Aref Syed is a popular actor, model and entrepreneur in Bangladesh, who played a great role in his first feature film-acting debut in Anil Bagchir Ekdin
(A Day in the life of Anil Bagchi
). The film is set in the backdrop of Bangladesh’s 1971 Independence War. Recently, he was awarded the Meril Prothom Alo Puroshkar 2015 for best actor, critics’ choice in April 2016. He has gained a name for his debut in Anil Bagchir Ekdin
. After the success in his first film, his next project is a Hollywood film titled Curse of the Kohinoor. Aref Syed is very excited about his next project because this film will be released both in Hollywood and Bollywood.
How did you get involved in a Hollywood film?
It happened very unexpectedly and organically, I guess. I didn’t know the team of this film in particular or anything really. It so happens that someone from the producer's team, the co-producer Sumon Arifin, was aware of my acting in the first short film I did in Bangladesh back in 2010, titled The Professionals
(written by Cal Jahan and produced by Bridge Entertainment Ltd). So when the team was looking to audition actors for my character in Bangladesh, my name was suggested. The team then researched my prior performances online through my Facebook and YouTube pages. They liked my work, and then invited me for an audition. Thereafter, within a few days, after the director saw my audition video (as he wasn't in Bangladesh yet), I was offered the role.
How did you feel when you heard that you are going to do your next project in Hollywood?
I only had two days to prepare for the audition, so I really tried to give my best, like I do for any project. When I was offered the role, I was quite elated of course. That's not just because it's a Hollywood film that will be released both in Hollywood and Bollywood, but also because it's a great character for me, that too in a completely different language, both of which I haven't tried ever before as an actor. So for that challenge itself, I'm really excited to be part of Curse of the Kohinoor
Which role are you going to play in this movie?
Aref said I'm not at liberty to divulge anything about the film or my role at this point. Except to say, it's a very exciting and challenging character. It is in Hindi actually, so that's also a big challenge for me to do as an actor. Not to mention, COTK is a swashbuckler genre film, which for me is a first, and that makes it fun and challenging. I couldn’t be happier to have the awesome team that I'm collaborating with on this project, including my amazing co-actors, Rahsaan Noor, Tarini Pal, Vritika Ramnani, producer Ridwan Zayd (from Ziryab Entertainment), and especially my director Raghav Murali.
You were awarded Meril Prothom Alo Puroshkar 2015 for Best Actor (Film) Critics' Choice in April 2016. Do you think this award makes you more confident?
Definitely, yes, of course. I'm so grateful for such an honour that too in my first work and my first film. I'm so thankful to the whole team of that film, especially, director Morshedul Islam and the producer Bengal Creations Ltd. More than anything really, I take this award not as an 'award', but as a huge responsibility to do better and take on more challenging and different projects as an actor going forward.
Your first movie was Anil Bagchir Ekdin, which is set in the backdrop of 1971 Independence War. Your next project is a Hollywood film; do you think it will be more challenging?
I feel every film and every character is a challenge if one is to do it, honestly. It doesn't matter which medium it’s in (TV, theatre, short film or feature film). When I did Anil Bagchir Ekdin
, that was the toughest challenge for me as an actor. Now, Curse of the Kohinoor
seems just as challenging, if not more. I love challenges as a performer because that’s how we learn and grow, and that's how we can try keeping our audience entertained and interested. It is also a huge honour and responsibility for me personally to be able to represent my motherland Bangladesh, and my Bangladeshi film industry on a global platform. I request everyone to pray for our project and me. I pray we make a good film with all your blessings and support.