Vijaya Laxmi Tripura
In the Bangladesh entertainment world, Ovi Moinuddin is a well-known and respected name. He is even known as the celebrity of celebrities. Recently he has received the award from Television Reporter’s Association of Bangladesh (TRAB). Housing and Public Works Minister SM Rezaul Karim handed over the award to Ovi. It may be mentioned here that, Ovi Moinuddin received his Honors and Masters from the Dhaka University’s Journalism Department. Immediately after receiving this prestigious award, Ovi Moinuddin gave an exclusive interview in which he has replied to a number of questions ranging from his personal life, professional career as well as the future of Bangladesh entertainment industry. Here are the excerpts:
Blitz: Congratulations on getting the award from TRAB. How do you feel about it?
Ovi: Every award plays the role of inspiration for every individual.
Blitz: You have completed your Masters from the Department of Journalism of the Dhaka University several years ago. At that time, entertainment journalism was not exactly recognized as “mainstream journalism”. Instead, while most of your fellow students had joined the so-called mainstream journalism, what had provoked you in joining the media as a journalist covering the entertainment industry?
Ovi: I was born and raised in Madhyanagar Bazar in Sunamganj district and had got my primary education from Madhyanagar Primary School. Later I went to Sylhet Cadet College and completed my higher secondary degree. Then I went to Dhaka University and obtained Honors and Masters in Journalism.
Since my childhood, I had a specific interest in cultural activities. Watching movies and listening to songs were almost like addictions to me, which have not changed even now. Due to my passion for cultural activities, I always had the desire of knowing more about the members of the entertainment industry. Since my university life, I had started writing for popular vernacular daily Ajker Kagoj. Syed Ali Imam Sumon is my guru, who had inspired me in writing. Later I enriched myself by working in the same newspaper under Afrad Ahmed Rony, Kabir Humayun and Khandakar Sohail. Mr. Sohail was a student of Dhaka University’s History Department. But he had suggested me to shift from entertainment journalism to other sections. But, being someone with an academic background in journalism, I did find lots of prospects in entertainment journalism. Generally, there is a perception – friendship cannot be built amongst an artist and a journalist. But being an entertainment journalist, I have not only been able to establish friendships with lots of artists but also had the opportunity of getting some exclusive scoops. Finally, I had found myself very much being a journalist covering the showbiz. Being an entertainment journalist, I have always tried to assist the artists in taking the right decision in their professional life. Moreover, I also have always stood with them during difficult times. Frankly, I have now become a member of the family of those members of our entertainment industry.
Blitz: Film and music industry in particular in Bangladesh are on the verge of collapse. There is strong sense of frustration within the members of these industries. In your opinion, how this situation can be tackled?
Ovi: It’s not only film and music, rather it is the entire entertainment industry in Bangladesh. I would like to make some suggestions, which in my opinion are the possible ways of overcoming the existing crisis in the entertainment industry.
First of all, I would like to focus on the availability of Bangladeshi television channels to the viewers in India. While we are watching Indian channels by spending millions of dollars every month, to my utter dismay I am seeing a sense of dilly-dally within the cable operators in India in allowing Bangladeshi television channels into their networks. But, for the sake of making programs of Bangladeshi television channels to those 90 million plus Bangla-speaking Indians in particular, it is essential that our government and the owners of the private television channels initiate a drastic drive in immediately making Bangladeshi television channels available to Indian viewers.
Secondly, I would like to request the government to allocate a low-interest single digit loan facility for the producers of films as well as possible entrepreneurs, who would take initiatives of constructing cineplex in Bangladesh. We have to remember a practical point – lifeline of every film industry is cinema halls and cineplexes. In Bangladesh, unfortunately, the number of cinema halls are on fast decline. Meaning, the scope for this industry is getting slimmer every year. This is an alarming sign. Once the government allocates low-interest loan for film making as well as constructing cineplexes, number of films will increase, while more people will be encouraged in producing films. Let me make the suggestion even more specific. For the sake of salvaging our film industry, the government should allocate a fund of say few hundred crore Taka against the annual interest of 2-3 percent.
Thirdly, in my opinion, for saving the music industry, first of all, we have to create skilled technical manpower such as sound engineers. Many people say, the quality of mixing and mastering of an audio track in Bangladesh are not up to the mark. If our songs are to compete with those in India, we have to initiate a proper working plan where technical people can get required training while there should also be scope for the producers or music labels of borrowing money from the banks again at a very low-interest rate.
I can say with full confidence, once the government can make loans available to producers in film, drama and music industries, these sectors will witness tremendous prospects in the days to come.
Blitz: At the beginning of this interview, you have said, there is a specific plan in your mind, which you are willing to share with your readers. Would you please elaborate it now?
Ovi: Of course. All of us know, previous governments in Bangladesh had initiated housing and residential projects for the journalists. Similar projects should be equally initiated for the members of film, drama and music industry in Bangladesh. We need to understand, artists in Bangladesh mostly live in rented properties, simply because, they don’t have their own house in Dhaka. This is truly a matter of grave concern. I would like to humbly appeal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for giving necessary instructions to the ministry concerned for planning an exclusive apartment project for the members of Bangladesh entertainment industry.
Blitz: Would you please tell us about your future plans and dreams?
Ovi: Yes. I want to attend various film and music festivals around the world and cover those events for the Bangladesh media. Moreover, I want to see film industries in India, Thailand, Nepal, Maldives, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, African countries and of course Europe, America, Australia and Canada and effectively contribute in covering those events for the Bangladesh media.
Blitz: Would you please say a few words about this newspaper?
Ovi: I would like to personally express my gratitude to the editorial board of this newspaper for kindly publishing my interview and for dedicatedly working in introducing Bangladesh entertainment industry to the world. Blitz truly is a very effective and powerful newspaper.