After completing his three-year acting course at the prestigious National School of Drama, Baharul Islam preferred to return home than leave for the greener pastures of Bollywood. The experience stood him in good stead, encouraging him to do something for the betterment of theatre in the State. He founded Seagull, a theatre group that he set up with some actors, close friends and his better-half Bhagirathi in 1990, where serious training was conducted in the field of acting, direction, playwriting, stage drama, etc. In his 28 years in the field, Baharul Islam has acted in over 100 plays, directed over 30 plays, and has received numerous awards and honours both at the State and the national level. During this long and enriching journey, the prolific artiste even acted in the celebrated play ‘Heer-Ranjha’, which was produced by a London-based production house called Tara Arts, earning wide fame and appreciation in countries like Japan and England.
He always craved to act in Bollywood movies produced in Mumbai, which actually prompted him to enroll at the National School of Drama in the first place, but he changed his mind after listening to the advices of his renowned teachers. Besides theatre, he regularly wrote short stories and articles for various magazines and newspapers. He also left his own notable signature with acting stint in the mobile theatre groups like Kohinoor and Bhagyadevi. His contributions to theatre, in Assam redefined and enriched the Indian theatre movement as a whole. In the meantime, he also starred in a number of Assamese films, some fifty of them, made by both experienced and new filmmakers, including Pulok Gogoi, Gauri Barman, Munin Barua, Manju Bora, Upakul Bordoloi, Deep Choudhury, Bishwajit Bora, Himangshu Prasad Das, among others. Last year, he bagged the Best Actor Award at the State Film Awards for his performance in the National Award-winning ‘Alifa’. Interestingly, his role as the villainous Karim Gunda in Pulok Gogoi’s super-hit movie ‘Suruj’ earned him instant popularity.
It came as a heartening bit of information to everyone in the circles that Baharul Islam is currently busy plying the craft of acting in Bollywood movies, where he is acting opposite some of the biggest production houses and directors in the business. Some of these films are on the verge of getting released, while others are being wrapped up.
Speaking about his foray in Bollywood films, he says, “the dream, the desire to act in Bollywood films since my NSD days, is still intact. The star system was prevalent in Bollywood then, It wasn’t easy to get through the system. The scenario is different now. There are a number of young directors and actors from theatre getting a breakthrough, that too, quite often, in Bollywood films. Once it was Girish Karnad, Naseeruddin Shah, now the field is being held by the likes of Shahrukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, among others. The artistes want some variety, innovation. Acting in Hindi films allows artistes get wide exposure at the national level. There are opportunities of getting meaty roles.”
Meanwhile, he has signed on a number of films being made by noted filmmakers and banners. One such film is ‘Dil Besera’, which is being made by the well-known casting director Mukesh Chhabra. This film will mark his entry into Bollywood cinema. He has also acted in a major role in the Deepika Padukone starrer ‘Chhapaak’, which is being directed by Meghna Gulzar. Islam also plays a crucial role in the Ajay Devgan starrer ‘Maidaan’, which is directed by Amit Sarma of ‘Badhai Ho’ fame. In between, he also acted in Assamese director Bishwajit Bora’s short hindi film ‘Dhuwa Se Dhuwa Tak’. His upcoming films include Ratan Seal Sarma’s ‘Pepper Chicken’ and Biplab Kakati’s ‘Sweets pot’.
Baharul Islam is slated to act in noted Bollywood filmmaker Kabir Khan’s ‘83’, which is an autobiographical account of legendary cricketer Kapil Dev. He has, on the avail, yet another prestigious project, an international collaborative venture, where he plays the title role. Titled ‘Rohingiya’, the film will be directed by eminent director Haidar Khan. The shooting on the production will start in November. The movie will feature several internationally known artistes.
Baharul Islam will also play a major role in a film based on the life and times of famous badminton player Pullella Gopichand. The film will be extensively shot in Bangkok and England. The film has been produced by a Southern Production house, which had previously produced the blockbuster ‘Bahubali’. The film will be directed by Prabin Sttaruh.
Islam also found time in between his busy schedule to act in Assamese Films- Himangshu Prasad Das’s ‘Goru’ and Pankaj Soran’s ‘Ghost of Maikhuli’. Besides Bollywood and Assamese Films, he also acted in the role of the protagonist in the Bengali film ‘Five Days with a Terrorist’ which is directed by noted filmmaker from West Bengal Arijit Mukherjee. The film’s shoot will be wrapped up soon.
It’s worth mentioning that despite his hectic schedule Baharul Islam took some time out to complete his third directorial venture ‘The Seventh String’, which also marks his debut as a lyricist and music director. Whatever he is doing, be it acting or directing movies, Islam makes sure that he finds time for the stage. He is now busy with his new stage production, which is based on Anton Chekov’s short story ‘Boring Story’, scheduled to be staged later in the year. We wish him every success in his creative endeavours. This was stated in a press release.