Born in Afghanistan's Peshawar town in 1944, Ilias Javed's family migrated to Punjab first, and then to Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1963. The choreographer-turned-actor has worked in nearly 200 films in his career – not having to look back after his acting debut in 1964's Urdu film, Nayi Zindagi. The beloved actor, who has an area in Old Dhaka named after him, talks to The Daily Star about his journey.
You used to live in Old Dhaka. Where are you residing now?
I have a lot of memories in the old town, especially in Siddique Bazar. For years, people have showed a lot of love and respect towards me. They even named an area after me, calling it 'Javed Moholla'.While I was stronger and fit to travel, I cherished visiting those lanes, where my friends and family lived. However, I am physically not as strong anymore, and it has been a long time since I last saw them. Currently I reside in Uttara, sector 14, Dhaka.
We heard that you were admitted to the hospital recently. How is your health now?
I am still undergoing treatment and consulting the doctor online with updates regularly. The doctor has advised me to have an ultrasonography test and also follow up with some routine check-ups every now and then, as my condition needs to be monitored regularly. My medication is showing signs of side effects on my kidneys and thus, I am unable to speak for longer periods.
Have you been doing okay with all the extra medical expenses piling up due to the treatment?
Currently, I don't have any work at hand. I have given my entire life to cinema, and never actually gave a thought to myself. If I had, then maybe the scenario and situation would have been different. I am grateful to our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has always stood by me.
Are you still connected with your peers from the entertainment industry?
When I fell ill, producer Khorshed Alam Khosru, Bangladesh Cholochitro Shilpi Samiti's President actor Misha Sawdagar and General Secretary Zayed Khan had reached out to me. There is honestly no end to your expenses once you are admitted the hospital, but I am grateful for the moral support that I have received.
Tell us a little about your favourite film and choreography projects.
I loved choreographing the super hit track Malka Banur Deshe Re, in the film Malka Banu, directed by Foyez Chowdhury. Moner Ei Chotto Ghore Agun Legeche Haire and Chakbhum Chakbhum Chandni Raate also come to mind. Acting in films like Malka Banu, Oneek Din Agay, Shahzadi, Rajkumari Chandrabhan, Kajol Rekha, Khaheb Bibi Jolam, Norom Gorom, Tin Bahadur, Chandan Diper Rajkonna, Aajo Bjulini, Chorer Raja and Jaalim Rajkonna, among many others, was memorable. However, the character of Kalu from the film Nishan has been one of my favourite roles till date.
You have shared the screen with many leading ladies. Do you have a favourite?
I have had the privilege to work with Shabana, Babita, Kabori, Olivia, Anju Ghosh, Rozina, Nutan and Shuchorita. Each of them were commendable in their own unique way. The Bangladesh Film and Development Corporation felt like home. As I walk down my memory lane, the glimpses of those glorious days flash right before my eyes.