Ahmed in 2010
|Born||13 November 1948|
Kutubpur, Kendua, Netrokona, East Bengal, Dominion of Pakistan
|Died||19 July 2012 (aged 63)|
New York City, United States
|Resting place||Nuhash Polli, Pirujali, Gazipur, Bangladesh|
|Occupation||Writer, film director, professor of chemistry, dramatist|
|Education||PhD (polymer chemistry)|
|Alma mater||University of Dhaka |
North Dakota State University
|Notable awards||Bangla Academy Literary Award |
Humayun Ahmed (pronounced [ɦumaijun aɦmed]; 13 November 1948 – 19 July 2012) was a Bangladeshi writer, dramatist, screenwriter, filmmaker, songwriter, scholar, and lecturer. His breakthrough was his debut novel Nondito Noroke published in 1972. He wrote over 200 fiction and non-fiction books, all of which were bestsellers in Bangladesh. His books were the top sellers at the Ekushey Book Fair during the 1990s and 2000s. He won the Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1981 and the Ekushey Padak in 1994 for his contribution to Bengali literature.
In the early 1990s, Ahmed emerged as a filmmaker. He went on to make a total of eight films - each based on his own novels. He received six Bangladesh National Film Awards in different categories for the films Daruchini Dwip, Aguner Poroshmoni and Ghetuputra Komola.
Early life and background
Ahmed was born in Kutubpur village under Kendua Upazila in Netrokona District to Foyzur Rahman Ahmed (1921–1971) and Ayesha Foyez (née Khatun) (1930–2014). Foyzur served as a sub-divisional police officer in Pirojpur District and was killed in 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War. In 2011, politician Delwar Hossain Sayeedi was put on trial for the killing but was acquitted of the charge in 2013 due to a lack of evidence. Humayun's brother, Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, is a writer and academician. Another brother, Ahsan Habib, is a cartoonist. He had three sisters – Sufia Haider, Momtaz Shahid and Rukhsana Ahmed.
Education and early career
Ahmed wrote his debut novel Nondito Noroke (In Blissful Hell) during the 1971 Bangladesh independence war while he was a university student. The novel was published in 1972 by the initiative of writer Ahmed Sofa under Khan Brother’s Publishers. From his very first novel, his themes included the aspirations of average middle-class urban families and portrayed quintessential moments of their lives. His second novel was Shonkhonil Karagar.
Ahmed wrote fictional series featuring recurring characters such as Himu (15 novels), Misir Ali (10 novels) and less frequently, Shubhro. He wrote several novels based on the Bangladesh Liberation War – Aguner Poroshmoni, Paap, 1971, Srabon Megher Din, and Jyotsna O Jononir Golpo. His romantic novels included: Badol Diner Prothom Kodom Phool, Noboni, Krishnopoksho, Aj Dupure Tomar Nimontran, and Tumi Amai Dekechhile Chhutir Nimontrane.
Television and film
Ahmed's first television drama was Prothom Prohor (1983), directed by Nawazesh Ali Khan. His first drama serial was Ei Shob Din Ratri (1985). This was followed by the comedy series Bohubrihi (1988), the historical drama series Ayomoy (1988), the urban drama series Kothao Keu Nei (1990), Nokkhotrer Raat (1996), and Aaj Robibar (1999). In addition, he made single episode dramas, most notably Nimful (1997).
Ahmed directed films based on his own stories. His first film, Aguner Poroshmoni (1994), based on the Bangladesh Liberation War, won the National Film Award in a total of eight categories, including the award for Best Picture and Best Director. Another film Shyamal Chhaya (2005) was also based on the same war. His last directed film, Ghetuputra Kamola (2012), the story of a teenage boy, was set in the colonial period.
In 2009, Ahmed appeared as one of two judges for the reality television music competition show Khudey Gaanraaj.
Ahmed composed around 40 songs which he used in his films and television dramas. The songs were based on the folk music of the north-eastern part of Bangladesh. His notable singles include "Lilabali Lilabali Ghoro Joubothi Shoi Go", "'Pubali Batashey", "Ekta Chhilo Shonar Konya", "O Amar Ural Ponkhi Rey", "Jodi Mon Kadey", "Ke Porailo Amar Chokh-e Kolonko Kajol", "Ami Aaj Bhejabo Chokh Somudrer Joley", "Cholona Brishtitey Bhiji", "Channi Poshor Raite Jeno Amar Moron Hoy", "Hablonger Bajarey Giya" and "Konya Nachilo Rey". The songs were rendered by Subir Nandi, S I Tutul, Meher Afroz Shaon and others.
Nobel laureate economist Muhammad Yunus assessed Ahmed's overall impact saying: "Humayun's works are the most profound and most fruitful that literature has experienced since the time of Tagore and Nazrul." Similarly, according to poet Al Mahmud, “one golden age of Bengali literature ended with Tagore and Nazrul and another began" with Ahmed. Writer Imdadul Haq Milon considered him to be "the almighty lord of Bengali literature, controlling all their actions and thoughts". Dawn, Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, referred to him as the cultural legend of Bangladesh. Times of India credited Humayun as "the person who single-handedly shifted the capital of Bengali literature from Kolkata to Dhaka". Sunil Gangopadhyay described him as the most popular writer in the Bengali language for a century and according to him, Ahmed was even more popular than Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. However, during his lifetime author Shahriar Kabir dismissed him for "always speaking for the establishment." Literary critic Azfar Hussain said: "I am not surprised he talks like a pro-establishment writer. I find him ignorant."
Ahmed married Gultekin Khan in 1976. Together they had three daughters, Nova, Shila and Bipasha, and one son, Nuhash. Shila Ahmed went on to become a television and film actress. In 2003, Ahmed divorced Gultekin. He then married actress Meher Afroz Shaon in 2005. He had two sons from the second marriage, Nishad and Ninit.
Ahmed had open heart surgery at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. A few years later, during a routine checkup, doctors found a cancerous tumor in his colon. On September 14, 2011, he was flown to Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York City for treatment. During his stay there, he wrote a novel, Deyal, based on the life of the first President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In January 2012, he was appointed as a senior special adviser of the Bangladesh Mission to the United Nations.
On May 12, 2012, he returned to Bangladesh for two weeks. He died on July 19, 2012 at 11.20 PM BST at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. There was some tension in the family over the selection of his burial site, but eventually his estate, Nuhash Palli was selected.
In 1987, Ahmed founded an estate called Nuhash Palli, named after his son Nuhash, near Pijulia village, in Gazipur Sadar Upazila of Gazipur District, which grew to cover 40 bigha (approximately 14 acres). He would spend much of his time at the estate when he was in Bangladesh. He formed a collection of statues there by local artist Asaduzzaman Khan and another of plants from around the world, particularly medicinal and fruit-bearing trees.
Exim Bank, a commercial bank and Anyadin, an entertainment magazine jointly introduced an award program, Humayun Ahmed Sahitya Puruskar, which would be conferred to two writers every year on Ahmed's birth anniversary – November 12.
Several cinematographic adaptations of Ahmed's stories are made after his death. Anil Bagchir Ekdin (2015), directed by Morshedul Islam, won six Bangladesh National Film Awards. Krishnopokkho (2016) was directed by Meher Afroz Shaon. In October 2016, she announced the production of her next film based on Nokkhotrer Raat. Debi (2018) is produced by a grant of the Government of Bangladesh.
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- In Bengali
- Aaj Ami Kothao Jabo Naa 
- Aaj Chitrar Biye
- Aaj Dupurey Tomar Nimontron
- Aaj Himur Biye
- Adbhut Sob Golpo
- Akash Jora Megh
- Amar Ache Jol
- Amar Chelebela
- Aguner Poroshmoni
- Amar Priyo Bhoutik Golpo
- Ami Abong Koakti Projapoti
- Ami Ebong Amra
- Ami-ee Misir Ali
- Andhokarer Gaan
- Angul Kata Jaglu
- Anonto Nakhotro Bithi
- Asmanira Tin Bon
- Ayna Ghor
- Badol Diner Ditiyo Kadam Ful
- Badhshah Namdar
- Baghbondi Misir Ali
- Botol Bhoot
- Brishti Bilash
- Bristi O Meghomala
- Chander Aloy Koekjon Jubok
- Chokkhe Amar Trishna
- Chole Jay Bosonter Din
- Choto golpo
- Daruchinir Dip
- Dekha Na Dekha
- Dighir Jole Kaar Chayago
- Ditiyo Manob
- Dorjar Opashe
- Dui Duari
- Ebong Hemu
- Ei Ami
- Ei Megh Roudro Chaya
- Ei Shubro Ei!
- Eki Kando!
- Ekjon Himu Koekti Jhin Jhin Poka
- Ekjon mayaboti
- Fiiha Somikoron
- Gouripur Jongshon
- Grihotyagi Josna
- Hartan Ishkapon
- Himu Ebong Howard Ph.D Boltu Bhai
- Himu Mama
- Himu Remand-E
- Himur Ditiyo Prohor
- Himur Ekanto Sakkhatkar
- Himur Hate Koekti Nilpodmo
- Himur Madhyadupur
- Himur Rupali Ratri
- Holud Himu Kalo Rab
- Hotel Graver Inn
- Humayun Ahmed-er Premer Golpo
- Jalil Shaheber Petition
- Jibonkrishno Memorial High School
- Jochna O Jononir Golpo
- Jodiyo Sandhya
- Jol Jochona
- Kalo Jadukor
- Ke Kotha Koy
- Kichu Shoishob
- Kohen Kobi Kalidas
- Kothao Keu Nei
- Kutu Mia
- Lilua Batash
- Magic Munshi
- Matal Haowa
- Megh Boleche Jabo Jabo
- Megher Chaya
- Mirar Gramer Bari
- Misir Ali Aapnii Kothay
- Misir Alir Amimangsito Rahasya
- Misir Alir Choshma
- Misir Ali Unsolved
- Mojar Bhoo
- Moyurakkhir Tire Prothom Himu
- Mrinmoyir Mon Bhalo Nei
- Nalini Babu BSc
- Neel Hati
- Neel Manush
- Neel Oporajita
- Neel Poddo
- Nirbachito Bhooter Golpo
- Nokkhotrer Raa
- Nondito Noroke
- Omega Point"
- Onno Vubon
- Pakhi Amar Ekla Pakhi
- Parul O Tinti Kukur
- Pilkhana Hottakando
- Putro Nishad
- Rakkhoss Khokkhoss Ebong Bhokkhoss
- Rodonbhora E Boshonto
- Rupar Palanko
- Sanaullar Mohabipod
- Se Ashe Dhire
- Se O Nortoki
- Sedin Choitramas
- Sheet O Onnanno Golpo
- Shonkhonil Karagar
- Shuvro Gechhe Bone
- Shyamol Chaya
- Sobai Gechhe Bone
- Sokol Kata Dhonno Kore
- Tara Tin Jon
- Tetul Bone Jochna
- The Exorcist
- Tithir Neel Toale
- Tomader Jonyo Bhalobasa
- Tumi Amai Dekechile Chutir Nimontrone
- Uthon Periye Dui Paa
- Nabiji (incomplete)
- In English
- 1971: A Novel. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Mowla Bros. 1993. ISBN 9789844100138.
- In Blissfull Hell. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Somoi Prokashan. 1993. ISBN 9789844580459.
- Gouripur Junction. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Anyaprokash. 2007. ISBN 9789848684382.
- Lekhak Shibir Prize (1973)
- Bangla Academy Literary Award (1981)
- Shishu Academy Award
- Zainul Abedin Gold Medal
- Michael Madhusudan Medal (1987)
- Bachsas Award for Best Story (1988)
- Humayun Qadir Memorial Prize (1990)
- Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Story (1994)
- Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Film (1994)
- Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Dialogue (1994)
- Ekushey Padak (1994)
- Sheltech Award (2007)
- Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Screenplay (2007)
- Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Director (2012)
- Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Screenplay (2012)
- Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Dialogue (2015)
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- Aj Chitrar Buye Humayun Ahmed. Amazon.com. ISBN 9844582857.
- Aj Dupure Tomar Nimontron. Amazon.ca. ASIN 984868509X.
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