The film ‘Jibon Theke Neya’, directed by Zahir Raihan released on 10 April 1970. The movie completed 52 years this Sunday. Many associated with the film have passed away. One of the major actresses of the film, Kohinoor Akhter, better known as Shuchanda, talked to Prothom Alo about the film and more on Sunday afternoon.

Kohinoor Akhter Shuchanda

How have you been?

Well, I cannot say I’m feeling the same that I used to 10 years back. Still, I’d say I’m in quite a good health, thanks to everyone’s prayers.

Are you at home?

Home, but not mine (laughter). Actually I’m staying at someone else’s house.

Your film, ‘Jibon Theke Neya’ completed 52 years. Do you think back of those days?

I almost forgot about that. I didn’t even realise how many years have passed. I suddenly remembered it today. It’s an unforgettable film. I can never forget that film, not until my last breath. Anyone who has watched the film even once, won’t be able to forget it.

But I find it hard to remember the exact date of its release. Sometimes, I even forget my own birthday. The appeal of this film will never fade. The viewers won’t forget this movie as long as they live. Movies like this aren’t made every day. Something like this is born once in a long while under very special circumstances.

Razzak and Shuchanda in a scene of 'Jibon Theke Neya'

Do you remember anything interesting during the making of the film?

I remember every detail clearly, clear as crystal. I haven’t forget even a little bit. The memory of shooting at the Central Shaheed Minar on the dawn of 21 February still is bright in my mind. Many people from nearby areas came to the Shaheed Minar with flowers on that day to pay homage to the memory of the language martyrs.

We were skeptical about whether we would be able to shoot well amidst that huge crowd or not. But, the most delightful thing was that, people who came there cooperated with us amazingly. I cannot even describe how cordially they helped us. I also remember the people we worked together with at the Shaheed Minar. Many of them have already left us for good.

Whom do you remember?

How can I forget people like Razzak, Anwar Hossain, Rosy Afsari, Rawshan Jamil, Shawkat Akbar or Amjad Hossain?

Do you remember the cinematographer of the film, Afzal H Chowdhury?

I met Afzal H Chowdhury just a few days ago. We went on a small picnic together. My daughter has a farmhouse close to Dhaka. Afzal H Chowdhury along with his wife came there. Actress Shabnam was also there. Many other people also came to that picnic. I cooked various dishes on a earthen stove and everyone praised my cooking.

Three sisters Babita, Shuchanda and Champa
Prothom Alo

What do you make the best?

I am good at all types of Bengali dishes that are out there. I have many meat and fish dishes. I cook prawn in one style, hilsa in another. I have learnt four to five different styles for cooking for other fish as well. People living at home and abroad or far away in America or London, who have eaten my food, cannot forget the taste. Even now, many of them praise my cooking skills over the phone. Some even ask for recipes.

So, I guess you enjoy cooking a lot?

I love treating people to my cooking. I simply love that. In fact, I cook my own food. I don’t eat food cooked by my helping hands. When I used be busy with shooting I didn’t have the time to do that. Since my film work has decreased I have been cooking my food myself. Still amidst the hectic shooting schedule, I used to make some special items like shutki (dried fish), chicken or beef. People used to say that they were delicious.

What is your favourite food?

I hardly eat any other fish than hilsa, prawn, koi or large rui. I like sour foods such as sour dal (lentils). People might laugh if I reveal my most favourite food. I just love to eat panta bhat (cooked rice soaked in water overnight). I cannot even say how much I relish shajna (drumsticks). People who know me bring loads of shajna from our home town Jashore during peak season. I eat that every day one way or another then.

How do you spend your free time?

I keep awfully busy. Although I am alone, many keep me surrounded. I don’t find any free time after talking to my son, daughter, and grandchildren. Plus there are household chores, cooking and prayers. All my life, I have made people laugh or cry through my work, even faced a lot of hardship. But, never gave up.

I don’t let in any negative thoughts enter my mind. I always try to think positive. When I put my mind to something, I don’t stop until I’ve done it. I got everything I asked for in life. I wake up before sunrise with the chirping of the birds and go to sleep early at night. However, recently I have been feeling like wandering out at night.

Three actress sisters: Champa, Babita and Shuchanda

Do you have plans to go abroad?

I have no wish to go abroad at the moment. We don’t even get chance to visit all the beautiful places that are there inside the country. When we would be filming, we used to visit so many lovely places. Sometimes, I feel like going to the hills or sea nowadays. They attract me a lot. My heart yearns to visit all these secluded locations.

Do you feel like making films again?

My desire to make films never ceased before and it will remain the same in future as well. If I have the strength, I want to make films till the day I die. Films course through my veins like blood. I have another deep desire in my heart. I want to make a film based on Zahir Raihan’s novel ‘Borof Gola Nodi’. The script of this novel is also ready. I wish to make the film if I get a good budget or a good production house to back in the project.