3 cultural luminaries honoured

The International Convention City Bashundhara donned a lavish look of revelry last night for the award ceremony and gala of the 10th edition of The Daily Star-Standard Chartered Celebrating Life, a film-making, photography and lyrics contest.

Besides recognising the best entries in the categories themed “Celebrating Diversity in Bangladesh”, three cultural icons were felicitated with lifetime achievement awards.

Visitors were greeted by an exhibition featuring some of the best entries in this year’s photography contest. The stunning visuals of diversity would set the tone for the grand night that was about to commence.

After the guests had been seated inside the Nabaratri Hall, a sudden hush fell over the room, in anticipation of the flute recital by the famed Murtaza Kabir Murad and his troupe. This was the first of many scintillating performances to come.

The Daily Star-Standard Chartered Celebrating Life awards

The lifetime achievement awardees — actress-director Shuchanda, singer Sabina Yasmin and photographer Nasir Ali Mamun — are all iconic names in their respective fields. On the 10th edition of this competition, their stellar work was honoured, adding a further glean to the competition itself.

A number of eminent cultural personalities — Syed Hasan Imam, Gazi Mazharul Anwar, Alauddin Ali, Monirul Islam, Alauddin Ali and Mustafa Monwar spoke about this year’s lifetime achievement award winners.

Nuhash Humayun, Hasan Mahmud Prottoy, and Salma Moon received the awards as winners in the film, photography, and lyrics categories.

Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu, chief guest at the event, lauded the organisers and said the culture of honouring talent and contribution was not common in Bangladesh. “If there is a cultural deficit, even a prosperous society can lose its way.”

The Daily Star-Standard Chartered Celebrating Life awards

A flute recital by Murtaza Kabir Murad and his troupe at a cultural programme during the 10th edition of The Daily Star-Standard Chartered Celebrating Life award ceremony at the International Convention City Bashundhara yesterday. Photo: Star

Terming cultural activities a difficult undertaking, he congratulated the award winners and the lifetime achievement honourees for their contribution.

Abrar A Anwar, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, said it was a proud moment to be celebrating the 10th edition of the event. He said some 45,000 people have entered the competition over the last decade, and around two lakh people attended the programmes at district levels. “This year’s theme for the contest was Celebrating Diversity. Bangladesh’s beauty lies in its diversity and I believe diversity and inclusion can take the country forward.”

The Daily Star-Standard Chartered Celebrating Life awards

Lifetime achievement award winners, actress-director Suchanda, photographer Nasir Ali Mamun, and singer Sabina Yasmin. Photo: Star

In his welcome address, Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, said, “There are many ways to develop a country, and the practice of culture is one of the most important of these.”

Terming creativity a nation’s biggest asset, he stressed the need for developing personal taste and a cultured mind.

The second part of the event featured musical performances by a variety of artistes, with Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya beginning the proceedings with the Rabindra Sangeet “Tumi Kon Kanoner Phool”. She performed a number of Tagore songs, followed by performances from Baul Shafi Mondal, a group of young talented musicians in a chorus and Adit and Dola. The curtain on the event fell to the melodious tunes performed by Xefer.

The Daily Star-Standard Chartered Celebrating Life awards

Chief Guest at the programme, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu, looking at pictures at the photo exhibition there. Photo: Star

The Daily Star-Standard Chartered Celebrating Life is a unique national-level contest that began its journey in 2008, aiming to discover and nurture the talents of budding filmmakers, photographers and lyricists.

Many of its past winners have attained wider success. Abdullah Mohammad Saad, for example, had his work featured at the Rotterdam Film Festival 2017. Another winner Lubna Sharmin had the opportunity of participating in Cannes Film Festival workshop this year.

Celebrating Life emphasises different themes. This year’s theme was an appreciation of the country’s natural beauty, diverse culture, language, ethnicity and arts.

The component of conferring lifetime achievement awards was introduced in 2010. Recipients of the honours include Mustafa Manwar, Shahidul Alam, Shubhash Dutta, AbdurRazzak,Ferdausi Rahman, Firoza Begum, Sheikh Sadi Khan, Babita and Ferdousi Majumdar.