A few days ago, a poem recited by 21 immigrant actors became viral on social media. They recited the poem titled "E Jatray Beche Gele" from their own homes, but the whole event was orchestrated by once-famous actor - Tony Dayes.
He has been living as an immigrant in New York since 2009. He spoke of his plan for this poem with The Business Standard during a conversation via WhatsApp.
The first thing he spoke of is his fears about the present coronavirus situation in Bangladesh. "The whole world is in shambles," he says. "Since Bangladesh is my Motherland, I am more worried. I really want everything to go back to normal soon."
Tony informed that though the situation in New York is quite worrisome, he and his family are safe. They are under lockdown and he only goes out for groceries.
Though everyone has become tired of the lockdown, Tony Dayes is extremely busy. He is working tirelessly at his home studio where he does voice recording and video editing every day.
"I am all about reciting; before I came to be a TV actor, I used to recite in a magazine show called 'Dorpon' on Bangladesh Television, back in 1986-87.
Around 1994, I joined Nagorik Natyo Somproday, only after that did I start to act and came to television even later," Tony informed TBS.
He further added, "Even now, I record my recitation regularly and upload it on my YouTube channel. Besides that, when I travel, I capture videos.
Afterwards, I edit and upload them on my channel and Facebook. Before the lockdown, due to my profession, I could not do this as much as I would have liked to. Now, I am doing it and it is keeping me busy."
Even though he is busy, he took up the project to involve 21 artists in reciting the poem "E Jatray Beche Gele", which is written by a young poet named Sohosro Sumon. Like a vow during the coronavirus pandemic, the 21 immigrant artists recited this.
The video accompanying the poem features Bangladeshi artists far from home including Tania Ahmed, Monalisa, Rumana, Jamal Uddin Hossain, Mila
Hossain, Shamim Shahed, Shirin Bokul, Shrabonti, Kazi Utpol, Tomalika Kormokar, Dolly Zohur, Shamsul Alam, Priya Dayes, Mohsin Reza, HIllol, Afroza
Banu, Nowshin Nahrin Mou, Khairul Islam Pakhi, Rowshan Ara, Tony Dayes, and Lutofun Nahar Lota. This production was dedicated to the frontline warriors of the coronavirus crisis.
About the poem, Tony Dayes explained, "When you are living abroad, you feel more for your country. No one can understand how much we love our motherland. So, when I saw people back in Bangladesh helping each other, I thought we should spread awareness from here as much as we can. Since a lot of people have become impatient at home, I thought of doing something that is both entertaining and also gives a positive vibe."
"At first, I spoke with Nowshin," Tony said. "Then we chose an uplifting poem and contacted everyone. They all showed a lot of enthusiasm. We made the video keeping Pohela Boishakh in mind. Now everyone is praising it."
Tony Dayes is planning some more videos to spread awareness. These videos will speak of Bangladesh, its people and their feelings. He also requested everyone to stay alert about their own health, because staying alert is the biggest weapon against coronavirus.