This year Covid-19 took so many lives of legendary artists

As Rabindranath Tagore once said “Let life be beautiful like summer flowers and death like autumn leaves” – the time of the year back once again, as it always goes back and forth every year when the nation remembers those who departed from their families and admirers to answer the ultimate call.

Sadly, due to several reasons and especially the still raging Covid-19 pandemic, many of the passionate and respected individuals in the entertainment and cultural arena of Bangladesh bade their final adieus to the world during the past twelve months in 2021.

These legendary figures have dedicated their eventful lives to the betterment of Bangladeshi culture; and because of their lifelong contributions, today Bangladesh is well-known and respected among the global community of culture and entertainment, in the genres of literature, art, cinema, television, theatre and music.

This article fondly remembers all eminent and legendary figures that Bangladesh has lost throughout this year, categorized based on their individual and respective genres.

Literature

The rueful adieus started with the departure of the “Ekushey Padak” winning legendary novelist Rabeya Khatun, who passed away on January 3 at the age of 85 due to old-age complications.

Bangla Academy, the oldest and dedicated organization promoting Bengali literature in the country, has lost many of its guardian angels this year including two of its immediate past chairmen, Prof Shamsuzzaman Khan, 81, who passed away on April 14 after his failed battle with Covid-19, and national Prof Rafiqul Islam, 87, renowned Nazrul researcher, on November 30. Meanwhile, the immediate past director general Habibullah Sirajee, 72, also left the world on May 24.

Ekushey Padak winner Hasan Azizul Huq, eminent Bangladeshi short-story writer and novelist, passed away on November 15, at the age of 82. Meanwhile, this year’s Ekushey Padak conferred fiction writer Bulbul Chowdhury passed away on August 29. Sheikh Abdul Hakim, popularly known as the ghostwriter of superhit spy thriller series “Masud Rana”, breathed his last at the age of 75 on August 29 after losing his long battle with bronchitis. Mohiuddin Ahmed, renowned Bangladeshi publisher and founder of the University Press Limited, left the earth on June 22.

Cinema

Ekushey Padak and National Film Award-winning legendary Bangladeshi actor ATM Shamsuzzaman passed away on February 20 this year at the age of 79, while another silver screen legend and Member of Parliament Sarah Begum Kabori breathed her last on April 17 after losing her battle with Covid at the age of 70.

Another actor from Bangladeshi’s “Golden Era” of cinema Mesbahuddin Ahmed, popularly known by his stage name Wasim, passed away the very next day. The former “Mr East Pakistan” breathed his last at the age of 74 due to old age complications, while veteran director Shafiqur Rahman, known for his famous movie “Dhaka 86,” died on September 2 at the age of 70.

Television and Theatre

A large group of known faces from the television and theatre arena left the world this year, starting with actor and freedom fighter Mujibur Rahman Dilu, 69, on January 19. Legendary playwright and Martyred Intellectual Munier Chowdhury’s wife, translator and theatre activist Lily Chowdhury, 93, breathed her last on March 2.

Ekushey Padak-winning actor SM Mohsin, 73, passed away on April 18 due to Covid, while Jahangirnagar University Drama and Dramatics Department co-founder, professor and playwright Dr Afsar Ahmed, 60, died on October 9 due to cardiac arrest.

The month of October was a horrific month this year, as a handful of prominent personalities passed away on this month. Ekushey Padak winning veteran actor, director, playwright, and academic Dr Enamul Haque, 77, breathed his last on October 11, renowned actor-playwright-director Kayes Chowdhury, 74, passed away on October 21 and his student, television, film, and theatre actor Shamim Visti, 55, died the very next day after suffering a heart attack. Due to Covid-related complications, veteran actor and current State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid’s elder brother Mahmud Sajjad passed away on October 24, at the age of 73.

Music

2021 snatched away many of the legendary personalities from the music industry in Bangladesh, starting with legendary music maestro and trainer of classical music, ustad Sanjib Dey, 68, who passed away on January 28 following a cardiac arrest.

Jane Alam, one of the last remaining pop legends, passed away on March 3 due to Covid-19, at the age of 65. A tragic road accident in Chittagong’s Mirshorai brutally took away the lives of renowned Percussionist Hanif Ahammed, 41, and drummer Partha Guha, 50, on March 13.

Ekushey Padak winning rabindra sangeet exponent Mita Haque, 59, passed away on April 11 due to Covid-19, while National Film Award-winning music director Farid Ahmed, 60, passed away on April 13 due to the same reason.

Freedom fighter and Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra artiste Anup Bhattacharya, 77, passed away on May 6, while noted lyricist Fazal-e-Khuda, known for writing the song “Salam Salam Hajar Salam” which boosted the spirit of Freedom Fighters during the 1971 Liberation War, died of Covid-19 on July 4 at the age of 81.

This year, Covid-19 also snatched away another folk and pop legend, the “Gono Sangeet” pioneer Fakir Alamgir who passed away on July 23 at the age of 71.

Apart from all these legendary figures, some other renowned personalities also left the earth this year, leaving behind their families and admirers.

Ekushey Padak winning veteran journalist-dramatist-poet Rafiqul Haque, 85, “Dadubhai” passed away on October 10. Another Ekushey Padak winning late artist Qayyum Chowdhury’s wife, artist Tahera Khanam, passed away at the age of 86 on November 1 and eminent British journalist Simon Dring, known for reporting the horrors of Bangladesh’s War for Independence from Pakistan in 1971 and later changing the landscape of Bangladeshi television industry as the managing director of Ekushey Television, passed away on July 16 in Romania at the age of 76.

We remember all these legendary figures with profound respect, for their unforgettable and influential contributions to their respective fields.

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