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An actor’s director

Action.” The shout comes from a woman in capris, boots and a red sleeveless top. A closer look reveals the identity of this woman of action — Satabdi Roy, directing Friend, her third film after Abhinetri and Dhaaki.

The actress-turned-director seems oblivious to the stifling heat of the cluttered floor as she strives for the right shot from her two new finds, Ridhima and Shayak. “Look into the camera, Ridhima. You should know the rules by now,” barks Satabdi before enacting the scene to perfection. Ridhima mimics her director as best as she can. The take is okayed.

Friend has a difficult subject and we are shooting the climax now. I wanted to try something new. I love to experiment. I didn’t opt for the beaten track even with my debut film Abhinetri. My second, Dhaaki, too is an off-beat film. Friend is a sci-fi film and though I am enjoying doing it, I wish the budget was a little more. While Bollywood would have made it with a Rs 50 crore budget, I have to make do with just about a crore. We are targeting a December release and I hope the kids will like it. There are lots of them in the film, plus robots and all that,” Satabdi tells t2, during a break.

The film also stars Soumitra Chatterjee, Supriya Chowdhury and Sabyasachi Chakraborty.

The two newcomers Ridhima and Shayak look tense after the shot, but their mentor sends them packing to the make-up room for a costume change. Ridhima’s first film is giving her butterflies in the stomach.

“I was chosen through an audition. I play Diya, an NRI girl who comes to live in Calcutta but hates everything about the city. I fall in love with Shayak. Beyond this I’m not supposed to reveal much,” smiles the shy 19-year-old who is studying English honours from Bhawanipur Education Society College. Ridhima, who honed her skills at KFTI on Golf Club Road, is also doing G. Hussain’s Control with Arshad Warsi! “I had always dreamt of being an actress,” she smiles.

Debut boy Shayak was picked by Satabdi from a talent hunt contest a couple of years ago. “I play Shayak, an orphan who looks after the kids at an orphanage. Didi (Satabdi) has warned me not to say anything more about my role,” says Shayak, back from Gorumara and Samsing after romancing Ridhima in song sequences shot there.

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