Shabnam grieves the death of actress Kabori. She is anxious about actor Farooque undergoing treatment in Singapore. She is also concerned about actor Alamgir, ailing in Bangladesh. She is hoping they both recover soon and return home.
Shabnam, popular movie star of the yesteryear, was talking to Prothom Alo recently and her voice on the mobile phone was overcome with emotion. She choked up when talking about Kabori.
Shabnam has been in Lahore, Pakistan, for quite some time now. It was there that she learnt about Sarah Begum Kabori’s death.
“Kabori left us too soon,” said Shabnam, “It wasn’t time for her to leave. But the Creator has His plans, it is not for us to decide. But it is so shocking. She went to hospital and within just a couple of day, Kabori was not more! I heard she was directing a film. I first leant of her death on Facebook and was shocked.”
Shabnam can’t recall exactly when she last met Kabori. But she recalls, “Whenever we met, she was the first to say ‘salam’. She was so respectful. We entered movies around the same time, but I was older than her.”
“She was a good actress, very good. Actually, she was extraordinary. Her sweet smile was enough to win people over. That was her trademark smile. That’s why she was called ‘mishti meye’ (‘sweet girl’). In her very first movie Kabori proved herself to be a true artiste, and what a great artiste she would prove to be. She had arrived to rule the cinema world for long and that is exactly what she did.”
Kabori and Shabnam both had long careers in the Dhallywood tinsel town, though they never starred together in any film. But they would often meet up in FDC (Film Development Corporation) if they were both on the sets for their movies.
“Kabori was very good with her contemporaries and also very cooperative with those who came along later. The film world is our family and so even if we didn’t always meet, we always knew about each other. That is how I know Kabori was an exceptional person.”
Shabnam was also saddened by the death of Rabindra Sangeet exponent Mita Huq.
Shabnam regularly inquires about actor Farooque undergoing treatment in Singapore. She is also worried about actor Alamgir, being treated for Covid in hospital in Dhaka. She wishes their early recovery.
This veteran actress went on a visit to Pakistan a few months ago and is staying at a fan’s house in Faisalabad.
She said, “Shazia is a fan of mine. She has been watching my films ever since I started acting in Pakistan. We have been in contact for 30 years now. I had never met her in person before. I met her this time and am staying at her house as a guest.”
In the 70's, Shabnam established herself as one of the leading actresses in Pakistan. In 1988 she had a busy film career both in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Towards the end of the 90's she came to settle down permanently in Dhaka. She had acted in around 180 movies over a span of five decades.
When will she return to Dhaka? “Flights are suspended due to coronavirus and so I can’t return now. I’ll be back in Dhaka once everything returns to normal.”
* This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ayesha Kabir