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OP-ED: A letter to Pori Moni

  • Published at 06:36 pm September 3rd, 2021
porimoni bail
FILE PHOTO: Actor Pori Moni waves at the camera after being released from Kashimpur Central Prison on Wednesday, September 1, 2021Dhaka Tribune/strong>

Becoming an agent for social change may be a higher calling than just playing the media

I’m sure there already have been many eager beavers sermonizing you on your to-dos going forward. Well, I’m also no different. I, however, would seek your forgiveness at the onset of inking this letter, which might sound like a dreaming preacher with a mission.

Pardon me for that.

We can’t avoid news these days; news is ubiquitous. In a perennial manner. News won’t leave you alone; it’ll appear on your face even when you want to avoid it.

I’ve been watching/reading news about (and on) you for a few months now. I knew you had occupied the entertainment pages for many years. But that didn’t matter to me. When you started to occupy the social psyche of a lot, it mattered, and that’s why I’m writing this.

I have expectations from you -- from someone who has taken much of my time on the media. If you were just an actor, I wouldn’t have any. But you appeared as a challenger. A social challenger. That’s, to me, way more important than the roles you play in the films.

Hear this out, please.

An icon? Almost

Yes, you’ve now gotten close to becoming an icon for your followers, admirers, as well as for the many oppressed who might have had identical experiences as you. They also have their expectations from you. What do we expect from an icon? We, the commoners, want him/her to lead, to work for a cause.

It may sound quite simple, but for an icon, it’s a long way up the hill. S/he, the leader -- as you are now -- may have to keep calm, think, and march forward. Your followers would like to know, from you, about the objectives you wanted to achieve by challenging society.

You, now, to my mind, are not just an entertainer or an actor on the screens; you now have the potential to become a reformer -- an agent of change. Social change.

Hope I’m making some sense.

The hope ahead

If I were you, I’d abandon the cinema-sphere and commit myself to work for increasing the wisdom of Bengali men to respect all women. Yes, you could transform your newfound energy into strength to help others -- women who are treated miserably by society.

The public support and the limelight that is showered on you should make your journey easier. Bangladeshi cinema, as an industry as well as a vehicle of art and entertainment, is not going to go anywhere soon.

The image that you have earned through hard work and struggle is, to me, quite commendable. Your personality has also become of someone who could be followed for a greater cause.

Many might laugh at this letter. I know that, and I’m expressing this without any feeling of embarrassment, as I sense the potential of a great leader in you. 

The media razzmatazz

I have been observing the role of the media as well as the people on social media since the day you were detained. I don’t want to mention how Facebookers have trolled you, but allow me to say something about the mainstream media which didn’t treat the entire episode with compassion for you. You looked like a product to the journalists.

The media changed its attitude towards you only when it saw some sensible people speaking up for you. The headlines, the content on you, had then changed. However, you still remained a product to them. My request to you would be: Please strategize on a plan on how to deal with the media in the backdrop of your life. This is important -- very important -- how you communicate with society through the media.

Your recent interactions with the media, I must say, were devoid of communication acumen. If you have thought the media razzmatazz would take you where you were aiming to go, you’re nothing short of being wrong. It’s always better to think twice before any media outtake.

It’s equally important to know what not to say, rather than saying everything as if you’re emptying the barrel of a gun. They’ll adore you when you serve their purpose, but they won’t wait a second to destroy you when you don’t -- the inherent nature of the media.

Now that you’ve shown your disregard for someone who you think may be your enemy, you may now think to stop booing at them. You did it, the message has been delivered, and now is the time to march forward, not fighting the enemy you may never be able to win over.

Let’s turn the focus on something greater than fighting that enemy. There’s a greater enemy out there who is perennially abusing and harassing the country’s womenfolk. Think about that unfortunate lot. You may be able to uplift them from their dungeon-like miseries if you changed your focus.

The end note

Many may not agree with me, but I think you also know it and feel it within you -- you’ve proven to be a person who can make a difference, and have graduated to a larger-than-life personality. I mean it. But that doesn’t mean you would go into politics, as political parties may be eager to consume you; you’re a good product also for them. But, nay, you’d lose the bigger cause then.

If, by chance, you’re reading this letter -- please think.       

Ekram Kabir is a story-teller, a yogi, and a communications professional. He’s just an email away: [email protected]

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