March 2, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Bengali cinema’s top actress Rituparna Sengupta has never had it so good before in terms of the different kinds of roles she is doing in all genres of film transcending the language barrier. She talks at length about her role in the Bengali movie Necklace.
What made you accept the out-of-the-box role in Sekhar Das’s Necklace?
Sekhar Das is a mind-blowing director. With Necklace, he has consciously cut away from his usual backdrop of a serious storyline positioned within a rural scenario. Necklace was designed to be an entertaining comedy with social comments cleverly woven between the comic lines of the narrative. I liked it because it is very difficult to portray comedy on screen and few directors can handle the genre well. I expect that this will inspire other filmmakers to move out of their genres and venture into new avenues.
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How do you see your character in the film?
It is completely different from any character I have enacted over my entire career in films. The character is called Shikha. She is married to an upwardly mobile corporate executive and the two are very much in love. Sekhar has given me a different look. I wear my hair in a neatly cut bob, wear expensive saris and lingerie and talk with an artificial and exaggerated coyness that marks the character. I wear my glasses perched on my nose to make me look a bit funny. My husband gives me a very expensive necklace when he gets a promotion and I am thrilled. But the necklace goes missing and a thief tries to break into the house. The character undergoes a slow but sure metamorphosis when the thief’s wife comes in as a temporary houseguest. For the first time, this girl Kanakchampa opens Shikha’s eyes to a seamy and impoverished world she never knew about.
How was it working with your co-actors?
It was a discovery working with Rittwik who plays my husband Biswanath in the film. He is a fantastic actor whose talents are yet to be fully explored. But most of my scenes were with Locket who plays the thief’s wife. From disgust from having to share my well-appointed apartment with a lowly thief’s wife, I begin to look at the world through her eyes and over a drinking session, we open out and begin to share a bond. Locket has done a mind-blowing job as the thief’s wife. I enjoyed working in the film thoroughly. I did not share screen space with Rudraneel but I worked with him in Jiyo Kaka which was a different experience altogether.
What do you look forward to now that you have had it all?
Who said I have had it all. I want my directors to extract the not-known Rituparna for their films, out of the otherwise popular idiom everyone has got used to seeing me work in. But I am very grateful to commercial cinema because that is what has brought me where I am today. I do need to get the feel of the character and for that, it has to have depth and perspective. Suman Mukherjee for instance, got the best out of me for the unusual role of Damini in Chaturanga.
You’ve had a line of releases this year already. Are you happy with all of them?
I committed myself to those films and roles after having gone through the script so I cannot complain. My satisfaction does not depend on the commercial success of a film. In that case, I would never have done off-beat films like Bedeni, Mahanagar@Kolkata, etc. I am now looking forward to Mad Lover, a bilingual in Bengali and Hindi directed by Jayaprakash, Manish Manekpuri’s Hindi film Alaap, Prabhat Roy’s Bhorer Alo, Potadar Kirti and Dulal Lahiri’s Bristhir Chhayachhobi.
Shoma A. Chatterji