An Interview With Mr Prosenjit Chatterjee
Can mirrors ever lie? One look at Prosenjit Chatterjee and you’d probably have to say that yes they can. Age, for him, is just a number. Since his debut in “Dui Prithibi” playing the younger version of the mythical Uttam Kumar in 1980, Prosenjit Chatterjee or Bumba Da as he is so affectionately called by his peers and fans has been the leading star in the Bengali Film Industry, acting in over 250 movies over the last three decades. One may argue that most of his movies are commercial movies with rustic storylines that intellectuals stayed away from, but since Rituparno Ghosh’s “Chokher Bali”(2003) he has acted in many critically acclaimed movies like “Dosar”, “Sob Charitro Kalponik”, “Moner Manush”, “Autograph”,”Noukadubi”, “Baishe Srabon” earning him numerous accolades for his acting prowess. We caught a keep up of him on the sets of “Shanghai”, a political thriller by Dibakar Bannerjee, co-starring Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin and Emraan Hashmi.
In the recent past, you have rejected numerous roles from Bollywood. What changed your mind?
Well, I have been very keen on making a reappearance to the Hindi Film Industry for quite some time now. I signed Shanghai because to be frank it is different from the typical Bollywood masala movies, where the same love story between a hero and a heroine is shown time and time again.
What is so special about Shanghai?
Definitely the director Dibakar Bannerjee.
What about him?
Dibakar is one of the most noticeable directors of this generation and I have always wanted to work with him. He has a rare approach to storytelling that I very much admire. When Dibakar approached me for the role of Dr. Ahmadi, it took me two months to decide. I thought Shanghai deals with a very current socio-political aspect and have a strong message.
You have comparatively less screen space than you are used to. Did that have any effect on your decisions?
Yes, it is true that my character has a comparatively small screen time. But, again, the whole plot of the movie revolves around Dr. Ahmadi and the biggest challenge for an actor according to me is to venture into unknown territories. You work so hard to create a niche for yourself in this industry and this role was definitely a challenging one for me because this was a totally new character and a totally worthwhile experience I must say.
So what’s next for Prosenjit? Is there anything left to accomplish?
(Smiles) I don’t really have challenges or goals per se anymore. But, I will keep on working in this industry as long as I feel I have something to give. There is a new wave of talented directors in the industry and a lot of ideas are floating around. I would like to contribute in any case little I have learnt in my last 30 years’ experience.