Cinematographer, Photographer



Photographer & Cinematographer

(October 6, 1948 – December 1, 2018)

Anwar Hossain was a prominent Bangladeshi photographer and cinematographer. He is considered the father of the modern photography of Bangladesh. He was an inborn, talented and had deep passion for photography, that’s why he chose photography as his ultimate career apart from being a graduate of Architecture from BUET. He won Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Cinematography a record five times for the films Sundori (1979), Emiler Goenda Bahini (1980), Puraskar (1983), Anya Jibon (1995) and Lalsalu (2003). As a Freedom Fighter he framed some unique photography during the Liberation War in 1971 in Bangladesh that conveys the real picture of the mass people to achieve the freedom of their motherland. Thus his timeless art works still make an unbound impression in the hearts of Bangladeshi people to give an unconditional tribute to the legend.

Life of "Anwar Hossain" At a Glance

  • Full Name: Anwar Hossain

    Date of Birth: October 6, 1948

    Birth Place: Aganagar Dewri, Old Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Religion: Islam (Sunni)

    Died: December 1, 2018 (aged 70)

    Death Place: Panthapath, Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Education: BSc in Architecture (BUET), higher study in India, at Film and Television Institute in Pune

    Married with: Dolly Anwar (divorced); French woman Mirium (1993)

    Children: 2 sons name Akash & Meghdoot (2nd wife)

    Known For: Photographer, Cinematographer

    Notable Works:

    Book published

    (1) A journey through Bangladesh 

  • (2) Dhaka Portrait

    (3) Life & Culture

    (4) A ballad of Bangladesh



    (1) Swapnabhumi (The Promised Land) (2007)

    (2) Oie Jamuna (A Tale of the Jamuma River) (2002)

    (3) Bostrobalikara: Garment Girls of Bangladesh (TV documentary)



    1. Chaka
    2. Surjo Dighal Bari (1979)
    3. Anya Jibon (1995)
    4. Nadir nam modhumoti (1994)
    5. Emiler goyenda bahini (1980)
    6. Dahan (1985)
    7. Lalsalu (2001)
    8. Rabeya (2008)
    9. Chitra Nodir Pare (1999)
    10. Shyamol Chaaya (2005)
    11. Achin Pakhi (1996)
    12. Puroshkar



    Three Beauties (2006)


Early Life

In the old town of Dhaka, a local boy Hossain, wearing a lungi or a half pants, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, moving around in the narrow and clumsy paths of old Dhaka, or on the muddy and slippery banks of the river Buriganga, with a low-cost camera and a pair of passionate eyes to see the beauty of the unorganized nature and people. This was a regular part of the early life of Anwar Hossain.

Eminent Artist Mustafa Zaman once told to the media: “It was from Haat (Bazaar) of Gani Mian that we used to collect kindling and saw-dust to sell a sack full for 8 ana (half of one Taka),” recalled Anwar who would wake up early in the morning to finish his homework for school and go scavenging in the morning. After this he would go to the bazaar and then straight to school, where another predicament awaited. Although he was the first boy of his class in school, things were never smooth for him. He harked back to his days of hardship as easily as he recorded the dignity in humans toiling away to make things better for themselves. He added, “We did whatever was possible to contribute towards the family well-being. As a scavenger, we used to look as run-down and derelict in half-pants, without any shirt or footwear, as the tokais of today.”

Anwar Hossain was born at Aganabar Dewri in Old Dhaka on 6 October 1948.  Despite the hardship of family, he grew up bearing his own dream, full of pace, with the love of capturing reality and nature with his camera to retain the message in his heart.

As his father used to work at a cinema office, some kind of inspiration he got in the early age to be involved with photography and films.

Education and Career

Anwar Hossain earned his Secondary School Certificate (SSC) from Armanitola Government High School in 1965 and completed Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) in 1967 from Notre Dame College, Dhaka.

He graduated from architecture at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Later, he went for higher study in India, at Film and Television Institute in Pune .

Anwar Hossain started photographic career in 1969 with a camera that he bought for Tk 30. One of the photos from his first batch of shots in 1969 brought him a national award. This big honor and recognition accelerated his passion for his art work and building career.

Anwar Hossain presented himself as a cinematographer in 1979 with Sheikh Niyamat Ali’s first film , Surja Dighal Bari. He was also the cinematographer of Humayun Ahmed-directed popular film Shyamol Chhaya

Anwar Hossain published a number of books on photography. He was honored by 60 international awards in photography. He made 15 fictions and 30 documentaries. He also published eight major photo books.

Anwar Hossain was a Film Society activist from early in the 1970s. He was also a founding member of Bangladesh Photographic Society and was an adviser of Moviyana Film Society.

Personal Life

Anwar Hossain was a Bangladeshi-born French citizen. He married Bangladeshi film actress and writer Dolly Anwar in 1979. Unfortunately, his wife Dolly Anwar committed suicide on 3 July 1991.

After the death of his wife, Anwar Hossain migrated to France in 1991. In 1993, he married a French woman and had two sons together. He spent more than 20 years of life.

He came back to Bangladesh a few years ago and began living in Shariatpur. He arrived in Dhaka on 28 November in 2018 to perform as judge at a photographic competition organized by Drik Gallery. But on 1 December Anwar Hossain was found dead in the Olio Dream Haven hotel in Panthapath area in Dhaka.

According to Sher-e-Banglanagar Police Station officer-in-charge (OC) GG Biswas, his dead body was recovered from room 809 at the hotel at around 10:45 am. Since police officials had found an inhaler and cardiologic medicine beside his bed, they presumed primarily the incident could be a heart attack. The dead body was then taken to Shaheed Suhrawardi Medical College and Hospital for postmortem.

The General Manager of Drik Gallery ASM Rezaur Rahman disclosed that two employees had been sent to bring Anwar Hossain from the hotel to attend in the competition. But they found his room’s door locked. After knocking on the door and calling him for about 30 minutes they didn’t get any response. Soon they informed the hotel authorities. Then Police were called and entered the room by breaking the room’s door.


Legend photographer Anwar Hossain transformed the art and technique of photography and cinematography in the film industry with his academic and professional knowledge. He connected with the enthusiastic young generation of photography through many seminars, events and competitions to share the aesthetic and science of photo shooting knowledge. Many students of Hossain are now presenting modern photography in different media. Many people of different ages are encouraged to learn and grab the technique to shoot photos to illustrate the message of the subject.

The tenacious fellow Anwar Hossain was able to establish the modern aspects of photography in a new born country like Bangladesh. The task was not so easy to bring a change in the traditional view of this industry; he had to fight against the wind and was successful because of his passion and dedication to his vision.

He was honored by the following awards –  

  •         Sole Jury, Commonwealth photo contest, Cyprus, 1980
  •         Principal National Jury, Bangladesh, 2008–2011


Anwar Hossain was the pioneering figure of modern photography.  We can find the ‘ration sensibility’ in his photography, especially his photos during the period of Liberation War in 1971 shows the real essence of modernization in photography.   Still they are worthy of graduate studies.

Hossain was the genius who taught his followers that, “a photographer is an engineer and a poet.”