The lovely Alisha Islam has graced the pages of this magazine earlier this year in our Eid portfolios. We got on the phone with the Miss Universe Bangladesh runner up this time to talk about her big screen debut
By Zariat Mushfique Khan
You’re playing the role of a BCI agent, Nabonita, can you tell me about the prep for the role?
Preparing for my role was actually a really long journey. It started during Covid times. I had just started my career; I became the first runner up of Miss Universe Bangladesh 2019.
We did fight classes with Rumi Khushru bhaiya for almost two, or more than two years. He trains army officers If I’m not mistaken. We also did acting classes with Pavel bhaiya who works at Prachyanat.
How are you feeling about your first ever movie role?
It’s an amazing opportunity. I’m quite overwhelmed, I could not have asked for a better platform or a better project to launch myself. This is the first time Dhallywood and Hollywood are collaborating. I feel blessed that I am being launched through such a movie with so much history.
Were you a fan of Masud Rana as a child?
My introduction to Masud Rana was actually through this movie. I have yet to read the books about Masud Rana, but I have read our script. I have had a lot of time with everyone guiding me with my character, telling me what exactly this movie is going to be and how important this film is for Bangladesh, for our industry especially. We all get the vibe. When we were doing the acting classes, the four of us used to do the classes together. Starting from the voice modulations, the way I am supposed to present myself, to the body language and everything else. I think I slowly began to understand a lot of it because of this movie.
I believe that this generation does not know much about Masud Rana. But, he has been a hero for my mom, my aunt, and my grandparents. It is a great, great feeling to be a part of such an iconic movie.
Can you share some stories from behind the scenes of the movie’s shooting?
In the case of the three of us – Jessia, Sajjad, and I – we did our shooting in Dhaka. We always had the fight director always on set. Our director, Asif Akbar, would let the artist be themselves. He would absolutely get the job done, but he also provided that comfort zone for us. We spent a lot of time together, aside from just the practice sessions, as a team. There were often times we would have to have our lunch, dinner together, chitchat, joke around.
The weather was a little hot if I remember correctly. We were shooting in locations such as Sadarghat, Puran Dhaka. Shooting in these locations, a lot of public attention automatically comes along with it. That was thrilling.
Our shooting was done in Bangladesh, the rest of the shooting was done in Mexico. I met Frank Anthony Grillo and Michael Jai White, when our international cast members came to Bangladesh for the promotions and the premier.
Where do you see this role taking you?
When we signed this movie, we didn’t actually sign for just one movie. We signed up for three MR-9 films at the same time. I think this will take me somewhere good.
Do you see potential for a female Bangladeshi action hero?
Yes, I do. Our distributors, one is from Dhaliwood and the other is from Hollywood. The one in Dhaliwood is Jaaz Multimedia. Agni, Paap, these are all female-led movies that they’ve done.
In Bangladeshi movies you don’t really see that many females leading movies. In the case of Jaaz Multimedia they give women roles where they are more than just props. This is something I really admire. As long as they keep this going, I’m sure they’ll have more and more female lead roles.