Two heroines make their debut in National Award-winning director Aniruddha Roy Choudhurys Bengali film Aparajita Tumi. While South-based actor Padmapriya has over 45 films in five years to her credit,Bengali girl Kamalinee Mukherjees fame to glory is rooted in Southern films,where she has acted in 20 films in seven years. The actresses on the ambitious project.
How did Aniruddha Roy Choudhury discover you?
Kamalini Mukherjee : We had discussed another project in which I was to do act but it did not work out. Instead we started work on this film. We are bonded over our similar perceptions about my role in the film and I am happy about this.
What is your character in the film?
Kamalini : I play Ushoshie,a Kolkata girl married to a millionaire in the US. The screenplay keeps the character ambiguous by design,and is not very clear. I knew that mine was not an author-backed role so I had to put in all I could into this blurred character. I am grateful to Aniruddha because he giving me this role. It was great working with a director who placed so much faith in an actress he had never worked with before. I lived her the way I felt her rather than the way I saw her.
Padmapriya : Cinema is a directors medium,it is best left at that. I merely unfold the written and unwritten details a director has sketched for the character.
How did you prepare for your first Bengali film?
Padmapriya : Bengali does not sound like Greek to me and I have a knack with languages. I memorise my lines for the scenes to be shot the next day. The detailing and character workout was a group effort. There was considerable time spent on this as it is a film that looks within rather than looking out. No matter how much we prepared,what worked for Aparajita Tumi was instinct. On the sets,the instincts of the co-actors,the camera movement and angles,a lot developed as we went along. At times it was different from what we had prepared.
What made you accept the film in the first place?
Padmapriya : The team. It is difficult to put together a technical and artistic crew of this order,would not have liked to let go off that for anything. A film is finally about the people who make it and Aparajita Tumi is an experience that has been a valuable add on to my resume.
What was your interactions with Prosenjit?
Kamalini: Usho-shies relationship with Pradip,which Prosenjit has portrayed,is fuelled by lust and anger. These are passionate emotions that needed to be justified on screen. The scenes are intimate but are more lyrical than titillating. I was very nervous but Aniruddha was patient and encouraging. Prosenjit guided me very gently through them. Few co-actors care so much about the performance of a co-actor like Prosenjit does. There is a lot one needs to learn from him.
Padmapriya : Prosenjit is a thorough professional and gentleman. As a co-actor,the difference in age and experience never came between us. I had the freedom to work with him the way I had with,maybe Indraneil Sengupta or Kamalini. The fact that he treats his co-actors at par with no air of his vast experience speaks volumes of his ability to open up as an actor and human being.
What about your equation with Chandan Roy Sanyal who plays your husband in the film? And your co-actor Padmapriya who is also from the South?
Kamalini : Chandan is a revelation. The way he unfolded the character of Ronojoy was amazing to watch. He has a deep understanding and love for cinema. His bohemian attitude is like a doze of adrenaline.
As for Padmapriya,I am happy that we have worked in one more film together. We earlier did the Malayalam film Kutty Srank together,which won the National Award. She a force to reckon with. I was thrilled when I learnt that she was to play Kuhu in Aparajita Tumi. When I watched the film,I was struck by her stunning performance and called up to congratulate her.
How did the Southern link happen?
Kamalini : National Award-winning director Sekhar Kammula called me for his film Anand when I was working for Revathys Phir Milenge. He had seen me in an ad film. Anand went on to become a pathbreaking film and brought me the Andhra Pradesh State Award,the Golden Nandi. A varied selection of films in all Southern languages followed. I have been fortunate of having worked with some of the most talented people and have been made to feel at home wherever I worked.
What are you looking forward to next?
Padmapriya : Cobra,No 66,Madurai Bus and Evan Megharoopan in Malayalam,Thanga-meengal in Tamil, Sri Lanka being directed by Prasanna Vithanage an adaptation of Dostoveskys short story The Gentle Creature as well as a Sri Lankan film to be released in Tamil.
Any expectations from Aparajita Tumi?
Padmapriya : I want the film to do well at the box-office,the producer deserves that little pat. For me it would be nice to do more Bengali films. India is a vast country and I believe regional films really define what it is all about. That way being a regional actress doesnt bother me. It is doing that,that fetched me Aparajita Tumi.