Mumbai, April 27 (Calcutta Tube) Twenty years after he acted in Mehul Kumar’s eminently forgettable ‘Mere Man Ke Meet’, Bengali superstar Prasenjit has returned to Bollywood with Dibakar Banerjee’s much-discussed political thriller ‘Shanghai‘.
Prasenjit made his disastrous Bollywood debut as Mumtaz’s son in David Dhawan’s ‘Andhiyaan’. After tremendous persuasion, Banerjee, known to elicit arresting performances from the unlikeliest of actors, has persuaded Prasenjit to play a role in his film.
Though the director is tightlipped about the project, Prasenjit says his role is that of a politician who dies under mysterious circumstances.
And no, he’s not playing a Bengali character.
‘It’s true that I play a very important role in Dibakar’s film. It’s the role of a socialist and I have a very important political speech in Hindi at the beginning of the film. Meri Hindi theek-thaak hai… But I will have to work on the nuances,’ says the affable actor.
Prasenjit has gone through the script of ‘Shanghai’, and is left deeply impressed.
‘I am so glad I’m working with Dibakar. He’s been after me to do this film for quite some time. Earlier, I had no dates. But now suddenly Annirudha Roy Chowdhary’s film has been postponed. So I have the time to do Dibakar’s film. It’s all destiny,’ says Prasenjit, adding that he was offered Sooraj Barjatya’s ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’.
‘Do you know Sooraj had offered to launch me in Hindi films with ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. But I had just got enormous popularity in Bengali film industry with ‘Amar Sangi’. I instead chose ‘Andhiyaan’ for my Hindi debut. After that, apart from Mehul Kumar’s film, I stayed away from Hindi films to focus on my Bengali career.
‘But I did do a beautiful Hindi film directed by Lekh Tandon with Rukhsar as my co-star. That never got released in theatres. There was another Hindi film ‘Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ which I was to do. It got shelved. I thought Bollywood and I don’t belong on the same wave-length,’ the 38-year-old superstar said.
Prasenjit has been staying away from Bollywood for the last two decades. ‘Very honestly, there was no time to even think of a Hindi film. Now, I’ve reached a stage in my career where I don’t have to be anxious about the box-office. Stardom to ho gaya, now I’m honing my skills as an actor, seeking out roles that challenge me. That’s why I agreed to do ‘Shanghai’.’
The actor says he has no burning desire to do Hindi films on a regular basis. ‘But if I get the kind of roles that Irrfan Khan does, I don’t mind. ‘Shanghai’ fascinated me because I had to play a politician who commands such awe and respect that even the prime minister is intimidated by his power. I think Dibakar Banerjee saw me in Gautam Ghose’s ‘Moner Manush’ and decided to cast me.’
Though unwilling to talk about Prasenjit’s return to Hindi cinema, Banerjee says: ‘What I find fascinating about Prasenjit is that he is at the peak of stardom. But he’s choosing offbeat roles. For ‘Moner Manush’, where he played the spiritual leader Fakir Lalan Shah, he grew a beard and spent six months in the real Lalan Shah’s village. Not many actors would do that.’