Humayun Ahmed: The Creator of Versatile Fictional Characters
Publish- July 19, 2020, 06:50 PM
Rifat Tabassam - UNB staff writer
Update- July 19, 2020, 09:49 PM
Humayun Ahmed Novelist Bangladesh
Humayun Ahmed was a legendary Bangladeshi novelist who also proved his marvelous talent as a dramatist, screenplay writer, filmmaker, songwriter, and scholar. This wizard of words depicted the Bengali middle class through his spellbinding writings. He wrote more than 200 books and made eight films based on his own novels. Most of his books were bestsellers in Bangladesh. Ahmed is the creator of versatile fictional characters who belong to the broad spectrum of society. On the death anniversary (18 July) of this gifted author, we are going to remember some popular characters picked from his novels.
Baker Bhai was the lead character in Kothao Keu Nei, a popular Bangladeshi TV serial created by Humayun Ahmed in 1990. Ahmed portrayed Baker Bhai – starring by notable actor Asaduzzaman Noor – as a local gangster who used to patrol the streets with his two side-kicks, Bodi (Abdul Kader) and Mojnu (Lutfur Rahman George).
By his drama, Kothao Keu Nei, Humayun Ahmed tells the story of a socially unaccepted gangster, who dared to stand against social unfairness and fought for the defenseless, while the educated and respected civilians remained silent. In the drama, Baker was addressed as ‘ Baker Bhai’ by the local people.
The small motorcycle gang of Baker Bhai and his two companions dared to live outside of mainstream society. Baker Bhai was one of the great cluster-breaking characters created by Humayun Ahmed. Though Baker Bhai represented a thug, outlaw, and rebellious spirit, his courage against the injustice of society charmed the audiences.
Baker Bhai fell in love with a woman named Muna (played by Suborna Mustafa), who initially disliked him for being a rogue. Through diverse conflicts and circumstances, Muna started to like Baker for his bravery, sense of justice, and selfless attitude. She was the only soul who stood beside Baker Bhai until the end scene. Furthermore, the powerful acting of Humayun Faridi as a skinflint but talented lawyer made this drama more realistic, thoughtful, and enjoyable.
During the course of the drama, Baker Bhai was betrayed by one of his companions and was hanged on a charge of murder which he had never committed. The kind-hearted Baker Bhai forgave his betrayer friend before his execution. Both the Kothao Keu Nei series and lead character of Baker was so popular in the country, that mass street protests occurred when Baker Bhai was sentenced to be hanged on the screen.
Misir Ali is a fictional character who appeared in a series of novels written by Humayun Ahmed. In the books, Misir Ali is portrayed as a part-time professor of Psychology under the University of Dhaka. Though Ali is not a professional psychiatrist, he has a unique interest and some outstanding forte in parapsychology. In the novels, we found that people seek help from Ali regarding diverse psychiatric treatment. Though being efficient in solving mysteries, he never took money for this special service.
According to novels, Misir Ali is a bachelor living in a small flat with a servant. He lost both of his parents at a young age and was raised by his relatives. Though he is a chain smoker, he tries to quit smoking in every story. The mystifying but humorous lifestyle of Misir Ali amuses the readers.
Humayun Ahmed truly deserves to applaud for creating an intelligent and logical character who does not seem to believe paranormal activities blindly; rather analyze every case with logic and intelligence. He also maintains a personal diary called 'Unsolved,' where he puts down the unresolved mysteries. The character Misir Ali offers huge entertainment to the readers who love supernatural stories and enjoy the sequential untangling of mysterious facts.
The Misir Ali series includes 20 books. Debi (the Goddess), the first book of Misir Ali series, was adapted into the movie named ‘Debi (2018)’ by director Anam Biswas. In this drama, the character Misir Ali was played by the famous Bangladeshi actor Chanchal Chowdhury.
Himu or Himalay is another fictional character sketched by Humayun Ahmed. The character Himu first appeared in the novel titled Mayurakkhi published in 1990. Responding to the popularity of this novel, the author wrote more than 21 novels centering Himu.
Though this character is mostly addressed as 'Himu’, his full name is Himalay, which was given by his father. In each novel, Himu is found to maintain an eccentric lifestyle unlike the other youths of his age. His unconventional way of living is motivated by a diary written by his psychopathic father who wanted to raise him to be a ‘Mohapurush’ or great man.
The character Himu surprises the readers through his weird but amusing attitudes. For instance, Himu dares to mock the police officers without any fear of getting arrested or being molested. He wears a pocket-less yellow Panjabi and enjoys a nomadic life. Most of the days, he tends to walk barefoot on the streets of Dhaka city. During those endless journeys, Himu neither uses any kind of transport nor tries to reach any certain destination. Himu is unemployed and prefers to live on begging instead of doing any kind of hard work.
Throughout the Himu series, the unorthodox outlook of Himu keeps the readers captivated. While in real life, young people are often facing pressure regarding study, career, or relationships, the carefree lifestyle of Himu gives them temporal relief. In fact, many of us secretly bear the hidden wish to be like ‘Himu’.
Himu has some followers – including police officers, neighbors, relatives, tea stall proprietors, beggars, etc – who believe in his spiritual power of forecasting future events. But what Himu really does is confronting people with an unpleasant truth, which is quite rare in this sophisticated society. Instead of looking for logic like Misir Ali, Himu perceives that the strength of beliefs can make things happen.
The fictional character Shuvro was an attempt by the potent novelist Humayun Ahmed to portray a pure human being. The character Shuvro, whose name translates as 'White' in Bangla, is meant to be a pure soul, set apart from the complicated world. Unlike Himu or Misir Ali, Shuvro appears like a next-door boy with an easy-going character. Shuvro represents the iconic figure of a helpful friend who is always there to help.
Humayun Ahmed sketched his fictional character Shuvro as a role model for the readers. Shuvro is the only child of the couple industrialist Mr. Motahar (Iajuddin) and Rehana (Jahanara). The ideal mother-son relationship between Shuvo and Rehana makes these stories blissful. However, in some series, the author put Shuvro in dilemmas and revelations to test the purity of his soul.
From one book to another the character Shuvro shows significant versatility unlike other characters created by Ahmed. In every story, the common things about Shuvro include his name, thick-rimmed glasses, and pure soul. Shuvro owns a distant nature and acts as a bystander. He is not the protagonist who saves everyone, but he tries to alleviate situations in his own ways.
The character Shuvro debuted in the short story titled 'Ekti Shada Gari' (A White Car). As this character got huge popularity, Ahmed brought more novels about Shuvro: Daruchini Dip (Cinnamon Island), Megher Chaya (The Shadow of the Clouds), Rupali Dip (Silvery Island), Shuvro (Shuvro), Ei Shuvro! Ei (Hey Shuvro! Hey), and Shuvro Geche Bone (Shuvro Has Gone to the Forest). The story titled Daruchini Dip (Cinnamon Island) was adapted as a Bangla film in 2007 starring prominent actor Riaz as Shuvro.