In Conversation with Ms. Purnima Bristi: Facts and Face Value

Nafisa Islam

Feb 22, 2022


Overcoming the Odds is a blog series brought to you by volunteer writer Nafisa Islam from IYAP Bangladesh. This series aims at exploring and sharing the inspiring stories of famous personalities in Bangladesh, who have overcome several mental health related struggles in their early life and emerged successful after walking along the path of their passions and dreams with courage and determination.

Purnima Bristi, the protagonist of today’s story is a Bangladeshi actress and model. This is an eye-opening moment with Bristi.

A very good day to you, Bristi! Hope you are keeping well. Thank you so much for taking some time off from your busy schedule to answer a few questions about your journey!

01. Could you tell us about an average day in your life?

-Hello Nafisa!  I’m pretty good. Many thanks for having me. To tell you about an average day in my life:  I have to get up early in the morning and go to the gym, because I work as a fashion model.  Then I have breakfast.  I have 2 dogs so I make time to play with them.  Since I live with my family, I have to do some housework as well.  If there is no work, I watch movies and read books. Mostly, I give time to my family.

02. How would you like to describe yourself in 3 words?

-Patient, hard working and a person listening to one’s own mind.

03. What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?

-Strength is my patience. As I think, the weakness is my family because I love my family very much.

04. One of the aims in this campaign that we are doing is to shed light on the importance of addressing mental health related stigma and empowering the youth to strive for the best version of themselves. Would you like to share with us any mental health related struggles you have had to go through, in your life and how you dealt with the situation? 

When we work in the field of media, after working for so many days in a row, if the work stops or there is no new work to do, we actually suffer from human turmoil. This has happened to me.  However, at such times, I will be patient. I reassure myself that God may have done something good for me so it’s getting late.  I will share another example: since I am an actress I have to keep my body weight right.  When I got selected for a movie,  I was overweight then.  The director expected me to lose weight for the purpose of the role.  At that time I was not doing anything and feeling down. However, I gradually worked to make up my mind and worked hard to bring my weight under control.

05. Many people facing mental health related struggles often hesitate to seek mental health support. Do you have advice for people who are too embarrassed to get help?

Mental health is very important.  When we go to do a lot of work, we start suffering from frustration.  We need counseling in case of mental disorders, just like we get treatment when we are physically ill.  We should always listen to our own mind.  I always follow what my heart says. So everyone has to make time to listen to their inner thoughts and in case of any mental disturbance, they have to seek mental health support. 

06. Why do you think there is a stigma associated with mental health in our society?

-People in our country can get all kinds of treatment but when it comes to mental health treatment, they think people are crazy. They hesitate to seek mental health care and feel ashamed about doing so. This is largely because there is no proper education about mental health. If mental health is not right your physical health will be largely impacted.

07. I believe that identifying your passions and working with determination, courage and confidence has helped you overcome these challenges and achieve all this success. So, now let’s talk about your journey and how you have come a long way so far. You are now starring on the silver screen. What film projects are you working on right now?

-My career started with television commercials.  Sharad Saje RTV (television channel) was present in the contest ‘Rang Bangladesh’ in 2014.  I was the winner of this program.  The first television commercial was with a child, it was a Savlon television commercial.  It was managed by Saraf Ahmed from Jibon Karkhana production.  Then, I did another television commercial for Grameenphone (a telecommunications company in Bangladesh). My co-artist was Antu.  One after the other, offers followed after my work with Grameenphone. Currently, we are working for Valentine’s Day and are doing several photoshoots as well.

08. Your hard work has been recognized. You are the recipient of the Iconic Fashion award; how do you feel about receiving such a great honor?

-I am very happy to receive the star iconic award . I am so happy to have gotten recognised for what I have done so far. I feel that I have got the results of my hard work. I am very happy and grateful for those who supported me. I still have a lot to learn and I am learning every day. This is a motivation for me to keep going.

09. You have now got the opportunity to work in a new movie by the name of ‘Girgiti’. How do you feel about this and what do you think are the challenges in taking up this new role? 

-My first commercial movie is Girgiti.  I was very fat when I was made the offer to join the movie. I had to lose weight in just a month. I used to go to the gym twice a day. I used to do yoga. The most challenging part of making this movie was a scene where I had to act out crying in sorrow. I had to cry without glycerin there. If we have any crying scenes while shooting, we do it with glycerin in our eyes but the director told me to cry emotionally without glycerin, that time.  It was very challenging for me then.  I had to take up that challenge, I was somehow able to do it.

10. I would like to pose a general question to you. In your opinion, what are the challenges for women in the film industry and how to overcome them?

-In fact, there is no shortage of good heroes or heroines and models in our media industry, both good and bad. If we do not have patience when doing any sort of job, we will not get a good job, be it for a girl or a boy. You need to have a good work profile to carry on with your career. You can’t work with everyone, you have to understand your own quality, you can’t make yourself available for everything, you have to retain your personality.

11. You are a young person who has been able to accumulate many experiences despite your young age. Among your work, which one is your most favorite? Why?

– I do all my work from the heart but the best work or my favorite job was doing Grameenphone television commercial. The story of that particular television commercial revolves around a divorced girl in our country. If a girl in our country gets divorced, many people in our society have a contemptuous attitude towards her. She also comes to think that she is not fit to move about in this society. I think that doing this role has been my favorite because it mirrors our contemporary society. I have been able to highlight some serious concerns in our society through this.

12. What is more important for a person, inner beauty or the external appearance?

-Of course the inner beauty is. External beauty is  for a limited time and the inner beauty lasts forever.  

13. Lastly, before we wrap up, I would like to ask you a very important question. What message would you like to give the youth out there? 

-I am learning a lot myself. I still have a lot to learn. I am going to learn new things every day. I would like to tell the newcomers that we have to be patient. When we have to climb up a staircase, we cannot afford to lift ourselves with a shortcut. You all have to be patient and listen to yourselves. The result of good work will be late but it will be there.

Unfortunately that’s all the time we have. It was such a pleasure talking to you, Bristi. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your story with us. We hope that the young people who will get to read this inspiring story will get empowered to work hard for their dreams even amidst all the challenges that life throws at them and emerge successful.

-Thank you Nafisa!! I thank you and the IYAP team very much.  This interview has been very interesting.  I like it very much.  If I ever get another opportunity, I would like to collaborate with you as well.

About the Author:

Nafisa Islam

Nafisa Islam

Nafisa Islam is an ardent youth from Bangladesh. Currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, she is very much interested in using writing as a medium of expression to bring change to the way people think. She is very much passionate about children and their rights as well and would like to use her writing to bring justice to children facing difficulties. She also embodies an obsession with fashion and shows immense dedication towards her work. She always loves to be supportive and always likes to empower youth to advance in their careers and takes delight in seeing them happy and achieving their successes and goals.

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