Quazi Nawshaba Ahmed used to draw on her own when she was a child. She did not grow up in a typical cultural environment. She had a strong interest in learning songs and dances too. She tried these performing arts occasionally.
After the HSC examination, she got admitted to the Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka University. After being admitted there, Nawshaba got acquainted with a completely different world. She thought fine arts is the place for many lunatics like her who celebrate life in various ways.
The Business Standard recently had an adda with Nawshaba. In the beginning, she reminisced about her childhood.
"The movies of Sridevi, Madhuri, and Suchitra Sen were frequently watched in our house. I was very young then. I would sit with the adults to watch the movies. I could easily imitate those actors. I mean, I could copy their acting. However, I used to do these exercises sitting in the bathroom. I would talk and dance like them for hours under the shower. I was addicted to it. But no one in the house knew about my talent," she said.
"I joined the puppet show Sisimpur when I was in the first year at the Institute of Fine Arts. I started working as a stylist. Many then began to advise me to come in front of the camera. There was fear in the beginning. I was worried about how my family would take that. However, being inspired by my well-wishers I stood in front of the camera after the audition. I started giving Ikri's voice and occasionally appearing in front of the camera. That's when I fell in love with the camera," she added.
After that, Nawshaba gradually became associated with acting. She appeared in dramas, commercials and even movies. She also had an accident while shooting on the set of Sisimpur. She had to take treatment in India. After that, she had to move in a wheelchair for a long time. Everyone in the family thought that maybe Nawshaba would not focus on acting anymore.
The doctors also advised her to not get involved in acting or dancing for some time. But who cares! Nawshaba appeared in a movie named Udhao directed by Amit Ashraf. Later, she appeared in Dhaka Attack where she played one of the important characters. In the meantime, she got married and gave birth to a child named Prakriti.
In most fictions, Nawshaba is seen as an important character artist. Not as the usual glamorous heroine. Is it intentional? Nawshaba answered, "Honestly, I never thought about it. Character is important to me. And it takes a lot of support to be a glamorous heroine which I never had. I have been offered the role of heroine many times but it was later cancelled. Later, I was offered the role of a side character. But I have no regrets about it."
Nawshaba faced a crisis three years ago during the road safety movement. A major allegation was raised against her over a Facebook live. She was detained by the law enforcement agencies and spent a long time in jail. The case is still pending in court. However, there are no restrictions on acting or going abroad. If she wants, she can act regularly.
But Nawshaba is being excluded from many works due to that incident. Many people involved in the industry do not want to work with her. She has been almost ostracised. In many cases, she is being dropped from the final cast. In some cases, directors re-shoot her roles with other artists.
Nawshaba spoke frankly about all this. "Look what I have been charged with is pending in the court. The final verdict will come from there. I do not want to talk about the matter under trial. I just want to say, there is no travel bar or work bar for me. I can travel anywhere and work. Then why am I being excluded from everything? Why are they not giving me chances?"
She said, "There is a rumour that if you work with Nawshaba there will be problems. The truth is- my co-artists are the biggest obstacle to my work now. When the director finalizes me, the co-artists reject it. They put pressure on the director that if she is there, we will not work. When they agree to work with me on the director's request, they object to my character. Sometimes they change my character in the script. I mean, my co-artists decide which character I should play."
"In the beginning, I did not know about these facts. But now I know. Sometimes the directors say that they wanted to cast me for an important role after watching my acting in a small character. But they could not. There are also objections from many television channels about me. Why can't I survive by working properly?" Nawshaba added.
A year ago, Nawshaba went to Kolkata and worked on a series titled Eken Babu. She faced no problem there. She mentioned the incident and said, "On that note, can you explain why they are restricting me here?"
Many say that if she appears in a movie, it will not get a censor certificate. For this reason, she was excluded from a role in a movie even after shooting for 18 days. Mentioning this incident, Nawshaba said, "No one ever wants to know that I released two or three movies after that incident. These films were not halted by the censor board. Then why is this rumour is being spread?"
She reminisced about that bad time in his life and said, "My colleagues were not by my side during my bad times. Only some journalists and theatre workers stood by me. They are still there. To be honest, the few works that I still do somehow come through the theatre workers. Do you know the reason for this? The real art is practised in the theatre where the work is done with a sense of art."
"One cannot be called an artist just because he has money, fame or popularity. Sadly, many people with whom I have worked do not accept my Facebook friend request. They just assure me over the telephone. Now when I post a Facebook status after being upset, none of my colleagues wants to know- how are you, Nawshaba?"
"However, I received phone calls from Kolkata. Many of my fans knock me there and want to know more about me. But those with whom I have worked for so long and considered as a friend do not want to know my present condition. This is my great sorrow as an artist," Nawshaba said.