Clean Dhaka Concert: ‘Making money not our goal’

Antar Showbiz chairman Shapan Chowdhury talks about Clean Dhaka Concert

31 Jan 2016, 12:21 | updated: 31 Jan 2016, 12:45

Nazmus Saquib
Dhallywood actor Ananta Jalil (left), Antar Showbiz chairman Shapan Chowdhury, and Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor. Photo: collected

Since 1980s, he has pioneered the event management business in Bangladesh and organised numerous concerts performed by celebrated artists from Bangladesh and abroad. He is the man behind the famous Shahrukh Khan Night in 2010. Antar Showbiz Chairman Shapan Chowdhury is a soft-spoken person who is known for maintaining transparency when it comes to organising high profile shows. He is all set to start the year 2016 with perhaps the biggest show of the year — Clean Dhaka Concert with Bollywood Queen Kareena Kapoor and Bangladeshi film star Ananta Jalil, scheduled to be held on 12 February evening at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. The show is powered by Dhaka South City Corporation. In a freewheel interview, Shapan talked about the show and much more.

How did the concept of Clean Dhaka Concert come to your mind?

The mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation Sayeed Khokon and I have one thing in common — we have been brought up in Old Dhaka and together to maintain this city clean, we wanted to come up with an awareness building programme. Generally, when you talk about any kind of awareness campaign, most people do not pay any heed unless it comes up with some form of entertainment. So, we wanted to disseminate the message of cleanliness and what better way to spread this than to organise a gala event like this magnitude!

But, isn’t it a commercial event?

Making money through this concert is not our goal at all. That is why we have selected Bangabandhu National Stadium as the venue so that we can accommodate a large number of people. The gallery ticket has been priced minimum and the most expensive front row tickets are priced at only Tk 5,000.

Why do we need to bring foreign artists?

I personally feel Kareena Kapoor Khan is the Bollywood Queen and despite the emergence of so many young actors, she is still in a league of her own through her charisma and personality. Javed Ali and Kanika Kapoor have mesmerised listeners of all ages and this is going to be the first time they will be performing for our audiences. Artistes like them should not be bracketed for a particular culture or country. They are proven entertainers and have mass appeal in Bangladesh, which you just cannot deny.

Why did you choose Ananta Jalil?

Ananta Jalil is someone who is always in the limelight either in positive or negative way. Over the years, he has created a massive fan base who are eager to watch his movies. If he represents Bangladesh in the concert, I do not think that would look bad.

Is he going to share stage with Kareena Kapoor?

You will definitely see Ananta Jalil and Kareena Kapoor together on the stage but I would like to keep mum on what kind of performance they will be doing. I want to surprise the audiences.

Will there be any live broadcast of the show?

We are still in talking terms with some TV channels but nothing has been finalised as of now. 

What is your next plan?

I just want to speak about one of my concerns that consistently bother me whenever I come up with such a big show: that is the request of the VIPs for free tickets. They keep on calling me and ask for free tickets because of their political or social influence. If we have to reserve such a large number of tickets for the VIPs, then how would the general people attend the show?  

(The writer is a freelance contributor)