He is a popular lyricist. And now with Srijit Mukherji’s film Zulfiqar, he will be making his debut as an actor. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent caught up with Srijato who revealed about the character he played in Zulfiqar and his experiences of facing the camera for the first time in his life. Excerpts..
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana- So you have finally turned into an actor with this film. Did you have any prior acting experiences?
Srijato- No, I did not have any experience what-so-ever of facing the camera. My one and only experience of acting was taking part in a play which we enacted for the people in our locality. I was very small then and I was given the role of the mouse. To be very frank, I wanted to play the role of the bear. However the organizers felt that I did not have the personality to become a bear. As a result what happened was I said all the dialogues of the bear when I got up on stage. I was beaten up by the person later who was to play the role of the bear. You see this rage, jealousy, struggle for power or trying to become someone else on stage is also Shakespeare. That was my first and I thought will be my last acting stint.
So how did you bag yourself a role in Zulfiqar?
Srijato- I did not have the faintest idea that I will be acting again. But Srijit contacted me one day with the script. I play Trebonius from Julius Caesar in the film. I have always remained open to new experiences. I feel this enriches one as an individual. I have always profited from these new experiences.
How did you prepare yourself for the role?
Srijato- Well, I did not have the time to read the whole play Julius Caesar and prepare myself for the role as the time was short. I was just browsing through the pages and also referring to Srijit’s script. I must say that the script is wonderful. When I was reading it, I understood the importance of Shakespeare even in 2016. Srijit has blended well the syndicate politics and has come up with a great script. I am glad I am part of this film.
How was your experience of shooting for Zulfiqar?
Srijato- Apart from the script what made my experience so memorable was the actors with whom I was acting in the film. I shared screen space with some of the best actors in our industry. I shot for some days with Koushik (Sen), Dev and other actors. I got to learn so much by observing them. However I have just followed Srijit’s instructions and delivered. Srijit may have adapted the storyline for 2016 but while acting I understood the vision of the playwright who could write about universal emotions with such dexterity so many years ago. I was again amazed to actually see that Shakespeare had so much idea about life that he could highlight every emotion in the course of a single play. Not many playwrights could have done that. He could do this and hence he became Shakespeare. During acting, a bruise mark has been formed on my body. This will be a memorable mark indeed.
Why will a bruise mark be so memorable? Can you share the story behind this incident?
Srijato- When I was going to give my first shot, it was my death scene. I think cinema is the only place where you again give five shots after you have actually died in the first take. (laughs). We were shooting in Shalimar Shipyard. I was sipping tea when I found Koushik coming with blood oozing out from his neck. I was scared. Initially I thought it was makeup. But then I realized that they were not using dummies and that the blood was real. Koushik was being treated and then he went home. After this came my death scene.
I was to shoot for a chase sequence. The last time I had to run was for my school sports meet, many years ago. And so I had to run many times but Srijit was not happy. He asked me to run again saying the next shot will be better. I have asthma and I could feel the pressure building up. He said that I did not look like I was scared of death. Frankly in real life I am not afraid of death and hence in front of the camera that was not coming out. What happened next was I short of breath and I fell down. I wounded myself and I was attended by the assistant directors who did the necessary first aid and then gave me a knee cap to wear for the time being. I was also given three hours rest. It is then I understood what a great team Srijit had. Dev and Parambrata came just for that scene’s shooting. But they waited for me, despite their busy schedules. After three hours I got up and then I shot for my death scene.
You have acted in a film based on Shakespeare’s play. How much relevant is Shakespeare in today’s time?
Srijato- Shakespeare and the emotions and feelings he wrote about are relevant in 2016 and will be relevant after hundred years too. Maybe cinema will become a backdated medium then and something new will take its place. But Shakespeare will not become backdated. The emotions will traverse the barriers of time, place and culture. He is ageless and timeless!!
We hope that Srijato makes a mark in acting with Zulfiqar!! Wishing him all the very best for this new stint!!
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.
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