Meril-Prothom Alo Awards: A glitzy silver jubilee celebration

Actress Tasnia Farin, Mehazabien Chowdhury and Sabila Nur perform at the 25th edition of Meril-Prothom Alo Awards on 24 May 2024.Tanvir Ahammed

Prothom Alo celebrated its silver jubilee milestone recently, and now radiance of that glory has reached the glitziest event of country’s showbiz industry, Meril-Prothom Alo Awards ceremony.

Issues related to newspapers’ role, quality of journalism and newspaper marketing in this era of online media’s expansion also came up in an at the event, albeit from an entertaining angle. Plus, there were light debates and jibes at parents’ desperate attempts at making their children come first at school and to achieve top spots in every sector of life.

And obviously there were glamorous dances, songs, skits and acting performances in between award distribution.

This time the award ceremony was held at ‘The Grace’ auditorium of United Convention Centre, right beside Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka’s Uttara. This is the first time this event has been held there.

Renowned anchor Hanif Sanket both planned and hosted the silver jubilee celebration. A total of 22 awards were conferred in different categories including special award in hosting, lifetime achievement, popular choice, debutant and critics’ choice. Dignitaries of various fields handed the awards over to the winners.

Actress Mehazabien Chowdhury performs at the 25th edition of Meril-Prothom Alo Awards on 24 May 2024.
Prothom Alo

The main event began at Friday 6:00pm. The showbiz stars and invited guests started arriving before that. A red carpet had been laid out for the celebrities and it was abuzz with their starry appearances. They shared their feelings about this much-awaited event of the year.  

Prothom Alo managing editor, writer Anisul Hoque came to the stage to announce the beginning of the event. He welcomed Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman to the stage. With greetings of Prothom Alo celebrating its silver jubilee he said, “The artistes of our entertainment industry are working really well to bring some joy into people’s lives even amid the wars and a deluge of bad news coming from across the world. After all, this event is organised every year to honour them.”

This event honours acclaimed artistes with life time achievement awards. Many of those artistes are no longer among us. Nor are some of the well-wishers. The Prothom Alo editor paid respects to their memories and welcomed those who had come to attend the event.

After that, Square Toiletries Limited managing director Anjan Chowdhury in his speech said that the showbiz artistes work really hard throughout the year. This award is here to motivate them by recognising their work. Meril will continue with its journey alongside Prothom Alo.

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At this point Matiur Rahman stated that Hanif Sanket had won the best presenter award at Meril-Prothom Alo Awards eight times in a row for his popular magazine programme ‘Ityadi’. Then he had announced that he would no longer accept the award in this category. After that the whole category of best presenter award was omitted from the event.

Hanif Sanket has hosted the Meril-Prothom Alo Award ceremony record number of times and that’s why he will be given a special recognition this time. Then Hanif Sanket came to the stage and Matiur Rahman along with Anjan Chowdhury handed him the special award.

After this segment the main event began with a dance performance on a song about newspaper titled ‘Gram Jonopod Shohorer Kotha’. Following the group dance, host Hanif Sanket took to the stage and then called his associate actress Naznin Nahar Niha there. He highlighted the traditional significance of this event in the last 25 years before the audience.  

Then it was time for the lifetime achievement award. When the name of veteran actor Masud Ali Khan was announced, the audience greeted him with loud applause. The digital screen at the back of the stage lighted up with a documentary on the life’s work of this artiste.

Veteran actor Masud Ali Khan received the lifetime achievement award at the 25th edition of Meril-Prothom Alo Awards on 24 May 2024.
Sazid Hossain
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Celebrated artist and emeritus professor Rafiqun Nabi handed him the memento of lifetime achievement while Matiur Rahman and Anjan Chowdhury stood on the side.

After that Hanif Sanket shared a few entertaining anecdotes. Then as soon as he announced the critics’ choice award segment, two groups of artistes led by Maznun Mizan and Jamil Hossain took to the stage making a huge commotion. In their humourous performance, they started arguing about ‘view’, a much-desired topic in trend now. Finally, actor Chanchal Chowdhury came up on the stage with the magnanimous duty of diffusing the situation.

Once the ‘view hunters’ calmed down, it was time for the critics’ choice award in web series. Clips from the nominated web series and the names of the judges were shown on the screen. Then, former advisor to the caretaker government, Rasheda K Chowdhury handed over the awards for best series, best scriptwriter and best director.

Exceptional performances in between awards

The event moved forward with exceptional performances in between handing over awards among the winners of different categories. At this point, Baul singers came to the stage. Pantho Kanai along with Chishti Baul performed the song ‘Jodi Thake Nosibe’, Animesh Roy together with Sukumar Baul performed the song ‘Bolbo Na Go Ar Kono Din’ while, Shofi Mondol performed a duet on the song ‘Tin Pagole Holo Mela’ with Fazlur Rahman Babu.

The critics’ choice award for best actor and actress in web series was announced after the folk songs. As usual practice, clips were shown on the screen while veteran actress Dilara Zaman presented the awards.

Once these awards were given away, an unusual environment was created on the stage. Journalists became busy with interviewing stars. While some went to talk to Afran Nisho and Safa Kabir sitting among the audience, some ran after Pori Moni to the stage. To create a buzz they started making weird headlines mixing up lies with truth.

The host Hanif Sanket then called Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman on stage to hear his advice on getting rid of yellow journalism. He said you have to be honest and aware all the time. Overall, this segment was quite enjoyable.

Then it was again time for announcing the awards. This time, theater personality Ramendu Majumdar handed over awards to the four winners in the categories of best director, best scriptwriter, best actor and best actress in short films.

Then there was a performance again. Hanif Sanket in his amusing way of dialogue delivery told a story about the air. Just as the story ended, a song about air titled ‘Baba Re, Chacha Re, Amare Bacha Re’ started playing. Meanwhile, actors Ziaul Roshan, Tawsif Mahbub and Shariful Razz took part in a dance choreography on this song.  

Actor Tawsif Mahbub, Ziaul Roshan and Shariful Razz perform at the 25th edition of Meril-Prothom Alo Awards on 24 May 2024.
Prothom Alo

The host then announced four of the critics’ choice awards in film and web film categories. Woman entrepreneur and the first woman president of BJMEA, Rubana Huq came to the stage to present these awards.

After these awards had been given away, actress Tasnia Farin, Mehazabien Chowdhury and Sabila Nur gave four types of dance performances on four different tracks including Bhawaiya song ‘Abo Naodarita Moriya’, ‘Rangamatir Ronge Chokh Juralo’ and ‘Surjodoye Tumi’.

No sooner the mesmerising effects of the dance performances wore off, the popular choice awards were announced. Noted singer Khurshid Aalam handed over the awards of best debutant actor, actress and best singers at this point.

After the musical and dance performances the situation demanded something off the track. Hanif Sanket had preparations for that as well. There was a special skit on the ‘desire to become first’ where the father wishes his son to come first.

Actor Misha Sawdagor and Sumon Patwari along with Mir Sabbir and Nasir Uddin Khan took part in this segment. In between their chitchats there came up the questions, who was the first person to cross the Padma Bridge on foot and who was first to take a selfie leaning onto the metro rail.  

After that, it was time for popular choice award for best actor and actress in short film and web series. Renowned actor Ilias Kanchan presented the awards to the winners in these categories.

There’s an extreme need of harmony in this era of jealousy and grudge. So, eminent singer Syed Abdul Hadi along with 10 young generation artistes performed a song of harmony titled ‘Esho Shobaike Bhalobeshe Daki’. He had Sabbir Zaman, Kishore Das, Apu Aman, Imran Mahmudul, Ayan Chakladar, Maliha Tabassum Kheya, Zinia Zafrin Luipa, Abanti Sithi, Shithi Saha and Atiya Anisha as his co-artistes.

Dancer Shibli Mohammad and Shamim Ara Nipa perform at the 25th edition of Meril-Prothom Alo Awards on 24 May 2024.
Prothom Alo

Before the curtain falls

The award giving segment ended with the winners of popular choice awards in film and web film. Famed actor Alamgir handed these awards among the winners.

Then it was time for the curtain fall. There lies a life full of opportunities ahead, but it’s not like there won’t be any crises or problems. Yet life doesn’t stop, it goes on overcoming all adversities.

Just as the programme began with a song on the topic of newspaper it ended with a group dance on a song about newspaper hawkers. Artistes of Nrittyanchal dance company with Shibli Mohammad and Shamim Ara Nipa in the lead presented a wonderful choreography with the song ‘Tumi Ki Dekhecho Kobhu Jiboner Porajoy’.

Their performance involved a large-scale digital print of daily Prothom Alo with a number of contemporary issues. The audience returned home with the pleasing effects of the tune of that song and the rhythm of that dance on their minds.  

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