Priyangshu Chatterjee on ‘Iti Mrinalini’, Aparna Sen, upcoming movies

Sept 22, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Priyangshu Chatterjee is born with the smashing qualities of being a top-drawer as an actor in the film industry. He is very tall, well-built, fair, has sculpted features and is extremely handsome. He also has a golden honey voice to go with his looks.His most recent Bengali film is Iti Mrinalini directed by Aparna Sen that has been acquired for distribution, screening, telecasting and streaming by Databazaar Media Ventures for North America and Canada. He flies between Mumbai and Kolkata and was in the US during the Kolkata release of Iti Mrinalini. Bollywood has not yet given him the space he deserves but he is being more than compensated with very good banners, films and roles in Bengali cinema.

“I began as newsreader for UGC in Doordarshan several years ago. This newsreading job went alongside good modelling assignments and roles in television serials.  My first film was Tum Bin with newcomers like myself. It was not a big commercial success. But very good Bengali films have more than compensated for the lack of better films in Bollywood. As far as I can recall, my first role in a Bangla film was Bidhataar Lekha where I play the villain but my character spans from being a young man to becoming quite old when the young heir I killed comes back reborn to avenge the wrong done to him. I enjoyed the role and my face became familiar to the Bengali audience,” he says.

About his role in the path breaking Moner Manush directed by Goutam Ghose, Priyangshu says, “The entire package was attractive and challenging. I was delighted to work with Goutam Ghose on the project. I play Jyotirindranath Tagore, an older brother of Rabindranath Tagore. More than a century ago, both Rabindranath and Jyotirindranath were drawn to poet Lalon Phokir’s philosophy of love and compassion. Jyotirindranath drew the only portrait available of Lalon Phokir in the former’s houseboat on the river Padma. It is one of the best roles of my career.”

In Iti Mrinalini, “I play Imtiaz Chowdhury, an ambitious and passionate director devoted and eager to learn new things and make a film in India after having worked abroad. The character approaches the ageing Mrinalini, now a social recluse, to work in an international project. During the making of the film, they have an affair. We had to attend a workshop conducted by theatre person Sohag Sen which was a huge help. Workshops always help an actor to get under the skin of the character. The results are reflected on screen,” he elaborates.

“It was wonderful working with Rina-di too. It was a learning experience and I kept getting calls from my friends from different corners of India and beyond. I was a bit nervous to begin with but Rina-di saw to it that the nervousness goes away by the time her actors face the camera,” he adds.

He had two quick releases around the same time. One of them was Punoruthhan, the first film produced under the Poilan Group banner opposite Rituparna SenGupta, and Prabhat Roy’s Vorer Alo in which he played a role with several shades. He is now looking forward to the release of his new Hindi film, Rajdhani Express. “I want to see myself doing better films in roles that my audience will remember for a long, long time,” he sums up.

– Shoma A. Chatterji

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