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Novelist Humayun Ahmed

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Humayun Ahmed directed films based on his own stories. His first film, \'Aguner Poroshmoni,\' based on the Liberation War, won the National Film Award in total eight categories, including Best Picture and Best Director. The theme of the Liberation War oft

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22nd-Nov-2019       
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Literature Desk :
umayun Ahmed (13 November 1948-19 July 2012) was an author, dramatist, screenwriter, playwright and filmmaker. Dawn referred him as the cultural legend of Bangladesh.  Ahmed reached peak of his fame with the publication of his novel Nondito Noroke (In Blissful Hell) in 1972, which remains one of his most famous works, winning admiration from literary critics, including Dr Ahmed Sarif. He wrote over 200 fiction and non-fiction books, all of which were bestsellers in Bangladesh. Ahmed’s writing style was characterized as magic realism. Sunil Gangopadhyay described him as the most popular writer in the Bengali language for a century and according to him, Ahmed was even more popular than Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
Humayun Ahmed’s books have been the top sellers at the Ekushey Book Fair during the 1990s and 2000s.
Early life
Humayun Ahmed was born in Mohongonj, Netrokona, but his village home is Kutubpur, Mymensingh, Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). His father, Faizur Rahman Ahmed, a police officer and writer, was killed by Pakistani military during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, and his mother was Ayesha Foyez. Ahmed's younger brother, Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, a University Professor, is also a writer of mostly Science fiction genre and a newspaper columnist. Another brother, Ahsan Habib, is a painter and the Editor of Unmad, a cartoon magazine.
Education and career
Humayun Ahmed went to schools in Sylhet, Cumilla, Chattogram, Dinajpur and Bogura as his father lived in different places upon official assignment. Memories of these places have often been depicted in his writings. He passed SSC exam from Bogura Zilla School in 1965. He stood second in the merit list in Rajshahi Education Board. He passed HSC exam from Dhaka College in 1967. He studied Chemistry in Dhaka University and earned BSc (Honors) and MSc with First Class Distinction.
Upon graduation Ahmed joined Bangladesh Agricultural University as a lecturer. After six months he joined Dhaka University as a faculty of the Department of Chemistry. Later he attended North Dakota State University for his PhD studies. He grew his interest in Polymer Chemistry and earned his PhD in that subject.
He returned to Bangladesh and resumed his teaching career in Dhaka University. In the mid 1990s he left the Faculty job to devote all his time to writing and film production.
Marriages and personal life
In 1973, Humayun Ahmed married Gultekin, granddaughter of Principal Ebrahim Khan. They had three daughters-Nova, Sheela, Bipasha and one son-Nuhash. He started to have an affair with Meher Afroz Shaon from the middle of the 1990s. Shaon is a TV actress and then friend of his second daughter. Later, in 2003, Ahmed divorced Gultekin and married Shaon in 2005. From the second marriage he had two sons - Nishad and Ninit.
Death
In 2011, Humayun Ahmed had been diagnosed with colorectal Cancer. He breathed his last on 19 July 2012 at 11:20pm BST at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He was buried in Nuhash Polli, Gazipur.
Television and film
Humayun Ahmed’s first television drama was ‘Prothom Prohor’ (first moment) in 1983, directed by Nawazesh Ali Khan. His first drama serial was Ei Shob Din Ratri (Tale of our daily lives). It was followed by the comedy series Bohubrihi, the historical drama series Ayomoy, and the urban drama series Kothao Keu Nei (There is no one anywhere). The last one featured a fictional character of an idealistic gang leader named Baker Bhai, who was wrongly convicted and executed.
Humayun Ahmed directed films based on his own stories. His first film, Aguner Poroshmoni, based on the Liberation War, won the National Film Award in total eight categories, including Best Picture and Best Director.
The theme of the Liberation War often came across in his stories, often drawing upon his memories of that war and his father’s execution during the war. His film Shyamol Chhaya was based on the Liberation War of 1971.
Humayun Ahmed also wrote songs for few of his own films and plays. Some of the notables are titled as Ami Aaj Bhejabo Chokh Somudrer Joley, Chadni Poshor Ratey and Amar Achhey Jol.
In 2012, his film Ghetuputra Komola was selected as the Bangladeshi entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.
In 1987, Humayun Ahmed founded an estate called Nuhash Polli near Pijulia village, in Gazipur Sadar Upazila of Gazipur district, which grew to cover 40 bigha (approximately 14 acres). He would spend much of his time at the estate when he was in Bangladesh, formed a collection of statues there by local artist Asaduzzaman Khan, and of plants from around the world, particularly medicinal and fruit-bearing trees.
In 2012, he was appointed as a special adviser to the Bangladesh Mission in the United Nations.
Awards
Lekhak Shibir Prize (1973), Bangla Academy Award (1981), Shishu Academy Award, Jainul Abedin Gold Medal, Michael Madhusudan Medal (1987), Bacsas Prize (1988), Humayun Qadir Memorial Prize (1990), National Film Awards (Bangladesh) (Best Story 1993, Best Film 1994, Best Dialogue 1994) (Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Story Writer, 2012), Ekushey Padak (1994), Sheltech Award (2007).

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