Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) along with the Bangladesh Nritya Shilpi Sangstha (BNSS) has chalked out a year-long cultural programme to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of legendary dance maestro of the country Nrityaguru Bulbul Chowdhury.
The inaugural ceremony of the programme was held on Monday at 6 p.m. at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.State minister of shipping ministry Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury inaugurated the event with BSA director Liaquat Ali Lucky cultural personality Kamal Lohani, Human rights activist Sultana Kamal and prominent choreographer Minu Haque in attendance.
After the inaugural discussion, a group dance event was held as a part of the cultural segment of the ceremony. Artistes from different dance academies including those of BSA, Pallavi Dance Center, Kothok Nritya Shomporday, Jago Art Center and others performed dance with some popular songs in the event.
This year-long cultural programme will include a series of events like dance festival on International Dance Day, country-wide dance competition, seminers on the trend of Bulbul Chowdhury’s dance, awarding the talented people and other cultural activities.
Rashid Ahmed Chowdhury, known as Bulbul Chowdhury, was a Bengali dancer of British India, and later of East Pakistan. He is primarily regarded as a pioneer of modern dance in Bangladesh. Chowdhury was born in Chunati, a village under what is now Lohagara Upazila of Chittagong, on 1 January 1919.
While receiving his secondary and graduate education in Calcutta, he came in contact with reputed artistes like Santosh Chandra, a sarod player, composer Timir Baran Bhattacharya, and dancer Uday Shankar and Sadhana Bose. These contacts spurred his desire to excel as a dancer. He got his break in 1936, when he was given the chance to perform with dancer Sadhana Bose in the Rabindra Nritya Natya Kach O Devajani. To avoid the conservative gaze of contemporary conservative Muslims, he took the pseudonym Bulbul Chowdhury. In 1937, he also helped in founding the Oriental Fine Arts Association.
Chowdhury was declared as the National Dancer of Pakistan in 1949. By sustaining dance as part of the Mughal tradition, he challenged conservative Muslim attitudes towards dance and helped making dance gain social respectability and popularity.Chowdhury wrote a novel titled ‘Prachi’ which was published in 1942. He also wrote a number of short stories. Chowdhury married Afroza, who was a dancer and actress. She died in 1990. Chowdhury died of cancer in Calcutta on May, 17, 1954 at the age of 35.