Born on August 18, 1948, Akbar Hossain Pathan, known by his stage name Farooque, has played a vital role in shaping the Golden Era of the Bangladeshi film industry. With a career spanning over five decades, Farooque has appeared in more than 150 films, many of which were both commercially and critically successful. This article delves into the early life, career, work, filmography, and achievements of this iconic actor and politician.
Farooque’s upbringing took place in the bustling heart of Old Dhaka, although his hometown is in Kaliganj Upazila, Gazipur. His father was a medical doctor. Farooque was actively involved in politics during the Six Point Movement in 1966. As a result, the Pakistani military junta filed 37 cases against him for participating in this movement.
Farooque also fought as a freedom fighter during the 1971 Liberation War. During Operation Searchlight, he participated in the first resistance of the liberation war in Malitola, Old Dhaka, as second in command of a guerrilla force. After the death of the initial commander, Farooque took charge and continued fighting.
Farooque began his acting career with the film “Jolchobi” in 1971. Over the years, he has contributed significantly to the Bangladeshi film industry, with milestone works such as ‘Golapi Ekhon Traine,’ ‘Lathial,’ ‘Abar Tora Manush Ho,’ ‘Mia Bhai,’ ‘Sareng Bou,’ ‘Padma Meghna Jamuna,’ and ‘Ekhono Onek Raat.’ He shared the screen with leading actresses like Bobita, Rozina, and Kabori.
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Farooque mainly appeared in films with village settings, where he established himself as the most popular protagonist. Most of his films were massive hits, and he is considered one of the most influential actors in the history of Bangladeshi cinema. He earned critical acclaim for his versatile acting skills.
Farooque was not only an actor but also a producer. He produced more than a dozen films through his production company, FP Films. Additionally, he was one of the founders of the Film Artist Association and the incumbent president of Bangobandhu Sangskritik Jot.
Business and Politics
Outside of his acting career, Farooque was a successful businessman, serving as the managing director of Farooque Knitting and Dying Manufacturing Company in Kaliakoir, Gazipur. Politically, he was associated with Bangladesh Awami League politics since 1966. In the 2018 Bangladeshi general election, he was elected to Parliament from Dhaka-17 as a candidate of Bangladesh Awami League.
Acting Style and Versatility
Farooque’s acting style was primarily characterized by his ability to portray a wide range of characters. This versatility allowed him to excel in various film genres, from action to romance. Farooque was known for taking risks and experimenting with different roles to gauge audience reactions.
Some of Farooque’s most notable films include:
- ‘Golapi Ekhon Traine’ (1978)
- ‘Lathial’ (1975)
- ‘Abar Tora Manush Ho’ (1973)
- ‘Mia Bhai’ (1987)
- ‘Sareng Bou’ (1978)
- ‘Padma Meghna Jamuna’ (1991)
- ‘Ekhono Onek Raat’ (1997)
These films showcase Farooque’s ability to portray complex characters and his commitment to the craft of acting.
Throughout his career, Farooque appeared in over 150 films, working with many renowned directors and co-stars. Some of the most prominent films in his filmography include:
- Jolchobi (1971)
- Lathial (1975)
- Abar Tora Manush Ho (1973)
- Sujon Sokhi (1975)
- Sareng Bou (1978)
- Golapi Ekhon Traine (1978)
- Mia Bhai (1987)
- Padma Meghna Jamuna (1991)
- Ekhono Onek Raat (1997)
- Ghor, Mon, Janala (Unknown)
Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
In 1975, Farooque became the first recipient of the Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film ‘Lathial.’ However, he declined the award.
Bangladesh National Film Award for Lifetime Achievement
Farooque was awarded the prestigious Bangladesh National Film Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2016, recognizing his invaluable contributions to the Bangladeshi film industry.
Legacy and Impact
Farooque’s legacy in the Bangladeshi film industry is marked by his dedication to his craft and his ability to captivate audiences with his versatile acting skills. His passion for cinema and his commitment to experimenting with different roles have inspired countless actors and filmmakers in Bangladesh and beyond.
Farooque was married to Farhana Farooque, and they had a daughter, Fariha Tabassum Hossain, and a son, Rowshon Hossain. In September 2020, Farooque tested positive for tuberculosis (TB) and was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. He remained in the intensive care unit (ICU) for four months. In January 2022, it was revealed that two of his flats, priced at 15 crore taka, were sold. Farooque passed away on May 15, 2023, in Singapore during treatments.
As a versatile actor, successful producer, and influential figure in the Bangladeshi film industry, Farooque’s life and work have left an indelible mark on the world of cinema. With a career spanning over five decades and numerous awards and accolades to his name, Farooque’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations of actors and filmmakers.