Saheb Bhattacharya on Aparna Sen movie ‘Iti Mrinalini’

Iti Mrinalini-Bengali Movie Poster
Iti Mrinalini-Bengali Movie Poster

July 10, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Shaheb Bhattacharya is the new young star on the horizon. He is picky and choosy about his roles though he is quite new. After having anchored reality shows on Bengali channels, he began with Sandip Ray’s Feluda series with Gorosthane Sabdhaan. His second big film Iti Mrinalini is scheduled for release and there is another big film coming on. It is Mahesh Manjrekar’s Ami Subhash Bolchhi, starring Mithun Chakraborty in the male lead. How does it feel being working with stalwarts like Aparna Sen, Mahesh Manjrekar, Sandip Ray and Mithun Chakraborty? Let us hear it from Shaheb himself.

What role are you playing in Iti Mrinalini?

I play a young Naxalite who has a relationship with the character portrayed by Konkona Sen who becomes a famous actress which is done by Aparna Sen. I was surprised that with my soft looks, Aparna Sen who is a stickler for perfection, cleared my audition. I was thrilled and nervous at the same time. On the first day of the shoot, something very funny happened. I put on my make-up before reporting for the shoot at home and went directly to the floors. She was aghast! She said – ‘what have you done? Who told you to put on make-up? Go and wash your face and come.’ I understood she wanted me to wear a rough and tough look which would not have been possible with that goo on my face. Saborni Das worked hard on my look along with Rina-di.

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[ReviewAZON asin=”B004MS75MM” display=”inlinepost”]What kind of homework did you do for your role in Iti Mrinalini?

Rina-di is very particular about workshops for actors. I went through a grilling workshop both under the guidance of Rina-di and Sohag Sen, the theatre personality who is famous for conducting workshops for actors before the shooting begins. I have heard that they lose their temper during the workshops and their students have a grueling time but both were very affectionate towards me.

Did you do any kind of homework on your own?

Rina-di wants her actors to be fully prepared when they report on the sets. I had internalized the script and this helped me internalized the character I was to portray. Other than that, I did not need to do much homework as the workshop took care of the rest.

You have worked in Mumbai for Ami Subhash Bolchhi and in Kolkata for your other films. What difference do you find in the working arrangements in the two cities?

I am truly sorry to admit that Mumbai is very organized compared to the atmosphere in Kolkata. Besides, the discipline is comparatively better there than here. But I enjoy working here too as this is my home town and I have been brought up here.

What were your feelings when Sandip Ray first asked you to play Topshe in Gorosthane Sabdhaan?

I was thrilled but a bit nervous as well. Topshe is not very easy to portray as he has to be always less than Feluda and follow him like Mary’s Little Lamb without questioning him, not only literally but also ideologically. Sandip-da gives the script beforehand and expects us to read it thoroughly and come prepared to do our stuff on the sets. If he likes what he is seeing, it is okay. If he does not, he gives suggestions. Mahesh-ji does not give any script at all because he prefers his actors to be totally spontaneous and he takes it from there. It has been a learning process for me all the while.

-Shoma A. Chatterji

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