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‘I’m not a typical Bengali guy’

Are more offers coming your way post-Autograph?

I am not being flooded with offers all of a sudden after the release of Autograph. I usually get a lot of offers. But the feedback to Autograph is good. A lot of people have liked Bumbada’s (Prosenjit), Nandana’s (Sen) and my performances. People have liked the film in general.

Are you interested in doing commercial Tolly films?

Yes, yes definitely. I want to do a commercial film, but there are various kinds of commercial films and I will only do that which appeals to my sensibilities... where the script makes sense and I can do justice to the role. In such a film, I am open to singing and dancing around trees too. I haven’t seen too many Bengali films, call it my ignorance. But I would like to do a film like Dui Prithibi, which is commercial and yet has a sensitive storyline.

But very few makers of commercial films have shown an interest in you...

I know. Possibly because I started off my Tollywood career with a film like Janala (yet to release) and a director like Buddhadeb Dasgupta. Maybe that’s why people think that I am not cut out for commercial films. I did get one or two commercial film offers but I wasn’t convinced. I will only do a commercial film with a big director and a big banner.

Are you happy doing Bengali films? Or is it less out of choice?

I am happy doing the kind of films I am doing. It’s been creatively satisfying.... See, Janala happened to me accidentally and after that I got a lot of offers. At a much later stage in life, I realised that whatever has to happen will happen whether you choose it or not.

Do people in Bollywood know about your film work here?

I am not sure. Autograph released in Bombay and I had asked Barkha (Bisht, wife) to tell a few of her friends to watch it. But I don’t think people in Bombay would really make an effort to sit through a Bengali film with subtitles. I can’t expect that and I don’t think Bengali films have a viewership in Bombay. But I want to do quality work and even international projects. I am a greedy actor!

Any plans to make it in Bollywood?

Yes, I would like to do Hindi films but I am not actively trying for it. If it has to happen, it will happen.

With more work coming from Calcutta, do you plan to shift here?

No. I have no plans to set up house in Calcutta. I have been living in Bombay for so many years and I feel at home there. It’s not very hectic for me to go and shoot in Calcutta and come back to Bombay. I believe in taking regular breaks to energise myself. Also, I don’t do a lot of films at the same time.

How did you like Barkha in Dui Prithibi?

She has done a good job despite not knowing Bengali at all. Besides, she’s a super dancer!

Any offers starring you and Barkha together?

Unfortunately, there are no good offers yet. Riingo had planned a film with us but nothing materialised. In fact, I would want somebody to offer us a film because then my wife and I can spend some time together in the same city. Am I sounding too selfish?!

Which Tolly heroine would you like to pair up with, given a choice?

Oh now, that’s a difficult one! I would like to work with everyone... I am a newcomer. I liked Koel (Mullick) in Dui Prithibi and I have seen Shrabanti in Josh. I think both of them are very good.

What do you think makes you a darling of arty filmmakers?

Well, I can only guess. Maybe the fact that I am not a typical Bengali guy! I have lived in various places and I have a certain amount of cosmopolitan attitude in me and that’s why my films have so far been for the multiplex audiences. I know that with these kinds of films I won’t be able to enjoy Jeet or Dev’s popularity. My films don’t even reach out to the whole of Bengal. So I am trying to strike a balance between popular and sensible subjects.

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