Picture by Rashbehari Das
Make-up: Aniruddha Chakladar
Hair: Noor Alam
Location: Aqua, The Park
Back from Bombay after Hate Story, Paoli Dam is busy with the promotions for Bappaditya Bandopadhyay’s Elar Char Adhyay, which releases on Friday. A t2 chat.
What kind of offers are you getting after Hate Story?
Different kinds of offers, both from Bengal and Bombay. That’s why I need to go back to Bombay right after Elar Char Adhyay releases. I need to finalise the films that I would be doing. I came back to Calcutta a couple of weeks after Hate Story released and I am tied up with the promotions for Elar Char Adhyay.
Next month I will go back to Bombay because there is an offer from Satish Kaushik for a very different film where I play a Marathi girl. Vivek Vaswani too has offered me a film. Vivek (Agnihotri) wants to do another film with me. I am also doing Vikram’s (Bhatt) next, Love Game, which is about wife swapping.
In Calcutta, I will start shooting for Indranil Ghosh’s (art director) debut film and I will also resume shooting for Rhitobrata Bhattacharya’s Basanta Utsab.
So, are you shifting base?
I am not shifting base. See, I am getting offers from Bombay so I will be working there and if I have to work there I have to stay there. But shifting base is not the right term. I want to work with Rituda (Rituparno Ghosh), Goutamda (Ghose) again.... It’s difficult to travel so much between Bombay and Calcutta. That apart, the characters I am offered here and in Bombay are so different that I have to constantly change my look, which is a problem.
Next month, I will take a flat in either Versova or Lokhandwala. I’m keen on Versova because Vikram, Vivek and Gulshan (Devaiah) stay there. I plan to take one of my three cars from Calcutta.... Ma will accompany me initially.
Paoli in Elar Char Adhyay
But what will you do to get into the Bollywood A-league?
I don’t know what you mean by A-league. Vikram Bhatt, Mahesh Bhatt are big names and I want to do more films with them. As an actor I am not bothered about the budget of a film. A big-budget film doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an A-league film. What matters to me is the director, banner and my character. Tomorrow if I am offered a big film where I have a two-minute role, I will never do it.
I have never planned my career. I go by the opportunities that come my way. I don’t have plans to go knocking on producers’ doors. I have appointed a manager in Bombay recently who will look after my Bombay offers. So, let’s see, I am not in a hurry.
Elar Char Adhyay must be significant because it’s your first period piece and you are the protagonist...
See, just because the film is titled Elar Char Adhyay doesn’t mean I play the title role. Bappada (Bappaditya) wanted to name the film Char Adhyay but someone had already registered the name so we had to go with Elar Char Adhyay. The film is absolutely true to the text. Of course it’s significant because it’s my first period piece. Playing such a powerful female protagonist who was a rebel is challenging.
Like in Kalbela (directed by Goutam Ghose) where Animesh (Parambrata Chattopadhyay) had the lead role but was incomplete without Madhabilata (Paoli), here too Ela is very significant but she is incomplete without Indranath (Indraneil Sengupta) or Atin (Vikram). Also, I think, in Bengali literature Ela is among the few prominent women characters and so it’s one of the best roles of my career.
Your look in Elar Char Adhyay is very different from your present look. Which do you like more?
Both. See, I am an actor and I am ready to change my look according to the characters I play. I also had a very different look in Bedroom (Mainak Bhaumik’s film). Lookwise, Ela is very different from anything I have done. My current look is for Hate Story and I am ready to change it again.
You said you are trying to gain weight...
See, I had to achieve this look for Hate Story. For my next film my look will be different and I am a foodie. How long can I eat boiled food?! At this moment I am not shooting, so I am eating a lot! Besides, my trainer has told me I can eat whatever I want. After so many months I had kosha mangsho and bhaat at home with Baba, Ma, Bhai.... It was so tasty!
How was it working with Indraneil and Vikram in Elar Char Adhyay?
Indraneil is fantastic to work with because he is such a dedicated actor. He was also doing Rabindranath for the first time. He was confident and very supportive. And Vikram gelled so well with Atin. I am not saying this because he is my friend. It was great working with them and also with Bappada. For a month before we started shooting we would have workshops through adda. That’s why during shooting there was no extra pressure.
Is Ela the most complex character you’ve played so far?
Ela is definitely more complex than Madhabilata (Kalbela) or Komli (Moner Manush). Every film is important for me but I am very emotionally attached to Ela.... I have done two films with Bappada, Kagojer Bou and Elar Char Adhyay, two complex roles from literature.
Are there offers from the likes of Shree Venkatesh?
No, not from that particular production house. I think I have done only one film with them, I Love You (2007). There are offers to do masala films but I am not too sure if I want to. I have done quite a few films one after the other. I was always very selective and now I am slightly more selective. Earlier I was working only in Bengal but now I am also doing Hindi films. In Tollywood an actor can do a lot more films because we complete a film in a month but for Hate Story I was shooting for six months, so in Bombay an actor can do a maximum of three films a year.
Will you watch Elar Char Adhyay for Paoli? Tell email@example.com