Birthday: November 13, 1948
Died At Age: 63
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Born in: Netrokona District
Famous as: Writer, Filmmaker
Spouse/Ex-: Gultekin Ahmed, Shaon Ahmed
father: Faizur Rahman Ahmed
mother: Ayesha Foyez
siblings: Ahsan Habib, Momtaz Shahid, Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Rukhsana Ahmed, Sufia Haider
children: Bipasha Ahmed, Ninit Ahmed, Nishad Ahmed, Nova Ahmed, Nuhash Ahmed, Shila Ahmed
Died on: July 19, 2012
place of death: New York City
education: North Dakota State University, University of Dhaka
awards: Lekhak Shibir Prize (1973)
Bangla Academy Award (1981)
Michael Madhusudan Medal (1987)
Bacsas Prize (1988)
Humayun Qadir Memorial Prize (1990)
Ekushey Padak (1994)
Humayun Ahmed, a native of Bangladesh, wore many hats during his lifetime. These include: filmmaker, screenwriter, playwright, author, teacher and dramatist. He was considered a cultural legend among native Bangladeshis. He was a man who followed his dreams, whether it was writing television plays or engaging young minds at the University of Dhaka. He was a large contributor to the world of fine arts and is often considered to be the Shakespeare of Bangladesh. During his time, he wrote more than 200 non-fiction and fiction books, all which were bestsellers in his homeland. Ahmed’s quirky characters, familiar content and simple language helped his fan base increase steadily. He wrote in a variety of different genres including suspense, romance, and paranormal thrillers. As Bangladesh’s best-selling author, he was idealized by men and women who grew up reading his books and watching his shows in the 1980s and 1990s. Although he was loved by most, he would often stir up controversy with his writings. In fact, Islamic preachers would often protest about the characters and what they stood for in his screen writings. Despite the large number of fans, the numerous awards, and becoming a household name, Ahmed was humble and did not consider himself to be a great writer.
Childhood & Early Life
Humayun Ahmed was born on November 13, 1948 in Mohongonj, Netrokona to Faizur Rahman Ahmed and Ayesha Foyez. He was the eldest of five children.
Humayun’s father, a police officer and writer, was killed in 1971 by the Pakistani military during the liberation war of Bangladesh.
Creativity ran in his family. His mother was a Bengali writer, while his younger brothers, Muhammed Zafar Iqbal and Ahsan Habib are writer and artists in their own right.
Due to his father’s official position as a police officer, Ahmed went to schools in a number of different places including Sylhet, Dinajpur and Bogra. In many of Ahmed’s writings, he tells memories of growing up and going to school in these different locations.
In 1965, he passed his Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Examination in Bogra Zilla School and was listed as second in merit on the Rajshahi Education Board
In 1967, Ahmed passed his Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) Examination from Dhaka College.
Ahmed earned a Bachelor of Science Degree with honors in Chemistry, followed by a Master of Science Degree with First Class distinction, from Dhaka University.
After graduation, Ahmed worked as lecturer professor at Bangladesh Agricultural University for six months before joining Dhaka College to teach Chemistry. Soon after, he went to the United States to earn his PhD in Polymer Chemistry from North Dakota State University.
After completing his PhD studies, Ahmed traveled back to Bangladesh and continued teaching at Dhaka University until he left teaching in the mid 1990s to work on his writing and film production.
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In 1972, Ahmed’s first novel (which he wrote as a student) ‘Nondito Noroke’ (In Blissful Hell) was published by Khan Brothers. The novel was greatly admired by the literary critics.
In 1983, his television career kicked off with his television drama, ‘Prothom Prohor’ (First Moment), directed by Nawazesh Ali Khan. His television resume continued to grow with series in genres such as drama, comedy and history.
His most talked about television series was ‘Kothao Keu Nei’ (There is no one in anywhere). This dramatic series' main character was a gang leader who was executed. Fans became so obsessed with this series, that they often wrote to Ahmed and begged him to change the script so that the main character lived.
In addition to his television series’, Ahmed wrote and directed films that were based around his life experiences. Some of his major films included: 'Aguner Poroshmoni', 'Shyamal Chhaya' and 'Ghetuputra Kamola'
In 2012, Humayun Ahmed was appointed as a special adviser to the Bangladesh Mission in the United Nations.
In 1972, Ahmed’s first novel ‘Nondito Noroke’ (In Blissful Hell) was published by Khan Brothers under the supervision of poet-novelist Ahmod Sofa. Ahmed Sharif, a scholar of Bangla language, wrote the introductory speech in Ahmed’s first novel. The novel received great critical acclaim from the literary critics.
In 1994, Ahmed wrote and directed his first film, titled ‘Aguner Poroshmoni’. The film was based on the liberation war of Bangladesh and included his memories of the war, including his father’s death.
Awards & Achievements
In 1973, he won the Lekhak Shibir Prize. The award is given to recognise liberal and progressive writers.
In 1981, he was honored with Bangla Academy Award in recognition of his creative genius and overall contribution to the Bengali language and literature.
He won National Film Awards (Bangladesh) in the categories: Best Story (1993), Best Film (1994), Best Dialogue (1994), Best Director (2012), Best Screenplay (2012), and Best Story Writer (2012).
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1973, Ahmed married Gultekin Ahmed. Together they had four children; three girls: Nova, Sheela, and Bipasha, and a son named, Nuhash.
In the 1990s, Ahmed had an affair with a much younger woman, his daughter's friend and actress, Meher Afroz Shaon. After 30-years of marriage, Ahmed called it quits with Gultekin in 2003 and married Shaon in 2005. Shaon and Ahmed had two sons: Nishad and Ninit.
Ahmed died of colorectal cancer on 19 July 2012, in New York City. He was buried in his estate at Nuhas Polli in Bangladesh.