Ekushey Padak-winning playwright, theatre activist and TV actor Momtazuddin Ahmed passed away on Sunday afternoon at Apollo Hospital in the capital.
He was 84 and is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.
The playwright-actor passed away at 3:40pm while undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit of Dhaka’s Apollo Hospitals for old-age complications, informed his family members.
‘My uncle has been suffering from multiple old age complications for some years now. He had been undergoing treatment regularly for these complications. His condition deteriorated severely in mid-May,’ Momtazuddin Ahmed’s nephew Shahriar Mahmud told New Age.
His first namaz-e-janaza was held at Rupnagar, Mirpur in the capital after the Isha prayer. His body will be taken to his hometown Chapainawabganj for burial after a second namaz-e-janaza on Dhaka University mosque premises on Monday morning.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and state minister for cultural affairs ministry KM Khalid have expressed deep shock at the death of the playwright.
Born in 1935 in Malda in the then British India, Momtazuddin Ahmed was one of the major playwrights and theatre activists in post-independence Bangladesh.
Ahmed was directly involved in the Language Movement during his college days at Rajshahi Government College. On February 21, 1952, he was among the students who contributed to the erection of the Shaheed Minar at Muslim Hostel of Rajshahi Government College. He was imprisoned multiple times for his involvement in political activism.
He is mostly known for his satirical plays and columns exposing social and political anomalies. Ahmed has written around 40 plays for stage, radio and television and directed several of them besides acting in some of the most popular TV dramas in the 1970s and 80s. Apart from plays, he has written novels, research papers, essays, newspaper columns, screenplays for cinema and more. His works also extended to the field of pedagogy.
Among his popular plays are Ki Chaho Shankhachil, Rajar Anusharer Pala, Hridoyghatita Bepar Shepar, Saat Ghater Kanakari, Bakulpurer Swadhinata, Khata Bikkhata and others.
Momtazuddin Ahmed taught Bengali, Sanskrit, and European drama in several nongovernment and government colleges for over three decades. He was a professor in the department of Bangla at Jagannath University and a part-time lecturer at the Department of Music and Dramatics at Dhaka University. Rabindra Bharati University has included his writings Bibaha and Ki Chaho Shankhachil in its curriculum. Several of his plays are also included in primary, secondary and higher secondary curriculum in Bangladesh.
In addition, he worked as director of the Research and Publishing Department of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and served in Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the United Nations as minister (culture).
For his contributions to theatre, education and culture as a whole, he received Bangla Academy Literary Award (1976) and Ekushey Padak (1997). Besides, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy honoured him as one of the outstanding playwrights in Bangladesh in 2008.
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