Fazle Lohani, a renowned journalist, writer, television presenter and a filmmaker, is such a personality who needs no introduction to the TV viewers during the 80s.
There is no denying that Lohani rose to fame through the immense popularity of his magazine programme on the BTV, titled ‘Jodi Kichhu Mone Na Koren’.
With the passage of time, some of us may forget this great personality, but many of us still remember this gentleman, shed tears for him and pray for the eternal peace of his departed soul.
Known for his cheeky and jovial sense of humour, Fazle Lohani was a man who thought of people, entertained people, worked for people and stood by people in times of troubles.
‘Jodi Kichhu Mone Na Koren’ was not mere a TV programme rather it was a programme through which Lohani revealed diaparity and depravity in the society.
Near and dear ones and different cultural organisations remembered Fazle Lohani by organising memorial meetings and dua mahfils on October 30, the day he breathed his last at his Elephant Road residence in Dhaka in 1985.
There are some people on earth who live for others and die for others and Lohani was such a personality. Being a journalist of the BBC, Lohani had little pride in his heart. In all his life, he struggled for the good of the neglected part of the society.
Working for the BBC about a decade, Lohani came back to Dhaka in the 60s and started working as a journalist and continued writing as a profession. Inspired by the idea of ‘The David Frost Show’ on the BBC, Fazle Lohani developed a new concept of magazine programme, titled ‘Jodi Kichhu Mone Na Koren’, in 1979. It was completely a new experience for the BTV audience and within a month it turned out to be the most popular show on the channel. The programme featuring skits, quiz rounds for the audience, and other entertaining items, was recorded in presence of a live studio audience.
Sometime around 1983, this scribe, along with some erosion-hit people from Sariakandi upazila of Bogra district, met Fazle Lohani at his Segunbagicha office in Dhaka. We asked him to make a report on the erosion-hit people of the upazila. Though, at that moment, Lohani was very busy making another film, after his first movie ‘Pension’ was flopped, he spared a few days from his busy schedule and finally agreed to make a TV report on the erosion-hit people of Sariakandi upazila, who lost their land and homesteads to the mighty Jamuna. The report was done properly and aired on ‘Jodi Kichhu Mone Na Koren’. As the direct result of that report, the government, later, came forward to making a ‘Beri Bandh’ (dyke) on the mighty Jamuna in Sariakandi upazila to check the erosion.
It is worth mentioning here that Lohani was the man who first introduced TV reporting in the country and showed the power of electronic media. Lohani and his camera crew travelled accross the country, made reports on rural and urban life, social irregularities and even on international politics. And those reports were broadcast through his programme on the BTV. His TV report on the Palestinian people, which was aired through his programme ‘Jodi Kichhu Mone Na Koren’, still moves the hearts of millions.
It was Fazle Lohani who respected talented artistes and helped them make a niche in the cultural arena. And the names those come first are TV presenter Hanif Sanket and mime maestro Partha Pratim. It was Lohani who found genius in Hanif Sanket and inspired him to join the electronic media. He asked Partha Pratim to perform the art of mime in ‘Jodi Kichhu Money Na Koren’ and Partha performed the art and earned huge popularity through his participation in that programme. And thus, the Bangladeshi TV viewers could enjoy and appreciate the form of art called mime.
Fazle Lohani was born in a famous Muslim family at Kaulia village in Sirajganj district on March 12, 1928. His father Abu Lohani was a journalist-academic and mother Fatema Lohani was a teacher. In his academic and cultural life, Fazle Lohani was greatly inspired by his brother Fateh Lohani who was a famous actor, film director, writer and journalist.
Lohani published a weekly, The Purbabangla, from Dhaka in 1947 and The Agatya, a high quality monthly magazine of literature and culture in 1949. The main focus of Agatya was on literature and culture in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). It remains a signature periodical in the history of Bangladesh's socio-cultural movement.
The journalists who ventured to bring out The Agatya confronted great odds in those days.
The Agatya had a significant role in vocalising the cause of the Bengali people and in setting the trend and standards of progressive literary and social thinking in the Dhaka of the early 50s.
Fazle Lohani went to England in the 1950s and worked in BBC. On his return from England in late 1960s, he started working as a journalist. It is Fazle Lohani who penned the legendary song ‘Salam salam hajar salam...’ sung by Abdul Jabbar and broadcast by Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro in 1971.
He directed and presented a popular TV programme ‘Jodi Kichhu Mane Na Karen’ during 1977-1985. He also produced a film ‘Pension’. One of his famous books is ‘Maheepurer Prantar’.
Fazle Lohani is survived by his wife Elizabeth, son David, who are British citizens, and millions of fans at home and abroad.
Fazle Lohani will forever be missed and his influence eternally felt. May God bless his soul and give him place in heaven .