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Bossy Mom

Eleven years after Aparna Sen’s Paromitar Ekdin, theatre actress Sohini Sengupta is back on screen as Mamata, a mother obsessed about her only son in Shiboprosad Mukhopadhyay-Nandita Roy’s debut film Ichche. A t2 chat...

What took you so long to say yes to another film after Paromitar Ekdin?

The lack of a good offer. I didn’t want to play just another ma, kakima or boudi on screen. I mean there’s nothing wrong with these roles but there should be a scope for performance. The character should be justifiable. Besides, after Paromitar Ekdin, people kept offering me the same kind of roles [Sohini played a mentally challenged girl in Paromitar Ekdin] and I didn’t want to do those. When Nanditadi and Shiboprosad offered me Mamata, I immediately liked it. Ichche is very different from the kind of films that are being made nowadays. Both of them (Nandita and Shiboprosad) are trying to do something different and if they can continue to do this, it will be great. Also, Shiboprosad narrated the script to me with a lot of care and that kind of convinced me to play Mamata.

Tell us more about Mamata...

She is a possessive mother. She is domineering but she loves her son a lot. Whatever she does, she thinks it is for the good of her son. But that may not be so.

Did you identify with Mamata?

Yes. Actually I identify with all my characters, be it in films or theatre. The identification takes place gradually, you know, because while portraying the character for a few days you go into that mode. And Mamata is a universal character, every mother will identify with her.

Shiboprosad thinks that a lot of people would end up hating Mamata...

Could be. But I could strike a balance and not get negative because the script was written beautifully and I hardly had to put in too much effort to make Mamata positive. Her character is very well etched out, yet in certain scenes I felt that whatever she is doing is wrong... but that’s the beauty of the character. And why only Mamata? The audience may even hate the son [Samik, played by Samadarshi].

Are you open to doing more films?

Yes, certainly. But the character should appeal to me. I don’t have any pre-set notion about what roles I want to play. It could be any role in any film, but it should give me the scope to perform. And I don’t just want to be part of arthouse films. I want to be part of films that everybody can relate to and enjoy. A film, I believe, is for everybody... for the parar boudi and also for the intellectual.

Kushali Nag

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