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‘I always wanted to act in films’

Known as Master Bittu after his debut as a three-year-old toddler in Chhoto Bou, today at 30, Soham is one of the most popular male leads in Bengali cinema jostling with already established actors

Mumbai | Updated: August 1, 2014 1:00:10 am
Soham Soham

By Shoma A. Chatterji

It is difficult for a child actor forced to hibernate till he or she is old enough to play the lead. What did you do between being a child actor and becoming a hero?

I did what I needed to do – wait to grow up and study while waiting. There is the risk of failure all actors face all the time in their career. I avoided disappointment and depression by completing my graduation. I come from a middle-class family which has been a big pillar of support. I knew the risks but I had also made up my mind that acting in films was the only thing I wanted to do in life, never mind the risks.

Your film Bangali Babu English Mem did not do well though it was directed by Ravi Kinnagi for the Shree Venkatesh Films banner. What is your response to this?

I liked the script and was fascinated with the chance of working with Raviji. It was a learning experience. I think the timing of the release was not right. Otherwise, it had all the ingredients of young love and Mimi and I had a very good working chemistry. In our line of work, ups and downs are a part and parcel of the trade. So, I leave it behind me and look ahead.

What about your latest release Golpo Holeo Shotti?

By God’s grace, it is doing very well indeed and we are overjoyed. Though this is a remake of the southern original Pizza, it has offered me a new kind of character to explore – that of a pizza delivery boy who has a shocking experience when he goes to deliver pizza at a strange address. In the film, I play a guy in love with a pretty girl who writes horror stories but is facing a fund crunch because his girlfriend is pregnant. In Bangali Babu English Mem, I play a rooted Bengali from a small suburb suddenly planted beyond India. It was a fun role. Mimi is cast opposite me in both films and we had lots of fun.

What kind of an actor are you?

I am a director’s actor. I acted in Satyajit Ray’s Sakha Prosakha but was too young to understand anything. I have been extremely fortunate to have worked under talented film-makers like Rajeev, Raj Chakraborty, Ravi Kinnagi, Tarun Majumdar, Raja Chanda and learnt from all of them. Each director brings in his own style, approach and treatment and we learn from them to enrich our own inputs into each film.

You recently met with an accident.

Last year, an ear infection tied me down to a hospital bed for a month. It was life-threatening but I came out of it. This time, I suffered a severe muscle sprain during workout at the gym. The backache was really bad but according to the doctors, it was sourced back to my neck.

What kind of homework do you do before a scene?

I read the script again and again to discover the different shades of the character. I try to internalise the character and go under its skin. Rudra in Golpo Holeo Shotti was tough because though it is aimed at the mainstream audience, the horror element makes it different. I have never played a role like this one ever before. The challenge made it worth the while.

Which favourites would you pick from your oeuvre?

Prem Amar, Amanush and Bojeha She Bojhena are my favourites. All three films were big hits. In Prem Amar, I played the male part of the ill-fated lovers. In Amanush, I am a psychopathically-obsessed lover and in the last film, I play an ordinary guy who suddenly finds love in the terrace of the house opposite the shed in which he lives. I look for a good banner, a good director and a good character that offers very good scope to explore myself in terms of acting.


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