Yeşilçam veteran 'Nubar Baba' never forgotten
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 12/29/2009 12:00:00 AM | VERCİHAN ZİFLİOĞLU
Berç Alyanakziya, the son of immortal actor of Turkish cinema, Nubar Terziyan, who is known as ‘Nubar Baba’ and ‘Tonton Amca,’ speaks about Yeşilçam, Turkey’s Hollywood. 'Yeşilçam was a home, and the audience was the family in it,' he says
Nubar Terziyan, known as “Nubar Baba” or “Tonton Amca,” was an Armenian actor in Turkish cinema. Even though most Armenian and Greek artists changed their names to Turkish names for the screen upon request of producers, he never considered it necessary.
He played in more than 500 films and won the endless love of Turkish audiences. The actor, who died in 1994 at the age of 85, was bid farewell in a way that was not possible for many Turkish artists. A plaque was placed on his house on the shore of the Bosphorus.
The actor won the hearts of cinema lovers as well as the famous artists of Yeşilçam. Named as “baba” (father) by Turkish cinema’s “Ugly King” Yılmaz Güney and the handsome actor Ayhan Işık, Terziyan fell into deep sorrow when these two actors, who he loved like his sons, died at early ages.
Events that happened right after he placed a death notice for Işık in the daily Hürriyet made him more sorrowful. Işık’s wife Gülşen reacted negatively toward Terziyan, who wrote below the notice “your father Nubar” as Işık had called him. The reason was that the real surname of Işık was Işıyan, which had been kept a secret. Because the name Işıyan reminds one of an Armenian name, he changed it to Işık.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, Terziyan’s son Berç Alyanakziya said the following about the reason for the wife’s reaction: “Everyone thought that Ayhan Işık was Armenian because of his real surname, Işıyan. When my father placed this notice and wrote ‘your father Nubar,’ people thought that they were close relatives and Işık was an Armenian, too.”
Because of this reaction, Terziyan disclaimed the notice in the paper.
[HH] Güney aimed for the target
Alyanakziya said he had spent his childhood in Yeşilçam film sets and mentioned one of his most interesting memories. “My father took me to the film set one day. Güney told my father: ‘Tonton baba, throw the money in your hand to the air.’ He pulled his gun from his belt, targeted the money in the air and shot it.”
He explained the reason why his surname was Alyanakziya even though his father’s was Terziyan. “One of the best known directors of Turkish cinema was Armenian Arşavir Alyanakyan.” He said his “father took the surname of an Armenian artist from the Ottoman theater, Terziyan,” so that people would not confuse them.
Alyanakziya said many artists who changed their surname over time became known by their real names. “Yeşilçam was a home, and the audience was the family in it. When they love you, they keep you in the deepest of their heart, regardless of your religion or language,” he said.
[HH] Terziyan on the silver screen with ‘Efsuncu Baba’
Terziyan’s cinema life started as a coincidence. Working for his father’s small drapery store in Istanbul, one day he met with Mike Rafaelyan, famous director of photography for hundreds of films at the time. He proposed for him to act in a film and introduced him to director Aydın Arakon.
Arakon asked Terziyan to act in his film “Efsuncu Baba,” and thus he stepped into the film sector in the mid-1940s. “In my childhood, my father used to prepare his clothes every night and took to the roads early in the morning,” said Alyanakziya. “Yeşilçam was not a matter of money but heart. This is the reason why Yeşilçam movies are still enjoyed by Turkish people.”
[HH] Big copyright problem
Even though Turkish cinema has been popular in Turkey as well as the international arena in recent years, Alyanakziya thinks that the Yeşilçam could never be replaced. “It is not possible for anyone to replace the immortal artists of Yeşilçam,” said Alyanakziya. “Turkish cinema should catch the soul of Yeşilçam again in order to become successful. Success is not reached by losing essence and imitating the West.”
Speaking about copyright problems, Alyanakziya said lots of names who served in Turkish cinema spent the last years of their life in poverty. “My father’s films are still shown on television but no one asks about the copyrights,” he said.