By Shoma A. Chatterji
As a marine engineer, actor Bobby Chakraborty travelled across the world, till he found his true calling as a television actor. The big picture, however eluded him, and he had to content himself with doing bit roles in short films made by friends. Chakraborty’s big break came when he made his debut in a segment in Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Station, a compilation of 13 short films based on Rabindranath Tagore’s poems. The actor talks about his cinematic journey and forthcoming films
Why did you decide to switch channels when you were doing so well as a marine engineer?
Although, it was well-paid job, with an opportunity to travel across the world, I did not want to be lost and just be a face in the crowd, with lots of money in my pocket. Although I had travelled to 41 countries, no one knew me. But, today people recognise me as the actor they had seen on television, walk up to me and praise my work.
But it has been a long and arduous journey.
The right time is all that matters. No matter how talented one might be, what influence one might wield, nothing can happen unless the time is not right for things to fall into place. Success is like the moon shining at a distance and for young men like me who do not come from a film family, it is an uphill journey.
So, has the right time arrived?
This is a question that cannot be answered with a definite yes or no. For me, the right time came when Buddhadeb Dasgupta signed me for Station, a Shorts made on 13 Tagore poems. I am simultaneously doing very important roles in two big films.
How do you define acting?
Acting is reacting. Acting is slipping into someone else’s shoes without even letting him/her know that you have slipped into his character. Acting is observation of things happening around us and applying these in the character you are playing. It is entertaining people, moving their emotions in whatever way an actor wishes to. I feel, I am a natural actor who has cut the rough edges with training and is waiting to excel under an able director.
What are the films you have just signed and are shooting for?
Riingo’s film is called Ek Je Aaachey Shohor (One There Was a City). The characters are called by their real-life names, so I am called Bobby. He is a corporate honcho and a super snob who has groomed his wife Rupsha, who comes from a middle-class background to suit his corporate profile, but looks down on her and slights her all the time. He is also a closet gay, vile, abusive and a chauvinist. The story is about their respective search for that magic happiness that is right there but which they fail to discover within themselves.
What about Pati Parameshwar?
This film is a rip-roaring comedy, directed by Jayashree Bhattacharya. I play an elite, educated and high-profile pick-pocket named Keshav Lodh who is known as KLo. My entry in the film sets things moving. I have different situational looks in the film and am also working with wonder dog Neo, in several action scenes. Besides the films, I am also working in two daily soaps, Kotha Dilam in which I play a gangster and the other is Shokhi in which I essay the role of a honest and noble man.
Your crusade against smoking, drinking and drugs across schools in West Bengal is well-known. How do you manage to find time to juggle your acting career and social work?
Sometimes, a single tragedy can change the direction, the journey and the destination of your life. Some cannot cope with tragedy. Some get used to it with time, while there are a few who turn it into an asset for others. I believe that awareness about this constant and conscious consumption of poison in the guise of cigarettes, bidis and cigars, even hookahs, should begin from childhood. That is why, I run around from one school to the next. I learnt the art of time management. I have covered around 50 schools till now, giving live demos and in some cases, even parents have cut off their addiction after being sermonised by their children!
Rituparna-Rajatabho team up after 14 years
Fourteen years after appearing together in Aparna Sen’s Paromitar Ek Din, Bengali film actress Rituparna Sengupta and Kaminey actor Rajatabho Dutta will team up once again in a comedy. Jayasree Bhattacharya, the director of the comedy Pati Parameswar, said that the film would have a feel of the 60s’ blockbuster Subarnogolak retold in today’s time. “Rituparna plays the role of a forever-dissatisfied wife of a police officer,” she said.
Malayalam director P Ramdas passes away
Yesteryear director P Ramdas, who introduced the neo-realistic wave in Malayalam cinema during the 1950s through his path breaking movie Newspaper Boy, passed away on March 28.
The 83 year old veteran is survived by two sons. Breaking the traditional notions and techniques of cinema, he stepped into tinsel town with Newspaper Boy, a social drama on the lives of a printing worker and his family, at the age of 22.