[The editorial policy of Blitz requires rewriting of an interviewee’s answers to make them concise and suitable for our global audience. However, we have kept Himu Akram’s transcript unaltered]
In the Bangladeshi entertainment industry, Himu Akram is a name popular for his dexterity in making dramas, telefilms, and small-screen contents. He has established himself as one of the most prolific makers in the past 14 years. He has a very simple anecdote about his brilliant story-telling on TV.
Today’s long talk is with the drama-maker Himu Akram.
Blitz: You shuttle between the US and Bangladesh. Does it not hamper your career as a drama-maker?
Himu: I have been coming and going to America for about 9 years. I am a citizen of the United States. But I do not stay there permanently. I come to Bangladesh only for the love of drama-making. And going to work regularly. I am the only Bangladeshi playwright to have a US citizenship. I come to the country and shoot in Pubail. Many directors, producers are surprised when they see me shooting in Bangladesh. Because no one leaves the American Dream [referring to the American society being a dream for many people living in developing nations] and falls in love with drama in Bangladesh. I am a storyteller. I love making drama. So, I never moved away from drama.
Blitz: Has living in the US made you detached from the Bangladeshi entertainment industry?
Himu: Not in my case! Although I am not in the country, I am on the TV screen regularly [my works are aired on Bangladeshi TV channels regularly]. [During my stay in Bangladesh] I shot TV series and many telefilms. When I was in America, these were regularly broadcast on television channels.
Blitz: Nowadays, many young makers are entering the entertainment industry. How do you see this?
Himu: It’s positive. Now we should work in a competitive environment. It’s time to think about who can work better. The good news is that young creators in our media are making really impressive work.
Blitz: How do you make memorable stories?
Himu: For that one needs to be a story-maker. Don’t just be a good creator, be a good story-maker. If you do not understand the story then there will never be a good drama. Mosharraf Karim, Afran Nisho, Apurba, Mehjabeen, Tisha are good artists who understand a good story. The correct casting with good stories can appeal to the audience.
Blitz: Can YouTube views be used as a measure to determine the quality of a story?
Himu: It’s totally unreasonable. There are numerous substandard contents on YouTube, whose views are three to four million. Unfortunately, these contents do not have the material that can be watched even for ten minutes with family members. We have the culture of seeing the drama saturated with the whole family [saturated with emotions]. We have been there since the 90s. YouTube will move away from some viewers of drama. If the quality is not tested. What is the benefit of boosting the view by just boosting, if not the viewers mind! [Many contents use bots or the likes to increase views, so the quality cannot be determined based on views]
Blitz: Tell us about your career as a writer and your recent works
Himu: My first story was printed in 2000 in Weekly Jai Jai Din. The name of story was “opekkhha”. Since then, numerous short stories have been published in the literature section of various newspapers. My first book named “Se rate bristi chilo” was published in 2006. My second book, “Kichu jol kichu sunnota ghire”, was published in 2008. [I am currently] writing a new story in Prothom Alo, “janalay ase na keu”. It will come [will be available in a book format] in the upcoming book fair.
Blitz: Tell us about the dramas you have written
Himu: I made my first drama, ‘Shagor dakiese tare’, in 2007 which was aired on Channel I. Then I did not stop. In the past 13 years, I have worked with single dramas, telefilm, series, advertisement – almost 400 of them. Like, jolchaap, morche pora shikol, palki, 72 ghonta, matir kathal, noor Alamer cassettes, Kangkabatir chithi, Joynal jadukor,Golmal,Nojir Bihin Nojor Ali, Poncho Premik,ChompaKoli Takiz, Pagla Daktarer Pach Chele,Bideshi Para, Iskander Shah Ekjon Superstar, Shanti Molom Dosh Taka are among the favorite plays.
Victorian Lanes is a member of the International Editorial Board of Blitz