He is the proverbial funny man of Bengali cinema. Meet Biswanath Basu who has struggled from blink-and-miss parts in TV serials to important character roles in films. Here, he talks about his struggling days, work, upcoming projects and his family.
RBN: What do you enjoy more? Anchoring or acting?
Biswanath: Obviously acting and that’s why I have joined the industry. Besides, anchoring is not entirely different from acting and I enjoy it as well.
RBN: But you started as an actor.
Biswanath: Absolutely. It was a very minor role in the TV serial Biyer Swapno. None noticed me.
RBN: You had to struggle a lot.
Biswanath: Yes. Very much. The industry is very harsh to newcomers, especially those who have no backing. There were not so many TV channels like today. Opportunity was limited. The film industry too was stagnant and alternative cinema had no takers.
RBN: So how did you get work?
Biswanath: I had to knock on producers’ doors everyday. My looks were a drawback. I never looked like a hero. I struck rapport with some people and began to get work. And I made some genuine friends who have supported me in thick and thin.
RBN: Has the situation changed for newcomers these days?
Biswanath: Yes. To some extent. Options are more now. Landing a role in not much difficult if you can prepare yourself and have a minimum look. A good singing voice can land you an anchoring job.
RBN: What was your family’s reaction about your career decision?
Biswanath: I didn’t get much support from my family. We were not that wealthy to an extent that my family would support me if I failed in acting. I lied at home while going to work. Subhasishda (Mukherjee) helped me a lot in those days.
RBN: What are the projects that you have in hand?
Biswanath: I am doing Agnidev Chattopadhyay’s Tere Aane Se, Ashu Trikha’s Koyelanchanal, Bouddhayan’s Din Kahon, Aniket Chattopadhyay’s Janala Diye Bou Palalo and Anindya Chattopadhyay’s Opentee Bioscope. Lined up for release are Mainak Bhoumik’s Ami Versus Tumi, Sudipa Chakraborty’s Bobbyr Bondhura, Anindya Bikash’s Bonkubabu and Arka Singh’s Amaar Ami.
RBN: Anchoring, TV and cinema. How do you balance the three?
Biswanath: It fully depends on oneself. There’s nothing to balance separately. I have cut down on TV and anchoring lately. I am mostly concentrating on films where things have turned better in the past few years. New people with new ideas have entered the industry. Even mainstream films are technically and visually much superior.
RBN: What about your home front?
Biswanath: I have my wife and son at home. I rarely go to parties and head home straight after work. I love watching films and try to take my wife along. If she can’t, I go alone. I am not much of a help in running the home. I can’t even boil an egg (laughs).
RBN: And your hobbies?
Biswanath: I love travelling, especially to offbeat places. I go to my native home in Basirhat even if I manage a couple of days break. It’s my breathing space.