| Madhabi Mukherjee with Soumitra Chatterjee in Ray’s Charulata
The grapevine still buzzes about how she hid herself in a cockroach-infested bathroom to fob off the advances of a rogue filmmaker. Or how she tried to save an actress from her ‘suspicious husband’ by hiding her in her bedroom…
The anecdotes about Madhabi Mukherjee go on and on, some oft-told, others rarely repeated. A lot of them — and many more moods and moments — are now captured on CD tracing the life and times of Satyajit Ray’s favourite heroine.
“Life has become so hectic that no one has the time to read. I was once a voracious reader but thanks to a fast-paced life, my books are now gathering dust. Since we now live in a world of technology, I thought bringing out my biography on a CD would be the best idea,” said Madhabi, the day before its release.
Produced by Uttamkumar.com, Kichu Smriti Kichu Bismriti, the CD traces the life of the actress from her childhood in suburban Calcutta. Spokesperson Kaushik Moulik says: “Madhabidi has seen it all. And she is a very outspoken lady, who believes in calling a spade a spade. We thought the concept of an audio biography would be the best way to tell her story.”
The two-and-a-half-an-hour CD – the first of its kind that the Tollygunge industry has seen —is priced at Rs 200 and contains some readings and songs, interspersed between her narrations.
The veteran actress is “most excited” about the project. “Many people say they love acting and that’s why they are here. I have no qualms about admitting that I came into this industry to support my family as we were in a poor financial state. Moreover, I came from a dysfunctional family, which made things very difficult for me in the begining. All this and a thousand other unknown facts find a place in the audio biography,” reveals Madhabi.
The narrator throws light on her lesser-known films like Dui Byayi (her debut) and Tonsil, before taking a behind-the-scenes look at the likes of Charulata, Komal Gandhar, Streer Patra and Subarnarekha.
“I feel the time alloted to me is not enough. My career spans over four decades and naturally I have seen quite a lot. Working with directors like Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Tapan Sinha and others, I have enjoyed the best of Tollygunge,” she smiles.
The biography is the result of “spontaneous” sessions. “If I felt like singing in between narratives, I did so without any hesitation.”
Madhabi is keen to work on a sequel, while some other Tollywood veterans have also expressed their eagerness about CD biographies, says Moulik.