“[I want to] Skate every day, get better, find my own style, get certain tricks down for video parts and aim for sponsors which go with my style of skateboarding. I would love to go to the US and be a part of the skate industry [and] become a sponsored skater and be an example to the people in my country.” – Tanveer Alim.
Dhanmonndi 32 in Dhaka, Bangladesh echoes with the sound of rolling wheels and popping boards as Tanveer Alim and Rezwan Chowdhury skate their local spot. Influenced by watching pro riders such as Dylan Rieder and Austyn Gillette and reading Thrasher and Transworld magazine, these two skaters have been holding down the skate scene for the entire country for the past four years, under the handle Almost Famous.
While many people dropped in and out of the scene, Rezwan and Tanveer have been keeping at it and trying to pursue their passion. Skateboarding is not at all known in Bangladesh, and in their experience, people don’t know what to make of it. When they go out to skate, people gather around to watch and ask if they have magnets attached to their feet. The authorities are equally flummoxed and depending on their mood might cheer them on or kick them out of spots.
“My friend tanveer and I came out to mainly do the big gap in our local skate spot, we took turns and took the slams but didn’t stop until we landed it. I had one of my favorite decks at that time and just as I attempted to ollie the gap, I land on my board and my tail snaps and the board breaks into two pieces. I was a bit sad but I did feel happy because it just showed how much commitment i was putting into it,” says Rezwan.
Like many fledging scenes, the main challenge they face is proper access to skateboarding gear. They started skating on some Chinese decks. They earned the decks and gear they currently use, from a competition hosted by Stay Overnight Skatepark and from being part of the ‘One Blood’ documentary, an international film which illustrates the realities of skating in Bangladesh. ‘One Blood’ is a Czech project that searches and gives a platform to talents from countries with fewer opportunities for subcultures such as Bangladesh. Their videos and project is accessible at http://onebloodproject.com/bangladesh
Tanvir is very aware of the hardwork the two of them are putting in creating some kind of a scene for skateboarding in Bangladesh, “We pushed each others progress and blended our influences. There was a time when I left my board behind and was ready to move on. But that changed and I soon realized this was the only thing in this whole world which made me happy. I wanted to get better, be at a level where I can inspire other people to follow my ideology and embrace the love for skateboarding. I hope I can reach my goal soon.”
Rezwan and Tanveer are very motivated and passionate skaters. Their commitment to keep skateboarding despite the lack of opportunity and exposure is very admirable and second only to their drive to improve the conditions for skateboarding in Bangladesh. They see the rise of skateboarding in neighboring India and Nepal as a big opportunity for themselves to be part of a bigger community, go on skate tours, score sponsors, skate proper parks and most importantly to improve their own skills and peruse their skate careers.
Almost Famous has entered into a partnership with a new company called Chromatic, who are aiming to be the name in media, marketing and talent management in Bangladesh, to manage their YouTube page. Keep an eye out for these guys from Bangladesh; they are just on the way to blow your minds.