Nine of his films, including both Bengali and Hindi, are on various stages of completion. He’s also slated to return to direction next year. But the problem is that he doesn’t get many roles to his liking. Parambrata Chatterjee unplugged.
RBN: After Proloy, you have Apur Panchali, Highway, Chhayamanush, Hercules, Gangs of Ghosts, Traffic, Yara Sili Sili and Kadambari lined up for release. You are the envy of your Tollygunje colleagues.
Parambrata: 2013 was really hectic. I want to cut down on work in 2014. Now at the fag end of the year, I feel overworked.
RBN: But this is the most rewarding time of your career with challenging roles coming your way.
Parambrata: Yes it is and I do feel it’s a matter of great prestige to do Rabindranath (Kadambari). It’s difficult to carry the bard at the same time, like fitting into the trademark long hair and beard. He comes across as a more intense and composed person. I consulted with Suman Ghosh (director of the film) to sport this appearance, even in the romantic scenes. Hercules is more challenging because I am not like Haru, the protagonist. I had to become what I am not.
RBN: Even Mumbai has to wait for your dates.
Parambrata: Kahaani made me popular in Mumbai. But I never seriously contemplated doing Hindi films. I am doing that lately. The result is Yara Sili Sili.
RBN: So Saswata (Chattopadhyay) is more busy here and you in Mumbai?
Parambrata: We both are busy in Kolkata in our own ways. But Saswatada didn’t try out Mumbai in that sense.
RBN: You want to become a more known face in Mumbai.
Parambrata: Mumbai gives you a pan-India recognition. I have to spend much time in Mumbai for Gang of Ghosts, Traffic and Yara Sili Sili. I am meeting a lot of new people. The work culture is different there. They are more professional than those in Kolkata.
RBN: Kolkata actors are suddenly doing more work in Mumbai; you, Prasenjit and Paoli for example. How does Mumbai react to it?
Parambrata: There’s no issue with acceptance. There are a lot of ‘outsiders’ working in the Mumbai film industry. Our acting sensibilities are not expected from young actors there. Even our above average work finds a lot of appreciation there.
RBN: Grapevine is that following Proloy bombing at the box office, you have backed out from Raj Chakraborty’s Kathmundu.
Parambrata: I had told Raj that I won’t be doing Kathmundu even before I started Proloy. The latter was not a flop but did average business. At some point in your carer you need to pick and choose roles. I had seen the story of Kathmundu in TV earlier. It’s a story about three friends. But it’s not the script I was waiting for.
RBN: Expectations are high form you as a director after Hawa Badal’s success. Why are you taking to direction with so many acting projects?
Parambrata: Well, the urge to direct is getting the better of me. I am likely to start directing my next film in February. It’s been over a year and a half since Hawa Badal. The urge only got worse with time.
RBN: What about Reunuion with Sujoy (Kahaani) Ghosh’s script? Buzz is that someone from Kolkata would direct it?
Parambrata: I worked with Sujoy on the script. Later, somehow I didn’t connect with the idea as much as I did in the beginning. I am not aware of what happened after that.
RBN: You are said to admire Jeet because he’s a good businessman.
Parambrata: Yes he is. Shah Rukh, Akshay Kumar and many other top Mumbai actors have turned producers. In Hollywood, actors are taking to directing. Ben Affleck too has made Argo. So why not in Kolkata? It’s good that actors like Jeet are producing films.
--- Prabuddha Neogi