Wednesday (18 August) marks the 72nd birth anniversary of the Ekushey Padak-winning late dramatist Selim Al Deen, regarded as the pioneer of theatre in Bangladesh.
Like previous years, the day is being observed by several cultural bodies across the country. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the majority of these events are taking place online, the same as last year.
Jahangirnagar University’s (JU) Department of Drama and Dramatics that was founded by Selim, Bangladesh Graam Theatre co-founded by him, theatre troupe Swapnadal and other cultural bodies are organising these programmes to commemorate the life and legacy of the eminent playwright.
Teachers and students of JU’s Drama and Dramatics Department, led by its chairman Dr Soma Mumtaz, placed floral wreaths on Selim’s grave on the university campus this morning.
Later, a special programme, titled ‘Selim Al Deen in the story of Barin Ghosh’s picture’, took place around 12 noon.
Another programme, Masterclass, is scheduled for 3 pm which will be joined by Professor Dr Afsar Ahmed as the keynote speaker.
‘Salim Al Deen in movies’, another programme, will take place at 4 pm, which will be joined by media personality, director and Dhaka DocLab Chairman Nasiruddin Yousuff, apart from Morshedul Islam, Abu Sayeed and Nargis Akhtar.
All of these programmes will be streamed live on the Facebook page of the Drama and Dramatics Department of JU.
Theatre troupe Swapnadal is organising a two-day Selim Al Deen birth anniversary festival on Facebook, from August 18th to 19th. A documentary titled ‘Opariharja Selim Al Deen O Swapnadal-er Bondhur Obhijatra’ will be streamed as part of the festival on Wednesday evening.
Alongside the discussions, a video production of Selim-penned theatre production ‘Hargaj’ will be streamed on Thursday from Zahid Reepon’s Facebook page.
Bangladesh Graam Theatre, Dhaka Theatre and other organisations are also scheduled to commemorate the great dramatist through their own virtual programmes and webinars.
Regarded as the pioneer of neo-theatre in the country, Selim was born on August 18, 1949, in Senerkhil village of Feni. He was the third child of Mofizuddin Ahmed and Firoza Khatun.
He passed SSC in 1984 from Mangalkandi Secondary School, Senerkhil, Feni, and HSC from Feni College in 1986. During that year, he got admitted to the Bangla department of Dhaka University.
While studying in second year, he left Dhaka University and entered Korotia Sadat College in Tangail. After graduating from there, he obtained his MA degree from the Bangla department of Dhaka University.
In 1964, Selim joined Jahangirnagar University as a lecturer in the Bangla department and later founded the Drama and Dramatics Department, in which he served as its chairman. He also obtained his PhD from Jahangirnagar University in 1995.
A founding member of Dhaka Theatre, Selim co-founded Bangladesh Graam Theatre in 1981-82 with playwright and filmmaker Nasiruddin Yusuff.
‘Jaundice and Miscellaneous Balloons’ (1985), ‘Basan’ (1985), ‘Keettankhola’ (1986), ‘Keramatmangal: (1988), ‘Chaka’ (1991), ‘Hargaj: (1992), ‘Nimajjan’ (2002) are some of his most notable plays.
Deen died on January 14, 2008, at a private hospital in Dhaka. He was buried near the central mosque on the Jahangirnagar University campus.
For his noteworthy contribution to art and culture in the country, Selim received several awards, including Ekushey Padak in 2007, Bangla Academy Award in 1984, and National Film Award for Best Dialogue in 1994.