Ushasie has made her strong presence felt as a powerful performer in films like Bedroom, Ronjona Ami Aar Ashbona and now in Abaar Byomkesh. In the first Byomkesh film, she was seen very briefly through a telephone call. If she had any misgivings, they have been laid to rest with a flesh-and-blood Satyabati in Anjan Dutt’s Abaar Byomkesh which has been taken on by Databazaar Media for distribution, exhibition, screening, streaming and telecasting in North America and Canada. She talks about her experience of working in Abaar Byomkesh that has given her both footage and importance.
Have you given up the small screen entirely though you made your debut in it several years ago?
I have nothing against working on television per se because it was my first step to recognition of my work. But since I have decided to concentrate on films, I am afraid of time clashes and date clashes between work on television and work in films. I am generally picked for off-mainstream serious films which call for focus and concentration. I am not putting a blanket ban on television at all. I will definitely consider work that will take me ahead and not slot me in a groove.
Are you happy that you got a very important role in Abaar Byomkesh?
Anjan-da had already promised me when I signed on for Byomkesh Bakshi that I would get a bigger and more significant role in his next Byomkesh film. That somewhat dissipated my mindset at the time. When I heard the script, I was very happy about the role and also because Anjan-da had stuck to his word. This film focussed on the husband-wife chemistry to a large extent during a trip to Dooars for Byomkesh to recuperate from a serious illness. So from another point of view, it was work-cum-holiday for all of us.
What according to you is the USP of this role in a Byomkesh adventure mystery?
I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity and honour of portraying a classic character from a classic story most Bengalis across generations are familiar with. Byomkesh is an iconic literary detective and Satyabati is his devoted wife. How many actresses at my stage of their career can boast of a role like Satyabati, tell me?
Did you need to put in some extra homework for this role?
In Abaar Byomkesh, Satyabati is shown knitting something or other throughout the film. So, the first thing I had to do was practice knitting all over again which I did not like at all when I was in school. I read and re-read the original novel at least three times. I learnt to adjust to wearing the sari the way I had to wear it because as a contemporary woman, I do not wear the sari very frequently. Anjan-da’s wife had designed my look for the film so I learnt to be fluid in my body language for the part which was very important because the film is a ‘period’ film and I had to behave in accordance to the time it reflects.
Were there any acting workshops organized before the shooting?
No. Anjan-da had organized some script-reading sessions where I followed him almost to the letter because he is an actor himself and knows exactly how his actors should essay their roles. I used to be very scared of him during the shooting of Ronjona Ami Aar Ashbona but now I am quite at home and feel more confident in his presence.