Interview with Tota Roy Chowdhury – Angshumaner Chhobi and more
Actor Tota Roy Chowdhury talks to Calcutta Tune about ‘Angshumaner Chhobi‘ and his journey as an actor in Bengali films. Explore the brilliant Tollywood actor in an exclusive interview.
CalcuttaTube: Please tell us something about your role in ‘Angshumaner Chhobi’.
Tota Roy Chowdhury: I really cannot say much about it, since I have signed the non-disclosure contract. Director Atanu Ghosh can tell you more about the film. All I can say is that it is the journey of three persons. Indrani Haldar, Soumitra Chatterjee, and I play those three characters.
CalcuttaTube: Have you ever worked with director Atanu Ghosh before?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: No, I haven’t. This is my first experience with Atanu Ghosh, and working with him was, indeed, great! He has the clarity of thought and economy of action that identify him as a great director. He is going to be a huge name not only in the Bengali cinema, but also in Indian cinema as well. I am so glad to be a part of Atanu Ghosh’s movie.
CalcuttaTube: You are doing the role of a choreographer in ‘Anghsumaner Chhobi’, aren’t you?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: My role is not exactly of a choreographer, all I can say. There are some good choreography sequences and great songs in the movie. That may have led to some misconceptions about my role as a choreographer.
CalcuttaTube: Did you attend any workshops for ‘Angshumaner Chhobi’?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: No, I did not. I just discussed my role with Atanu-da. He gave me a vivid idea of his expectations from the character I had to portray. It helped me a lot.
CalcuttaTube: What other movies are you working in right now?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: I have worked in ‘Poran Jaay Joliya Re’ that just got released. My upcoming movie is ‘Angshumaner Chhobi’. I am going to work in a commercial film by director Sujit Mondal with Koel, Dev and me which we will start shooting in August. There are a couple more. Since I have not signed the contracts yet, I cannot say much. Nothing is finalized.
CalcuttaTube: In your early career we saw you more in negative roles. You worked in diverse character roles much later. Why was that and how was the transition?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: Initially when I started acting, I did not have much control over the roles that I was going to play. I had to work in whatever roles were offered to me. I was in the phase of proving my acting abilities then. And I never thought of becoming a hero. I came to the industry to become an actor. And frankly speaking, I do not have the looks to be a hero in the Bengali films…
CalcuttaTube: …I do not know why you say that. You are tall and slim, and the definition of good-looking is changing over time.
Tota Roy Chowdhury: May be, it has changed over the years. But when I entered the industry my looks were my disadvantage. It may be an advantage today, but definitely not back then. I wanted to be more of an actor. Sticking to any single image did not appeal to me much, either. But we all have to through through the preliminary phase of proving ourselves as actors before we can reject any roles and ask for a particular one. Initially I did whatever roles were offered to me, and tried to give out my best. Then after some time, the directors realized my versatility and things changed. It was a long journey and an inevitable one. We all have to go through stages like this in life.
CalcuttaTube: When you started working in more character based roles, was the audience reaction and acceptance a challenge for you?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: It sure was. Type casting a fact, even in a place like Hollywood. Arnold Schwarzenegger means action, Tom Cruise means romance, and action in some films, John Travolta means an intense negative role. An actor may have an image associated with his name.
CalcuttaTube: Did you have to struggle to break the negative image you once had?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: There was a struggle of course. Commercial films always have an aspect of type casting. Now I work in more versatile characters. Rituparno Ghosh gave me this break, which proved to be a turning point in my acting career. In Rituparno’s Shubho Maharat, he gave me the scope of acting in a character role. Since then I have been working in character roles and it is kind of fun. An actor gets to live the life of all the characters he portrays. It can be the role of a lover, son, lawyer, cop, rogue or anything else. An actor gets to experience of being each of these characters by acting in these roles. And this is what I have always wanted to experience. When I portray a character in a film, I get into an intimate association with it. When the shooting for a film ends, it feels like parting away from a close friend, whom I have to bid farewell forever. A gloomy sadness looms for a couple of days within myself.
CalcuttaTube: It sounds very interesting. What is the journey like into the role, and the coming out of it?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: The journey into the role is more interesting. I have to analyze very intensely the character I am going to play. I need to understand every single thing about the role I am to play. I try to think why the character does and does not do certain things, what was there in his past, and what could have happened if he had a different past. I potray the character after analyzing all its possible aspects. When I finish acting in role, and depending on the strength of character it leaves behind an emptiness. When I finished working in the character of ‘Chokher Bali’, I was traumatized for quite some time. I developed a strong association with the character of Bihari for six months. It was like losing a good friend.
CalcuttaTube: Have you ever directed any films? Or thought of directing one?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: Not at all. I do not have any directorial abilities. Directing a film is the most difficult part of film making. I neither have that talent, not that much of patience. I am content with acting.
CalcuttaTube: Have you ever acted in plays?
Tota Roy Chowdhury: Not at all. I helped the actors when they were working in a play. Group theatre adds a horizon to one’s acting-related abilities. But I did not ever act in one, which I will always feel sorry about. And now, I do not have time for that any more.
CalcuttaTube: Please tell us something about the person Tota Roy Chowdhury.
Tota Roy Chowdhury: Beyond my busy schedule, I like to read books, dream, watch movies, exercise. I am an introvert by nature and a lot of times like to stay cocooned at home. Home is the only place where I can completely be myself. And it is also the only place where I know I will not be judged and be accepted as whatever and whoever I am. It makes me feel more secure and relaxed. I even skip going on vacations and would just stay home for several days at a stretch.
– Interviewed by – Shrabanti Basu, CT Reporter, USA
Listen to Exclusibe interview audio coverage with Kolkata Bengali Actor Tota Roy Chowdhury
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