Ankan Basu, on behalf of Calcutta Tube interviewed the newest heart-throb of the Bengali cinema, Dev. We wish Dev a belated happy birthday and a happy new year, and congratulations for winning hearts of the Bengali audience. We are thankful to him for this wonderful interview and hope to see him as a bright star of the Bengali Cinema for many more years to come. This is the interview summary with the promising actor. The write up of the interview is prepared by Shrabanti Basu.
Listen to the exclusive interview with DEV. Click on the Player below.
Calcutta Tube: Please tell me something about your background. Are you the first one from your family to come to the film industry?
Dev: My family is originally from Midnapore, West Bengal but my parents moved to Bombay. So, I am born and brought up in Bombay. My family still resides in Bombay. I went to school in Pune. I got my degree in engineering from Bhartiya Vidyapith, Pune. After done with my studies, I was wondering what to do next, when I happened to meet Babul da (Babul Ray), who is an eminent cameraman of the Bengali film industry. He offered me a role in a Bengali movie. I have always been interested in the Bengali cinema and took his offer. That was the first time I had come to Kolkata. I had been to Midnapore several times before but had never been to Kolkata. The name of the movie was “Agni Sapath“, and I was the hero of the film, but it was a flop. I consider myself lucky that I got to work in “I Love You” even after my first movie did not do well in the box office. “I Love You” did a great business. My next movie was ”Mon Maane Naa“. And then there never was a comeback.
Calcutta Tube: You probably went to some acting school in Bombay, if I am not mistaken.
Dev: Yes, I certainly did. I took a six month training for acting in a Namit Kapoor Academy in Bombay.
Calcutta Tube: So, do you think it is a must to go to an acting school to learn acting?
Dev: No, not at all. I attended the acting classes because I used to feel very insecured. Going to an acting school definitely made me more confident.
Calcutta Tube: Tell us how you are enjoying your success. I am sure there are other sacrifices that you have to make when you are famous.
Dev: Yes, there are lots of things that I miss now. I cannot share much time with my family due to my work. I am always under a lot of pressure. Suddenly, I feel an enormous responsibility on my shoulders. I have to take every step very carefully. Before I actually take any decision, I have to give it a lot of thinking. I have to be responsible for every decision I take, because I might not get a chance to complain. I have to be real choosy these days. It is not so easy to retain your sucess. I often feel like doing more movies, but it is no longer that simple. Once you achieve success and fame, you cannot do a lot of things like that for vaious reasons. It is really hard to keep up your success. And I think that consistency is very important. It is not that big a challenge to be a successful actor or hero, but it is often more challenging to maintain your success. Consistency is the biggest challenge…..
Calcutta Tube: Consistency is definitely important. In the recent times, probably Prosenjit is the only actor who has been able to show that kind of consistency for three decades.
Dev: I might do one movie a year, but I am trying to maintain a quality. Whatever be the number of movies I do in a year, I am trying get some traffic and maintain a standard. I do not want my viewers criticizing me for poor performance. I am really scared of that thing.
Calcutta Tube: What kind of roles would you like to do in future?
Dev: I want to break myself according to different roles. When “I Love You” was released, people told me I look good in long hair. Immediately after that, I went for a haircut for my next movie. I hate to stick to any particular type. I would not really enjoy the audience take me for any particular type or image. I want to be a versatile actor and don’t want to confine my acting abilities in any particular role. I may have a romantic image right now, but in my next movie “Challenge“, directed by Raj (Chakraborty), I am doing a very different role. Raj has tried to break my romantic image in the movie.
Calcutta Tube: Tell us a little bit more about “Challenge“. Is it romantic, or action?
Dev: You cannot deny that there has to be romance in every movie. It is a universal feeling that has to be there in any commercial movie, and even in a parallel film. The appearance of love and romance may differ depending on how the director wants to portray. It may be the love between husband and wife, or college students, but love has to be present in some form in a movie. You cannot really make a movie with the love part nipped off. In all of my previous movies, love was the main theme. But in “Challenge” there are other things that get importance over the romantic part of the movie. Love is not in the main focus in “Challenge“. As from the title, you can say there is some sort of challenge involved in the story. It also has some good humor with action.
Calcutta Tube: Since you have been brought up in Bombay, are you thinking of doing any Hindi films or any other regional films?
Dev: Not really. It is a always a big challenge to make a platform in the industry. I had to work very hard to get a stable position in the industry. And now I do not really want to leave my position here, or I might get lost. I respect whatever I have got from the this industry. Right now, I want to concentrate in Bengali films. I am only 25. So, I am in no rush to get into the Bombay film industry. I will have plenty of time for that in future. I have a long way to go in the Bengali film industry and in a sense I have not yet started my journey properly. Some of my important movies are getting released in 2009, so it is going to be a very crucial year for me.
Calcutta Tube: Dev, I am really enjoying talking to you. You have definitely generated a craze among the the Bengali audience. From outside the industry, we just look at the fame and glamor assiciated with the silver screen, and most of the time the struggle remains unnoticed.
Dev: If I am working in two movies, I work a total of 80 days, 40 for each film. The actual struggle starts after that. You have to keep good relation with everybody. I may have to reject several film offers because of some other reasons, not because of any personal issues. So I have to make sure that this does not become an ego problem. The market for the Bengali film industry is very small. And we, the Bengalees are very sentimetal and emotional in nature. So, when I reject any offer I try to make things very very clear and give all my reasons. It is always good to make the others in the industry happy, even if I don’t work with them for some reason.
Calcutta Tube: What is your experience working with the senior actors?
Dev: Whenever I come accross any senior actor during a movie shoot, the first thing I do is touch their feet, and make my humble confession that I am a newcomer and I need their support and help to make myself a better actor. And believe me, every senior actors I have worked with are immensely supportive and helpful. I consider myself to be really lucky to become a part of all those films where I got to work with them, both the hits and the flops. I have worked with Ranjit da (Mullick), Dipankar da (Dey), Dilip da (Roy) (in Mon Maane Naa), Koushik da and many others and you can never tell from their down to the earth attitudes that they have once been some of the greatest heroes of the Bengali cinema. They have always explained me things and stuff like that. I am so very thankful to all of them……….
Calcutta Tube: Yes. The senior junior relationship is very important I guess.
Dev: Being be new comer I did not have any knowledge about the film industry. Even when the seniors like Laboni di (Sarkar), Kalyani di (Mondol), Koushik da would have a friendly chat, they included me as part of the circle, though I did not know anything about the industry to take part in their conversation. And this has been true for all senior actors.
Calcutta Tube: Please tell me something about your directors.
Dev: I have worked with only four actors- Probir Nandi, Ravi Kinagi, Sujit Guha, Raj Chakraborty. It is like taking out a cup-full of water from the sea. There are lots of other directors with whom I would like to work with. I am only 25 and would like to be in the industry for the next 25 years. I want to work with all the directors because every director has his/her own style in making a film or explaining or visualizing things. I am a directors’ actor. I will go by whatever my directors say. In that sense, I don’t have much to contribute just by myself. My potential can be truely revealed by my directors. I would like to work with all the directors. Haranath da (Chakraborty), Swapan da (Saha), Rituparno Ghosh, Anjan Dutta are a few names I can recall in spurr of the moment.
Calcutta Tube: What about parallel films or working with a director like Budhhadeb Dasgupta?
Dev: I would definitely work in a parallel film if I get an offer. But I really cannot do anything unless I get an offer, my hands are tied. May be it will take some time before a film maker comes to know about what my capabilities are and offers me a role. I have come to the industry to establish me as an actor. So it really does not matter what films I am working in, mainstream or parallel, as long as I am enjoying my work. I really don’t want to work if the fun part is missing. And it is just not about money. I also need to have minimum liberty of my style of work, my involvements in the workplace. I prefer to have more interaction with my directors, attend a few workshops when I sign up for a film. Directors are the only people who know the most about their characters.
Calcutta Tube: Do you watch Bengali films? ‘
Dev: I definitely do. I have watched all the recent releases like “Chirosathi”, “Bhalobasa Bhalobasa”, “Baaji Maat”, “Jor”.
Calcutta Tube: Name some of your favorite actors- actresses of the Bengali film industry of this period.
Dev: I like to watch films of all the actors actresses working in the Bengali films these days. They are all extremely talented. We have so hard competetion these days in the industry that you have to be talented to survive. They all have given the industry some good hits. And it is a good thing that we have so many actors in Tollywood today, Jeet, Bumba da, (Prosenjit), Jishu, Rahul, Hiran. So if you don’t like one them, you still have other choices. And it benefits the industry too because we don’t lose all of our audiences. I think this will help uplift the Bengali film industry, have more and better movie theatres. This may prove to be a boon on the whole. My next film by Ravi Kinagi is going to be shot in Malayasia. We are going to shoot “Challenge” in Egypt. It has a nice dance sequence among foreigners in Egypt. We were used to see things like that in Hindi films, but now they are gradually streaming in the Bengali movies too. Personally, I feel that if we can hold our audience, we will have plenty of hits. Hindi movies are much widely watched, and that is the reason that they have more hits. I hope we make things better here too in Tollywood with all our efforts .
Calcutta Tube: Have you ever watched movies made back in the times of Uttam Kumar, Soumitra Chatterjee?
Dev: I have watched a lot of Uttam Kumar movies. I haven’t watches movies that many movies of Soumitra da (Chatterjee). Right before I came to the industry, I watched a series of Uttam Kumar movies. I like his personality, his looks and hairstyle, the way he smiled and things like that. In fact, I meticulously observed how he posed or looked at the camera, his body language, how he delivered his dialogues. In fact I have sometimes tried to follow his ways. He was a genius. ……………
Calcutta Tube: What I really mean is movies made in that period had some original stories, music…………..
Dev: I was just coming to that. We had good stories, music, lyrics at that time all of which we lack these days most of the time. It really feels bad that we try to make copies these days. But probably it is a part of life. In those days, Bengali movies were copied to other Indian languages. Bengali movies like Saheb, Amanush, Chhoddobeshi (remade as Chori Chori) were remade in Hindi. But I cannot really complain about the degradation of it since I am a part of it. I really don’t know what to say as I am here working in the Bengali movies. But it is probably not always a good feeling at the end of the day.
Calcutta Tube: What I really feel bad about is that they don’t acknowledge the actual creators when they copy something in Bengali. I think the original creations should get some acknowledgement.
Calcutta Tube: Tell me something about your heroines. You have worked with Koel, Shubhoshree, I believe.
Dev: I have worked three heroines- Payel, Koel, Shubhoshree. They are all very talented as I have already said. Koel is definitely a superstar. But Payel and Shubhoshree are no doubt very talented. All of them are very nice, dedicated and professional. It was nice working with all of them.
Calcutta Tube: What would you have been, if not an actor?
Dev: When I was a student of Engineering, I always thought of going to London and get a job there. I have lots of friends there and I would probably would have managed to get a job there, if I wanted to.
Calcutta Tube: What do you do in your free time? Any hobbies that you would like to talk about?
Dev: I watch movies in my leisure time. If I get a few days off from work I go to Bombay to see my family. I live in Calcutta all by myself and miss them a lot.
Calcutta Tube:What is your favorite dish?
Dev: There was a time when I really enjoyed eating different food. Things are no longer that way. ……..
Calcutta Tube: Are you on a diet?
Dev: I am not on any strict diet. But I had to give up eating dishes like Briyani that I once really enjoyed. It makes me very sad indeed, even to think about those yummy food.
Calcutta Tube: How often do you get fan mails?
Dev: I get letters from my fans in hundreds. Local TV Channel forward me lots of my fan mails. It feels good to get response from my fans. I read every mail. Some write about their love stories asking for help, some of them are in love with me, some have good suggestions for me. It is a very different kind of feeling that is hard to describe. It is a part of stardom that every star look forward to. It makes me very happy.
Calcutta Tube: Please say something for your fans at the CalcuttaTube. I have two of your fans right in my site, Paromita and Sushmita, each of whom claims to be your biggest fan of all. I am sure we have many other fans of yours who visit our site, as well. So, please say something for them.
Dev: Please watch Bengali films. It is the Bengalees who will have to make the Bengali film industry live. So please give priority to the Bengali cinema more than Hindi films. We are making some good Bengali movies again. We can make movies in Tollygunge, as good as Hindi or other regional language films or even foreign movies. We are ready for any competetion. Thank you for all your support and love.