Few days back I was having a conversation with a friend of mine and I asked him whether he watched the Valentine’s Day special natoks or not. He looked at me very bizarrely and started laughing. He thought I was joking, but I wasn’t. He said I am still old schooled and should start watching western TV-series and serials. Surprisingly, he then started mocking our Bangladeshi natoks comparing them with typical Indian ‘saas bahu’ serials. I won’t say that there aren’t any of such types in Bangladesh but we have some great natoks too. Now a day’s people are so busy following the western culture that we overlook what is good in our local culture. Decades ago it was a common scenario in every Bengali family to watch various types of natoks with their family, genres of which range from drama to entertainment. Moreover, this was how they used to spend time with each other as well. But in this modern generation people are so occupied that family members hardly get to interact with each other on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, if they do manage sometime, Bangla natoks would most certainly not be in their watching list. They would rather watch popular western TV-series and some of them would even opt for the Indian soap operas. We do have great directors and producers in our country who make excellent natoks and believe me when I say this, they are much better than those Indian soap opera makers. We have many talented actors as well. As a matter of fact, our industry is growing immensely than our film industry. One of my all time favorite natok was AJ ROBIBAR. It was one of the best natok produced by a legend in Bengali media – Mr. Humayun Ahmed. In addition, it was one of the most admired comedy natok in earlier 90’s. Even when the show ran its course, it was telecasted on a regular basis. Zahid Hasan played a powerful role in this serial. One of his most famous dialogues from this natok was – “titli bhaiya titli bhaiya amar shob kichu hijibiji mone hocche”. The tone and expression from his face were simply amazing. There were also other famous actors in that natok and they were: Abul Hayat, Shuborna Mustafa, Ali Zaker, Assaduzzaman Noor, Shaon and Sheela Ahmed.
Zahid Hassan, however, is the comedy king of bangla natoks. His recent work which is truly praise-worthy is the ‘Arman Bhai’ series. He along with Tisha did a splendid job. The concept of the natok was very much appreciated by the viewers. He really pulled off the character very well and portrayed with true dialects of a guy who belongs from the Dhakiya origin. On the other hand, one of my favorite actors other than Zahid Hassan is Mosharraf Karim. He is extremely talented. I loved his work in GHOR KUTUM, RONGER MANUSH, VHOBER HAAT, and HAAR KIPTA, by Salauddin Lavlu. Having proved his talents as an actor, he successfully established himself as one of the best director and producer in Bangladesh. Noteworthy though, his natoks never fails to make the audience laugh! The best thing about his work is that he accentuates the local culture perfectly. His work has the flavor of Bangladesh’s rural areas and its traditions. All the characters of his serials speak in different dialects we have in Bangladesh which actually helps to make our generation aware of Bangladesh’s cultural roots. The stories are all related to villagers and their primitive lifestyle. His natoks not only brings out the essence of our country but also shows the originality and hospitality of our people. All of his work concepts are different from one another and when I watch these natoks, I really find the same joy when I watch ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ or The Big Bang Theory.
Apart from natoks, also we have some excellent telefilms around. Eid is landmark time of the year when we get to watch new telefilms. Now-a-days having so many local TV channels have made it really hard for viewers to decide what to watch and what to ignore. In one of the Eids, Airtel sponsored the telefilm named ‘IMPOSSIBLE 5’. The concept was pretty amazing. We have never had sci-fi or fantasy genres used in our telefilms prior to this one. The ending was very shocking and it had received criticisms. However, I was highly impressed that someone actually took a step forward and came up with a concept quite opposing to the mainstream serials and series. It feels great to see that people of our country are actually thinking of such concepts and putting them to use. Moreover one of the romantic telefilms, also by Airtel, was BHALOBASHI TAI BHALOBESHE JAI. It had multi cast and the story was incredible. The idea was not like any other drama or romantic serials but was very much different than the usual romantic stories. An epitome on how telefilms are attracting good casts in Bangladesh is shown by Tahsan, a heartthrob of our music industry, who acted in many telefilms. Some of them are NILPORI NILANJONA, LOVE LANE, MONFORINGNER GOLPO and MONSUBA JUNCTION. He has done a fantastic job and maintained the personality of a romantic hero very effectively in the telefilms.
Finally, I am stressing on the fact that we should watch bangla natoks and telefilms over western tv-series everytime. But it would be a good idea if we could at least try to watch one or two of our local productions once in a while. After all we are all Bangladeshis and it is our duty to appreciate what is good in us, and help the makers of these natoks and telefilms to even succeed more. Without even knowing our flaws we are comparing us with others. Everyone has different qualities and I believe our quality is being best in our own ways and style.
By: Sumaiya Akhter Nitu