January 9, 2010, Kolkata (Calcutta Tube): Sabyasachi Chakraborty is one of the most popular faces in Bengali cinema. With the occasional foray into Bollywood in films like Dil Se or the forthcoming Michael, he is rooted to Kolkata though he migrated from Delhi. This tall, dark and unconventionally handsome actor with a rich baritone, made a strong impact with his first appearance in Tero Parbon (Thirteen Festivals) on Bengali television. This was so popular that it went on for 39 episodes with Sabyasachi as the central character. He has never been to any formal school of drama but his home in Delhi was a ‘drama school’ where his father, Jagadish Chakravarty, was his drama teacher. The Feluda of today was born to reach far beyond the stage and the small screen.
What is your take on Feluda now that you have portrayed him in four different stories?
I have been playing Feluda for 15 years under the directorial baton of Sandip Ray who is wonderful to work with. He gives me a lot of freedom within the framework the character is placed in. I had decided not to follow in the footsteps of Soumitra Chatterjee, the original Feluda. I consider myself too small an actor to emulate his presentation. I did Feluda my own way and happily, my director liked it and so did my audience. I also played Feuda in Sandip’s Feluda 30 a very popular television series. I shall never forget the guidance Soumitra-da gave me when I approached him for tips on the Feluda character when I was first asked to step into his shoes.
What difference did you find between playing Tinkori Haldar in Thana Thekey Aaschhi and Feluda?
There is no similarity at all. Tinkori Haldar is a concept, not a character. He symbolises the conscience of people who are wrong-doers but neatly escape the clutches of the legal system. Tinkori Haldar does not exist. Feluda is a real person created by the magic pen of Satyajit Ray. In such cases, one has to play up to a certain preconceived description which is already given. The only hitch is that readers who have read and drawn up their own notions of the character must be satisfied. Thanks to my director and the entire crew and cast, we have been able to make the audience happy.
Don’t you think that the new Topshe, Saheb Bhattacharya, is a bit too young to be Feluda’s cousin as the actor playing Feluda has grown 15 years older?
I don’t agree. Topshe cannot grow and must remain younger than his mentor and cousin Feluda. He must remain young because that is how his character has been portrayed in the original 34 Feluda adventures Ray wrote. Saheb has given a wonderful account of himself.
[ReviewAZON asin=”B0044FDPA4″ display=”inlinepost”]You say you are an impulsive actor. Does this mean you do not do any homework for your roles?
Every role involves its own homework. The script gives you an idea about what the character entails. A simple thing like the character making an entry into a scene is backed by – where is he coming from? Why has he come into the scene now? What is his social and economic history? What profession does he belong to? Does he have hobbies or obsessions? Answers to these tell me what his dress and food habits are, what his body language is going to be like, what kind of speech patterns he will adopt, how he will use his hands. You slowly find the character take shape in front of your eyes. The rest is to let things take shape naturally.
Your favourite films?
All the Feluda films of course. Then, Raja Sen’s Damu, Prabhat Roy’s Shet Patharer Thala, Pinaki Choudhury’s Kakabau Here Gelen, Subroto Sen’s Ek Je Aachhey Kanya, Kaushik Ganguly’s Waarish and Prabhat Roy’s Sandhya Tara, though not necessarily in that order.
Shoma A. Chatterji