Tota Roy Choudhury has always been an actor to reckon with. With a slate of good films in his kitty over the years, the actor has made a firm place for himself in the Bengali film scenario.
Tota Roy Choudhury is the best action hero in contemporary Bengali cinema. He is also a versatile actor who can slip effortlessly into any role. The length of the role does not bother him but national visibility does. So, after playing the lead in a dramatic role in Arindam Sil’s Aborto, he directed and acted in his own film Villain, where he performed some very challenging stunts himself.
In A.R. Murugadoss’ Katthi, he played a cameo against Tamil star Vijay. “Released on October 22 last year, Katthi had the highest opening in all the four South languages. I learnt a lot from Murugadoss and Vijay who is down-to-earth and charming. This has pushed me to seek fresh pastures beyond Bengali cinema without leaving my roots.
While I will continue to work in Bengali films, I am also looking at a Pan- Indian presence,” says Tota who is also a skilled dancer. What does Murugadoss have to say about this Bengali find for his Tamil film? “Tota’s role in my film was not big but I am happy with his discipline and commitment towards work. He not only elevates his scenes to the next level but also reaches beyond what the script demands.
He is very good at conveying the mood of the scene through his eyes which is a rare and outstanding quality for any actor,” says Murugadoss. That is great considering Tamil is an alien language for Tota who worked hard on it for two months. Yet his lines had to be dubbed. Has his work in Katthi fetched him more offers in the South? “I cannot divulge anything now,” he says, smiling.
A professional to the core, Tota accepted the commercial failure of his own film Villain easily. One more addition in his kitty is a short Bengali film Ahalya directed by Sujoy Ghosh (Kahaani). “A gripping thriller, it is targeted at the festival circuit.
I enjoyed working with Sujoy,” says Tota. And what does Sujoy have to say about Tota’s work? “Though we worked together for a short while, it was great fun. Tota is dedicated and I never felt that we were working together for the first time. He would listen to what is expected of him and then add his bit.
I would happily leave the responsibility of acting to him,” says Sujoy. Tota, who is to play the main antagonist in Kushan Nandy’s forthcoming Hindi thriller Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, says, “I play the son of a zamindar. There’s Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays a professional killer in the film.”
Of his Bengali films, he picks out Atanu Ghosh’s recent Ek Phali Rodh where he plays an independent blind man who lives alone and rejects any help from visually normal people. “It was one of the most challenging roles of my career.
I visited the Narendrapur Blind School for Boys as part of my homework,” says Tota, who is also doing Raja Dasgupta’s Bengali film Kaalratri, a suspense thriller. “I am a director’s actor. Every director has taught me different things. The director is God during the making of a film, I believe.
If the script and story were the heroes for Anjan Choudhury who had the confidence to feel the pulse of his audience, Prabhat Roy was known for his focus on technique. Haranath Chakraborty brought technicians from South and along with Shree Venkatesh Films and Prosenjit Chatterjee, they hit big time.
Late Rituparno Ghosh was an institution unto himself,” he sums up. When asked to pick up best five films over his career, Tota chooses Chokher Bali where he was paired opposite Aishwarya Rai, Sunglass with Konkona Sen Sharma, Aborto, Ek Phali Rodh and of course, his own film Villain. ● Says TOTA ROY