraints that our theatre faces?

Tabibul: Take Kolkata for example. A provincial capital has so many auditorium and halls, but Dhaka, being the capital of a country, has only two halls. Shilpakala Academy is the only place here but we need more halls and venues. Also we have no archive and it is very difficult to know about the past or go through collections. Here, theatre activists do little or no research at all and many are coming to theatre without proper training or academic qualifications.

Moreover, many are using theatre as a launching platform of TV. Today is the age of professionalism; you cannot spend your life in theatre unless it gives you money. But theatre is not a profession in Bangladesh. It doesn't bring you money. So it will be difficult to keep going unless we can bring professionalism in theatre and make it a job sector.

সর্বশেষ আপডেট বুধবার, ১৭ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৪ ১৩:১৯
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