A young man named Abdul Mannan Mollah came to Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) in 1971 or 1972. The film industry of the newly independent country had just begun its journey with new hopes.
The aspiration of the young man resonated with that of the film industry. He thought he found a place that he always searched for.
At first, Mollah started working as a production boy. He also appeared in several films in minor characters. But acting was not in his vein. So, he started working as a serviceman in the mosque of FDC.
His job was to take care of the mosque, starting from washing to supervising everything. But that was a kind of volunteering. He wanted to do something on his own.
At last, he started a puffed rice shop in the FDC premises. The shop used to be operational from morning till midnight. The puffed rice of the shop became famous among the film-stars of different ages including Razzak, Shabana, Alamgir, Manna, Salman Shah.
Mollah is now over 70 years old. At present, he is ill. One side of the body has become numb due to paralysis. Now, he has to do all the work with one hand.
Like him, the FDC has also lost its heyday. The Covid-19 pandemic has put the last nail on it. Once Mollah used to sell 4-5 kg of puffed rice per day. But now the sales do not exceed even one kg a day.
That is why Mollah wants to break his 50-year-old relationship with FDC. He wants to return home. His wife lives in Muradnagar, Comilla. His children have got married and live in different places.
But what will he do after returning home? Where will his expenses come from? He said if he could open a shop there, it would help.
Mollah talked about his future with some journalists, who arranged a three-day (29-31 January) puffed rice festival remembering his service to the FDC people. Many film-stars, producers, directors, crew and journalists took part in the festival. They extended their humanitarian hands to help Mollah return home.
Among others, film-stars Alamgir, Anjana Sultana, Aruna Biswas, Zayed Khan and Nipun; directors Chhatku Ahmed, Shah Alam Kiran, Shaheen Suman, Bulbul Biswas, Shamimul Islam Shamim and Riazul Rizu; producers Rashed Khan, Rajib Sarwar, Jahangir and Zulfikar Zahedi along with different cultural activists actively participated and financially supported Mollah in the festival. Some of them presented Mollah with clothes and garland as well.
"I have been in this FDC for about 50 years. Many heroes and heroines have enjoyed puffed rice from my shop. Now FDC is not like before. So, I have decided to go back. I'm glad to see the way everyone loves me before I leave," Mollah told The Business Standard.
Actress Nipun participated at the festival along with other film-stars. She said, "I used to eat Molla Bhai's puffed rice. I have never tasted such tasty puffed rice anywhere."
Entertainment journalists Mazhar Babu, Ahmed Tepantor, Rahat Saiful, A H Murad, Asif Alam, Ranju Sarkar and Ruhul Amin Bhuiyan worked behind the scenes to arrange the festival. A total of 1 lakh, 81 thousand and 700 taka have been collected at the event, which will be handed over to Abdul Mannan Mollah soon for opening a shop in his village.
According to the organisers, the film crews, directors, artists have come together to help Mollah. "We are trying to send Mollah Bhai back home with honour. So, we organise this programme," they said.