The invaluable legacy left behind by the legendary Aly Zaker will be remembered for years to come
This year has truly been one of the most memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Many celebrities and stars around the world have waved goodbye and sailed onto their journey towards the great beyond. The news of celebrated actor Aly Zaker’s death came as a shock to millions who held him dear for all his contributions in the country’s arts and cultural arena over the decades.
The Ekushey Padak winning thespian and freedom fighter took his last breath at around 6:40 am on Friday. He was undergoing treatment for Covid-19 which he was diagnosed with two days ago. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her condolences saying, “Zaker’s contribution to the Liberation War and in art and culture will be remembered for long.”
The veteran actor took part in 31 plays and directed 15. He directed plays like BakiItihash, Bidogdho Romonikul and Toilo Sankat. Among many of his films, theatre work and television dramas, some of the most noteworthy were Aaj Robibar, Bohubrihi and Ekdin Hotat, where he captured the hearts of millions of viewers during the 90s’.
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Aaj Robibar was created by late Humayun Ahmed that was originally aired on BTV in 1999 where he played the role of Asgor, a socially in-adept psychiatrist and the eldest son of the family. This sitcom holds special significance as, through this, it was possible for Aly Zaker to reach audiences across three generations. Millennials became familiar with his work for which it did not take them long to fall in love with his brilliant acting. Bohubrihi was also one of the most popular drama serials ever aired on Bangladesh Television, originally aired in the late 80s’ to early 90s’. Similarly, this too was also created by the late legendary writer Humayun Ahmed. Zaker played the role of Farid Mama, one of the main characters of the sitcom. This role made him popular and soon became a household name.
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After the liberation war, when the entire arts and cultural arena was in shambles, Aly Zaker was one of the most proactive members to bring back theatre to its previous state. He was also the founding member of the theatre group Nagorik, working alongside his wife Sara Zaker and other celebrated actors such as Asaduzzaman Noor. Throughout his lifetime, he acted in a number of plays, both national and Bangla adaptation of foreign ones. Relatively recently, in 2018 Zaker played the leading role of Galileo Galilei, in the Bangla adaptation of the 1943 play The Life of Galileo. In 1984, Zaker starred in the film Agami in a lead role. The movie which portrays the great Liberation War has received the National Film Award for the best short-length film.
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He did not only leave his mark in the studio as an actor and director but in the business world as well. He was the group chairman of Asiatic 3Sixty, an advertising agency which includes multiple ventures namely Asiatic Marketing Communications Ltd, Dhoni Chitra, Talking point, MEC, Asiatic Mindshare, ForthoughPR, Asiatic Events and Moitree Printers Ltd.
His son Iresh Zaker was the one to break the news on social media where he mentioned the late actor’s four-year battle with cancer and his diagnosis with COVID. Many celebrities have shared their heartfelt messages on social media throughout the day. Aly Zaker’s longtime colleague in front of the camera Suborna Mustafa expressed her shock and condolences on her Facebook page along with prayers for his family. She was also one of the lead actresses in the television dramas that he was a part of.
Other notable members of the theatre and film communities such as Shahidul Alam, Joya Ahsan, Nusrat Imrose Tisha along with many others have expressed and shared their thoughts and prayers for the veteran actor’s departed soul. Musician Jon Kabir also shared his heartfelt message saying, “AZ’s passing is just heartbreaking, thank you for everything…” Millions of general people paid their respects to the veteran actor and freedom fighter on social media platforms.
The legendary actor passed away at the United Hospital in the capital. His body was later taken to the Liberation War Museum, where he was one of the trustees. He was buried at Banani graveyard with state honour following the namaz-e-janaza after the Asr prayers.