The ‘sweet girl’ of the silver screen era wants to work from inside the parliament for the new-generation artists with a wider role to take the film industry forward.
The legendary actress sat with bdnews24.com for an interview on Monday to share her thoughts and plans about politics.
Her desire to join mainstream politics began to grow when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned home in 1981 after around six years in exile following the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most other members of the family on Aug 15, 1975.
Kabori was given the opportunity to contest in an election in 2008 when the Awami League chief Hasina handed her the ticket for Narayanganj-4 parliamentary constituency.
She is now longing for a similar ‘reward’ from the prime minister for the 11th parliamentary polls due by December.
“I had worked with the mainstream politicians during the anti-autocracy movement. I had then wished for nomination,” Kabori said.
“Finally, when (AKM) Shamim Osman fled, Apa (Hasina) told me, ‘You wish to contest in elections. Here’s a gift for you’, and handed me the nomination papers.
“I am very grateful to her for that,” she said.
Shamim Osman of the influential Osman family in Narayanganj was an MP from 1996, but he left the country after the electoral debacle in 2001.
He returned home and began preparing for standing in election in 2006 by the end of the BNP’s tenure.
He left the country again when the military-controlled caretaker government declared emergency in the beginning of 2007.
Shamim Osman came back once again after the Awami League came to power in 2009, but Kabori, once related to the Osman family by marriage, was already representing the constituency.
The Awami League nominated Shamim again in 2014 and he was elected uncontested amidst a boycott of vote by the BNP.
Kabori does not visit Narayanganj much nowadays.
Asked from where she wants to contest the general election, Kabori said she was thinking about Dhaka’s Gulshan, where she lives now.
But a final decision hinges on Hasina, she added.
Kabori’s residence is under Dhaka-17 parliamentary seat. SM Abul Kalam Azad of the Awami League’s ally Bangladesh Nationalist Front or BNF is the MP from the constituency now.
“I don’t want to return to Narayanganj. Politics is full of strategies. I am leaving the matter to her (Hasina). She will decide what is best there,” the former MP said.
In her memoirs Smriti Tuku Thaak, published by bdnews24 publishing limited or bpl in last year’s Ekushey Book Fair, Kabori recounts the bitter experience of her relations with the Osman family despite many sweet memories.
“But I didn’t stop, because Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was the source of my strength. It was Apa who nominated me,” she told bdnews24.com
Kabori said she was confident of a win if she gets the picked again.
“I myself am enough wherever you put me. I was a member of parliament, but I can dare you to find an honest and brave person like me. I never got involved in corruption, tender business or land-grabbing,” she said.
“People think becoming an MP opens the way for earning loads of money and getting many other facilities. But I did not see it this way. That’s why I don’t even have the money to make a film,” she added.
The actress of over 200 films dreams of overhauling the film industry if she can make it to parliament again.
“I want to take the film industry forward again, so that it can regain the glory of its golden era through the new generations, so that they can make the cultural arena a big support base for the pro-Liberation War force,” she said.
“I am from the film industry. For me, working in a film is like saying prayers. I want to do many things surrounding cinema and bring changes to the industry by working hard,” she added.