Freedom fighter and six-time National Film Award winner Raisul Islam Asad is one of the recipients of the Ekushey Padak this year. He has entertained audiences for decades with his brilliant performances on the stage and television. He has also played notable roles in films. Currently, the actor is busy shooting for Shyam Benegal's film on Bangabandhu, a joint venture from Bangladesh and India. In a candid chat with The Daily Star, he talks about his hopes, experiences and more.
How do you feel about receiving the Ekushey Padak this year?
As a freedom fighter, receiving the Ekushey Padak is truly prestigious for me. Our fight for liberation was spearheaded by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I feel blessed to be receiving this award at a time when his daughter, Sheikh Hasina, is the Prime Minister of our country.
Receiving such an award brings about a sense of responsibility for any artiste. What are your views in this regard?
I have always tried my best to fulfill my responsibilities towards not only acting, but also other forms of art. It is not just my achievements that motivate me to be devoted to my work. I love and respect my job with all my heart, and I hope that I continue to do so, for as long as I can.
You are currently working with renowned director Shyam Benegal for his upcoming film on Bangabandhu. Tell us a bit about your experience of working in this project.
I am playing the character of Maulana Bhashani in this film. We have already finished our first schedule in Mumbai. So far, it has been a wonderful experience. This is the only project that I have taken up, since the start of the pandemic.
How else have you been spending your time, since the coronavirus outbreak?
I have been listening to music, reading my favourite books, and watching shows and movies. Other than that, I have been talking to my friends and loved ones over the phone regularly.
You have been involved with theatre since 1972. Do you miss being on the stage?
I certainly do. Being one of the founding members of Dhaka Theatre, I have worked in musicals, dramas, and other kinds of plays. I was also an active member of different drama clubs and circles. At the time, we had the Guide House Auditorium for plays. There were very few female actors. Now, I see Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy providing a platform for theatre troupes. I came across many new and promising actors, both male and female. I wish them all the best for their future.