The journey of guitarist turned actor

At this moment, Tawsif Mahbub is one of the most popular actors among the young. But how much do we know about him? Maureen Nawer decided to interview and write about the lesser known facts of Tawsif Mahbub’s life and his stairway to success.

 

It was around 2004/2005, when bands like Black and Artcell were on the rise as underground hits. Tawsif Mahbub used frequent concerts. That is how he began to dream about becoming a guitarist, having his own band, playing in front of a crowd cheering for him. Knowing his own limitations of singing, he never really thought of being a vocalist, he stuck his dream to guitar, being a lead guitarist is what his mind convinced him.

image2-(1)Immediate after his O levels, in May, 2005, he took a tutoring job to earn his pocket money. With the first pay-check of tk 3000, he bought an Indian acoustic. It was his first step towards his dream. With that in hand, he went and knocked on the door of a guy named Tanvir. With his own band Scarecrow, Tanvir was a big name in the music scene of Bangladesh. Scarecrow used to be pretty popular then among the youth in the city. Tanvir was a metal head. Tawsif transition from rock to metal was his influence. Although, Tawsif could not take that many lessons from his as he was a university student with a music band on the side. Tanvir used to do music and go to university as well, so naturally he did not have enough time to train him. Tawsif had 4-5 classes within a span of one and a half months, and those few classes left a lasting impact in his life. Youtube and online learning was not business as usual as it is today, but Tawsif decided to try his like. Many people called his idea of learning guitar online a ‘weird idea.’ He started taking guitar lessons from Youtube videos. You can learn something just by looking at the computer! You mad bro! But, those turned out to be his baby steps towards his dream.

During A levels, he found out that he has other friends who are learning guitar. With more friends interested in music, they got the idea of forming a band. The very first band he formed with his friends was called, Veins. It did not last long due to the inexperience and the amateurism. Also, they were really young. What do really boys of 17 understand? They all happen to think only their decision is correct and important. The rest are of no importance. They never really had a real show. It was 2007, when they had their first show at Independent University Bangladesh by the courtesy of a senior acquaintance. Slowly he came to think that maybe music is not his cup of tea. Somehow, his friends heavily relied on him. He was neither good in singing nor was he the brightest of the guitarist, yet wanted by all his friends to be in their band. It was not that he was a very well-to-do person who would serve as the ATM for the band.  Perhaps, he was a good companion or being responsible a friend got the friends lean on him.

Finally, a group of five all had failed their previous band formed a new brand, The Manager. He was the chosen bassist. This was not any plan B, this was the last plan. Tawsif thought that if this does not work out, nothing else will. He decided if this turns into a failure, he would just leave the music scene.

the-managerThe first show with the Manager was at Cuppa Coffee lounge in Gulshan. Somehow, their band turned out to be a big hit at their very first show there. People who were a fan of underground music knew what a big thing Livesquare was in those days. They were one of the leaders who gave underground music a pavement, a stage for the young talents to portray their music talent. Livesquare takes the credit of bringing a lot of young musicians into the limelight. Holding the hands of Livesquare, The Manager did 101 shows within a span of just 2 years, in which they had a show every week. There were times where they did 3 shows in a single day. The rate at which their popularity grew crossed boundaries. They did record a few songs for their own album, but that was the end. People got busy with their own life and career or in other words — life happened.

While playing for the band, one his friends named Mashiyat who was a contestant in the Lux Superstar programme, asked him for a TVC audition. At first he was in denial, but her pushing him to the brim landed him in a place called Runout. To his surprise, he got selected for his very first TVC. Unfortunately, the TVC got cancelled but the contact he made throughout the working time remained. At the call of that TVC director The Manager played for an AV at the launching for a Tobacco company named starlight. Eventually, the owner of Runout, Mr. Adnan thought of him to be a bright kid and kept on calling him back for TVCs.

One fine day, this Mr. Adnan called him up to offer a full length character for a telefilm. He straight away says no to him. He did not have the confidence.  The fact that he was upfront about his confidence was unusual in the show-baseness and Mr. Adnan found his honesty promising. He presses him further to go for the audition. By that time he was working for LiveSquare already. After the audition, they told him, ‘we will call you’ which normally means ‘we are sorry.’ To his surprise, he received a call saying he had a place among the top 3.

At this juncture in life, while working for LiveSquare for two years straight, he felt like he wanted more from life. It did not feel like he belonged to LiveSquare. Just working here and earning money wasn’t enough for him. Eventually he got a call for the second round of audition and was asked if he would be able to give 20 days at a go for the audition. He refused, because he needed to save his job. But then, after another round of audition, fighting the last two contenders, one of them being the late Sayem Sadaat, he becomes the selected lead character for Airtel presents @18 All time dour er upor. Not getting a leave of 20 days he decides to quit LiveSquare and go for it.

It’s not like LiveSquare was not a good organisation then. He went to India, Norway, Sri Lanka working for them. Wanting more out of life, he decided to step out of LiveSquare. Something was missing. He never got the ‘pat around the back’ he wanted. His resignation letter came as a shock to many the LiveSquare. They were shocked because he was leaving a solid place for an uncertain career. And, that ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of the journey of the name you all know — Tawsif Mahbub. Very few people know about his past career as a musician which is why, when once in a while, a fan comes up to him and says ‘Bhaiya, I follow you since you were a bassist at the manager,’ it gives him a happiness incomparable to none.

On asking to say something for the young struggling individuals, he said ‘If you are confused and if you are struggling, it is your time to be confused. You will be confused, people will confuse you with their advices. You have to do what you feel is correct. Be it later be good or bad, you know that it is your own decision and no one else is to be blamed for where you have ended up. So take your own decisions. Enjoy your confusions and stuggles, you’ll look back at them one day.’

To wrap up the interview, I asked about his recent works when he disclosed that actor Tawsif is very soon going to wear the director’s hat. Maybe this Eid or right after. For that, stay tuned!

 

Maureen Nawer is student of Brac University.

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