How did the three of you bond on the sets of Koyekti Meyer Galpo?
Mumtaz: We had to make love! (Laughs)
Raima: We didn’t make love. (Tries to sound serious)
Mumtaz: Okay, that was a joke!
Parno: (Points at Mumtaz) She fainted, apparently because of the love-making scene!
Raima: (Blushes) We didn’t make any love!
Mumtaz: But there was a scene and then we both (she and Raima) said, no way are we going to kiss! Subratada’s (Sen) intention was to actually make us do it properly.
Is there really a lip-lock between Mumtaz and Raima?
Raima: No, we don’t have any kissing scene... and no exposure and no love-making and no lesbianism like it’s made out to be.
Parno: There are only apples! (Laughs)
Mumtaz: Yes, we were just made to eat apples! [In a particular scene, Mumtaz offers apples to Raima to seduce her]
Raima: Yes, because that day there was no food on the sets, so they gave us fruits! But there’s one scene where there’s a glass of milk with two straws in it and, Mumtaz and I were to sip milk with the straws. We couldn’t because we would burst out laughing! There must have been some 17-18 takes. Every time we came near the glass, we just started laughing! Hers (Mumtaz) is a bit of a shady character in the film.
Mumtaz: Bit?! Quite a lot! I was made to wear a blonde Shiv-Parvati wig! I have loud make-up with a red dress and I’m trying to seduce Raima!
Raima: (Laughs out loud) What are my parents going to think!
Mumtaz: I mix drugs in the milk!
Raima: But there’s no seduction in the end.
Parno: But there are the other two girls who kiss in the film! [Newcomers Tanima and Nimisha]
Raima: Not us but! There is? I didn’t know that. But, of course, I haven’t seen the movie, I have done a cameo.
Mumtaz: Cameo!? But she is prancing around in the movie from the beginning till the end!
Parno: I know why Raima did Koyekti Meyer Galpo. Because she was hungry and she needed food....
Raima: Yes, I love unit food!
Parno: During the shoot, she would always ask, ‘Can we have juice, can we have fries’!
Raima: I think after she (Parno) saw me eat so much, she went on a diet.
Parno: Yes, I was like I can eat a lot, but Raima? How much does she eat?!
Raima: On the sets of Sekhar Das’s Extra Sensory Perception, there was a sequence in a club and I finished a plate full off French fries and he was like how can a heroine eat so much!
Is Raima the madcap in the group?
Raima: Not me. I am playing a very simple, innocent girl who’s come into this gang of bad women! I was very quiet during the film shoot.
Mumtaz: Yes, yes very quiet... shanto meye! (Winks)
Parno: I had seven days of shoot. It was fun shooting because we would chat and order food all the time!
Raima: I wasn’t the prankster, I was just too busy eating! But yes, we were gossiping from morning till night!
What do you gossip about generally?
Raima: We do harmless gossip. Industry gossip of course, but harmless.... We are not bitchy. We bitch about Hollywood actors!
Parno: We gossip about male actors!
When others gossip about you, how do you react?
Raima: I laugh at myself. I don’t feel bad at all. If anyone gossips about me, I blame myself. So I don’t care.
Parno: I’ve not heard any gossip about me.
Mumtaz: I choose not to hear it. I’m sure they do, specially when you are suddenly in the limelight.
Raima: We are not the typical actress type. I have had a lot of actress friends. I have heard that actresses don’t make friends with each other for whatever reasons.
Parno: You know, I had asked Aniruddha (Chakladar, make-up artist) before the shoot of Koyekti Meyer Galpo to know if Raima was friendly. She is super friendly! I didn’t expect it....
Raima: Yes. She knows a bit of my secrets now.
Parno: We go to the same tarot card reader now, by the way.
Tell us about your characters in Koyekti Meyer Galpo...
Raima: I play a girl from the suburbs who comes to Calcutta and gets into the escort service. I don’t have any dialogues in the film, it’s a cameo.
Mumtaz: All rubbish! She had a lot to say in the film. Like ooh aah ouch! (Everyone laughs)
Raima: So if anyone wants to watch it for me, please don’t! Mumtaz’s scenes are a surprise. Watch out for Mumtaz!
Parno: She is the desperate housewife in the film!
Mumtaz: Yes, my character is desperate with a capital D and her husband (Shantilal Mukherjee) is too old to satisfy her!
Parno: See, I knew it.
Raima: Mumtaz is hoping that after this movie she will get many more Nil Nirjane! (Everyone laughs)
Mumtaz: We shot the film in winter and we were made to bathe in cold water for a scene!
Parno: Well, I play Molly, an escort who is in a relationship with a man (Subrat Dutta).
Mumtaz:: I play an escort who gives up the job and marries a much older man.
Is it all play and little work when friends are shooting together?
Raima: It was great fun because we are so different.
Parno: I used to hate her, but now I like her. (Points at Mumtaz)
Raima: Why? I thought you were not the Tollywood type....
Parno: Because I used to think she was trying to hook her sister (Moubani) up with my ex!
Mumtaz: Yes, she (Parno) told me about it the other day!
Raima: Parno is someone who is still hell-bent on her ex! I hope the ex reads t2!
Parno: My ex doesn’t follow me on Twitter, he follows Raima Sen!
Do you look forward to working together again?
Raima: Yes, we are doing a film together in July (directed by Mainak Bhaumik). Surprisingly, after Koyekti Meyer Galpo, all of us are working a lot more this year. And now that we get along so well, it’s easier to work together.
Not too many actresses get along too well...
Parno: We don’t know them!
Raima: Good one.
Do you have anything in common?
Raima and Parno: Gossip!
Raima: Girls love to gossip. Like sometimes I am waiting for a shot and it’s so boring that we start gossiping!
Parno: Yes, it’s gossip and food and for Mumtaz I don’t know what... milk?! (Everyone laughs out loud)
Mumtaz: I am a quiet person when it comes to shoots.
Parno: She concentrates. We also do.
Raima: Yes, we can switch off and switch on.
Mumtaz: It’s great fun hanging out with them.
Raima: It’s good to hear the gossip, right?
Mumtaz: It’s great!
Locket chatterjee gives a sneak peek into her ‘bold’ role
Picture by Anindya Shankar Ray; make-up: Aniruddha Chakladar; styling: Anupam Chatterjee
You play the ‘madam’ of an escort service in Koyekti Meyer Galpo. Have you ever met one in real life?
Never. But you get to see them in the Park Street area. Of course, I have read about them in newspapers. Maybe I have even seen them but you can’t really differentiate between a normal girl and an escort. I always thought they are from another planet (laughs)!
Tell us about your role...
I play Tania, who runs an escort service where Parno Mittra, Raima Sen and Tanusree work. Mine is a bold character.
You’ve played a prostitute in Goraay Gondogol too.
But they are completely different characters. They may be in the same profession but Tania is far more flesh and blood. As Tania, I take care of the girls. I pay them and also protect them. She is a compassionate woman. All the women working for her nurture the dream of giving it up one day and settling down with a man. In Goraay Gondogol, I was a prostitute from a red-light area who wasn’t polished. Besides, the focus wasn’t on my profession.
What were the challenges of playing Tania?
Tania’s language, more than her body language, was the biggest challenge. There is a lot of slang and cuss words. It was difficult for me because I’m a kind of person who doesn’t use slang. I discussed it with Subratada a lot. I prepared myself mentally. But initially it was a big problem... because I don’t even say shaala! In one of the scenes, Tania asks a man, ‘escort service lagbey?’ To say this was very tough. You need a lot of guts to say this. While doing these scenes, I kept telling myself that I was Tania and not Locket Chatterjee. The expletives are in paati, raw Bangla, which is why it was all the more tough! But it’s good, you know, that I am being offered different kinds of characters. I want to play all kinds of roles.
Your son Prem has returned to Calcutta from his boarding school in Darjeeling. Are you apprehensive of what he will think if he sees these films?
See, kids today are very smart. They know everything. Prem surfs the Net and since I’m a working mother, it’s not possible for me to keep an eye on him always. He can differentiate between real life and cinema and he understands that what he sees me doing on TV is what I do for a living. And I have never crossed my limits even in bold scenes.
What are your limits?
I have never given it a thought really but showing a bold scene aesthetically is very important even if it’s a love-making scene. I don’t think one should undress in a bed scene!