Things you certainly miss from the 2000s

The 2000s were not just a wonderful decade from your old calendar. It was a melting pot of music, movies, fashion, literature (and everything cool) that was deemed unruly but kickstarted a new wave of culture in Bangladesh.

At the turn of the 21st century, globalization was having a massive impact on our life in Dhaka. Yours truly, like any other 90’s kid, have been part of the following things that made us giddy and still aches our heart to go back to the 2000s.

1. CDs

Courtesy: Bangla CD Covers

Before piracy took over the country, the premium medium for listening to music was CD. Compact discs sold like hot cakes prior to the advent of illegal websites like Doridro or Fusionbd.

Tahsan, the famed celebrity was reminiscing about the golden days of physical music on a radio show saying, “This one morning, I got a call from my record label G-series. They congratulated me as my solo album “Krittodasher Nirban” sold out a million copies. They also wanted me to stop by their office to collect the royalty.” You see, people didn’t hesitate to buy music legally. It’s just the internet who interfered and the rest is a tragedy.

2. FM radio

It was 2006 when I was playing around with a gigantic radio. I was rotating the notch in hopes to catch the Bangladesh Betar. But to my utter surprise, I found radio Today, the first 24-hour radio station of the country. The station was running its test transmission. This was the first time I heard the word ‘Radio Jockey’, a jargon unheard of among the millennials of Dhaka. And thank God, the FM stations brought diversity in their playlist unlike Bangladesh Betar and rose to stratospheric popularity.

Soon enough, a couple of other stations joined the cohort and catered audio entertainment to a generation who barely tuned to a radio station beforehand.

Rasel bhai…or Loveguru, anyone?

3. ETV

If you had cable tv subscription at your home in the early 2000s, consider yourself lucky. Ekushey television was launched in 2000. The only open terrestrial channel (other than BTV) became a household name across the country.

Kids and adults who used to nag their parents for dish antenna were soon engrossed in shows produced by the channel. Every drama, telefilm, dubbed series or music videos ETV premiered turned into a cultural phenom.

Who could forget the witty Debashish Biswash hosting ‘Pather Panchali’ or the graceful Ahmed Rubel starring in the horror series ‘Pret’? I used to wait for music video reruns around 6 pm just before I dragged myself for studies. Those were the days!

4. The Underground scene

A new wave of band music was emerging from the underground scene. Limited fanbase and genres which have never been done before by local musicians were prerequisites of the UG movement. Bands like Black, Artcell, Cryptic Fate, Arbovirus and many more notable names became part of this journey and are still going strong with their stellar on stage presence.

Read more: Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Just imagine some kid walking into a CD store to discover the newly released record of Artcell. The fantasy gives me shivers down the spine!

5. Cyber cafe

In the 2000s, a few fortunate people had access to super slow dial-up internet. For the rest of us, we had cyber cafes. Every alley of Dhaka city swarmed with cyber cafes, and I don’t remember any of them serving caffeine drinks of any sort.

The Cybercafe was the place where cubicles were set up for your privacy so that you browse the ‘Yahoo messenger’ era internet for 30 TK/hour.

Raise your hand if you took a friend to a cafe to open your first Facebook account.

6. Landline

Land phones were still relevant in the 2000s. Talking to your friends or significant other was made easier by landlines. People even fell in love with strangers by calling the wrong number in hopes to meet someone of the opposite sex. To have a landline connection, one had to go through seemingly endless paperwork. Can you imagine some govt employee giving you hell because you want to have a landline at your home? Gen Z would be bewildered to hear such fairy tales.

Do you ever feel burned out over all the technological amenities that claim to make our life easier? I certainly do. The list can go on since there was no shortage of awesomeness in the 2000s. Yellow taxi, film camera and Tin Goyenda is just a few other names that still makes us nostalgic.

The story of Rafsan Sabab and WHAT A SHOW!

Rafsan Sabab, a young boy enrolled in cadet college since grade seven harboured big dreams. Dreams that began with his great affinity towards the power of words. While growing up, he had always been attracted to the command of speech and the influence it brought on people’s lives. Since then, he was an active member of the national debating circuit through the early years of his school and college.

A dream is but not a dream

However, as soon as he joined university, he became more familiar with the concept of presenting himself in a stage with a keen audience. The spark within him was ignited and he soon became a force to be reckoned with. Fueled further by his inspiration from legendary hosts such as – Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel. His mind clicked that, in order to pave a profession out of his passion, anchoring was possibly the best way to move forward. And indeed it was.

The prologue

Rafsan Sabab What a show

In his sophomore year in university. He approached Ayman Sadiq, founder of Robi 10 minutes school to pitch the idea of a show combined with both education and entertainment – Edutainment. This was launched, known as the 10 minute school show and was the inception of his career as an anchor.

Soon enough, afterwards a production company Dhaka Live for a talk show approached him. Rafsan did not believe in genericity. He wanted something more creative.

With this thought in mind, he embarked upon the journey of a YouTube show,“Hashtag with Rafsan Sabab” which later continued for 4 episodes.

This show focused on a celebrity’s digital profiles only. Creatively attempted to only give limelight to the guest’s social media and digital persona.

Let the show begin!

Rafsan Sabab had bigger dreams about his own show. This included a live audience who will be able to share their immediate response from the performance in the stage.

Rafsan Sabab What a show

“I wanted to be able to hear the laughter of the crowd if the punch line really worked!

Added Rafsan.

His friends and family believed in his thoughts. He wanted to be different by breaking the stereotypical characterization of Bangladeshi talk shows.

“As a host, I thought of becoming better researched, effective and at the same time more entertaining towards my guests and my audience. Therefore, I put together a dedicating team handpicking each one personally. Approaching them one at a time.”

He further added.  

It began at first with a production team, ‘Sketch board Interactive owned by Ziaus Shams and Sakib Mansur Zihan who are co-founders of What a Show. The show started gathering a stellar crew by bringing onboard Lamia Tasnim, a professional model and co-founder of What a Show.

Rafsan Sabab What a show

A dream was a dream no longer with his show becoming a reality.

It began with the idea of redefining the talk show trend in Bangladesh.

By making it more interactive, fun and at the same time create an alternative marketing platform for everyone. The vision of one day hosting the Oscars really did not seem that farfetched after all.

“From where I am right now, it is not just about the final destination but rather about the gradual steps I take on the way. After graduating from IBA, University of Dhaka, I chose not to enter the corporate world. Undertaking anchoring as a second profession would not have allowed me the time or energy to launch ‘What a Show’ at this scale. Moreover, that decision has been truly worth it.”

Expressed Rafsan gladly.

WHAT A SHOW, indeed

Rafsan Sabab believes that every individual is both experienced and talented in his or her own fields.

Rafsan Sabab What a show

“When inviting guests, at first my team and I, we were looking to invite people who understood the concept of our show. Aiming for Celebrities who were sporty and could build a rapport on stage almost instantaneously.”

Said Rafsan.

Episode one: Nabila and Pritom

On the first episode, two guests were invited. Pritom Hasan, composer, singer, music video actor renowned for his famous songs, “Local Bus” and “Beainshab”. Followed by an amazing actor and anchor, Masuma Nabila.

“The first episode was an instant hit with absolutely no skepticism from our guests having being invited in the first episode of a YouTube Show. The energy was great and we really did hit it off in front of an enthusiastic live audience.”

Exclaimed Rafsan!

‘What a show’ is indeed different with conversations that were engaging and flowed freely both ways. There were the two interactive games – ‘Kache ashar oshomapto golpo’ and ‘Cholen cinema banai’ each with its own style of humor. Unlike most shows in the country, the set is casual at the same time to create a cozy vibe by the looks and feel of it. The conversational style is unique with positive humor ensures the contents of the guests are being promoted through our show.

Episode two: Tahsan, Taskeen and Ridy

Rafsan Sabab What a show

For the second episode, What a Show was grander and more glamorous. This episode consisted of a very famous international dancer Ridy Sheikh who is originally a Bangladeshi but lived in Russia for the most part of her lives. Followed by The famous singer and actor Tahsan Khan who was the second guest appearance of the show.

Tahsan, along with the third guest appearance, Taskeen Rahman, actor promoted their joint movie– Jodi Ekdin. The episode ended with an amazing individual live performance from both Tahsan Khan and Taskeen Rahman as a cherry on top for the audience and viewers.

Epilogue

What a Show will be launching episodes fortnightly, each intending to be better than the one before.

Rafsan says, “We see a lot of different content in social media every day. We are very quick to jump and criticize if it does not satisfy us. We see many different kinds of trends and if the content is good, we appreciate it but we almost never ensure that it is being reached in our own circle. My request to you is that if you do like my work; please spread it within your own circle so that together we can create a more impactful journey in people!”

Subscribe to their YouTube channel to watch their upcoming episode to be aired soon and stay up to date with their Facebook page.