Lovingly called Bumba da by his fans and his colleagues alike, ace actor turned producer Prosenjit Chatterjee is currently on cloud nine due to the honor bestowed on Sankhchil in which he plays the role of a common man. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent caught up with the actor in an interesting conversation. Excerpts…
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana- Congratulations!! Sankhachil has been bestowed with the National Award for the Best Bengali Film. How does it feel to be part of such a project?
Prosenjit Chatterjee- Well it feels amazing that the film in which you have worked has been given such an honor. Gautam da deserved it. The effort that the man puts in every scene’s detailing amazes me even now. He may be very strict but once you work with him, you understand that all this is for your benefit only.
Working with Gautam Ghose was always on your wish list. And now you have worked in two of his films. How does it feel as an actor?
When I began working as an actor in Tollywood, I had this latent desire to work with this man. However, it was after a long wait that I finally landed up in Moner Manush and got to work with him. It was indeed a dream come true. Six years after Moner Manush I again get to work with him. It is indeed a pleasure for me. Directors like Gautam Ghose will not make a film just after the success of one film. He will think and think and then come up with another film. He will not cast you simply because you are a star. He will cast only if he finds you suitable for the role. I am immensely glad he found me suitable to play this role.
I am now tempted to ask this question. What made you say yes to Sankhachil? Was it just working with Gautam Ghose or the film’s script?
(Laughs out loud) Yes, working with him again was a chance I was not willing to lose. And apart from that the role is indeed very interesting. This is a different Prosenjit that you will be seeing on screen. It is not that I have put on huge layers of makeup. But the character is so different and normal that you will have a hard time understanding that this is the same Bumba da you are watching on the screen.
Mr. Ghose is known to be a strict director. So how many times have you been chided by him?
I have lost track of the times I have been scolded by him. During Moner Manush, I was working with him for the first time and I was yet to understand his way of work. But after that I have understood that you will always have to be ready for a shot. He will not give you time. You have to keep pace with him or else you will be scolded.
Why is your look in the film so different?
The character is a common man and hence the mannerisms are very normal. There is nothing macho or over the top about him. Playing a normal character is challenging!! You know you are the hero and you have to shine from the other characters and yet you have to be normal. That is the challenge this character threw at me.
How has been the reaction to your look in the film, till now?
We had a projection of the film. I took my close friends to the screening. For two or three minutes, they were actually spellbound after seeing me. It was after sometime that they could actually grasp that it was me. Hence, I think I Have been successful to some extent in making the character credible.
You had shot for Moner Manush in Bangladesh. How was the experience of shooting for Sankhachil there again?
I have been to Bangladesh many times before. But this time it was different. I crossed the border on foot. This was a rare experience. And when I looked around, the people on both sides were similar. Nothing was different. Only the border divided us.
Gautam da’s shooting schedule was always early. So when I used to go for shoots, I was amazed to see the huge amount of villagers who used to come and gather just to see me. I was touched at the love that they showered on me. I used to wave at them and go for the shooting. They loved that simple wave of the hand. I am just over whelmed at the love that I have received. To avoid getting late for the shoots, I used to go out early so that I could wave at them and then go for my work.
I must also mention that the Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) also helped us immensely in continuing with the shooting of the film.
How were Kusum Sikder and Sajhbati as co-stars?
Sajhbati is the same age as my son. I have a good rapport with kids and I love them. It so happened that I developed such a bond with Sajhbati that I was like a second father to her. When I was coming back after the shoot, her parents asked me to leave early so that she will not be aware of it. Or else she might become emotional. When she came here, she even came with a gift for me. This happens during shoots with children.
And Kusum is a talented and hard working actress. Initially she was very afraid of me. However, I told her that we are playing a couple who have been married for fourteen years. If you are afraid of me that will show on screen and the acting will not be credible. After that she opened up and let the film release, she will surely bowl you over with her acting skills.
You have recited a poem for the film. How was the experience?
It was a wonderful experience and this is again a first for me. Gautam da wanted to include poems and hence he asked me to try this out. I am glad I tried my hands at reciting poems too.
A lot of talk often goes on about the expansion of the Bengali film market. Do you think that these collaborative efforts at film making will help in the expansion of the Bengali film market?
Like I have said before, there is no place for expansion for Bengali films. It has not expanded in reality also. What can be done is make these two markets as one and make films that will appeal to audiences here and also in Bangladesh. We have top stars like Jeet working in collaborative projects. Likewise we also have top Bangladeshi actors and actresses working in our films. Hence, combining both the markets is the best option.
Sankhachil releases on 14th April. What is your message for your fans?
I will request them as always, to go to the halls and enjoy the film. This will be a different Bumba da film. Helmed by Gautam Ghose and with such a great cast and great songs, there is no reason why one will not like the film.
We hope that Sankhachil repeats the success that it achieved at the National Award ceremony at the box office too!!
Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.