After 13 masala films, you are doing a “cerebral” film like Aparna Sen’s Goynar Baksho. How did that happen?
I got a call from Shrikantda (Mohta, producer, Shree Venkatesh Films). He asked me to meet Rinadi (Aparna Sen) at her residence. The moment Rinadi saw me, she said, ‘You will play Rashmoni, Moushumi’s (Chatterjee) chhotobela!’ Rinadi-r amake khub pochhondo (She really likes me)! I have a double role. I play Moushumidi’s chhotobela as well as Konkonadi’s (Sensharma) daughter Chaitali. I’m very excited because I will have to speak Bangal, but that’s not a pressure because I’m actually a Bangal from Barishal and I speak Bangal with Baba at home. I have been told that for the role of Konkonadi’s daughter, I will have to smoke and ride a scooter. I am just too excited!
Have you read Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s Goynar Baksho?
No. I have asked Rajib (husband) to buy me the book. But I have gone through the script several times and it’s there in my memory. The only thing I am really worried about are the workshops. I will be doing workshops for the first time in my career! Sohagdi (Sen) will conduct the workshops and I am very scared. I am under a lot of pressure!
Have you met Konkona before?
No, never. But I have seen her Page 3 and other films. I am lucky because in Goynar Baksho, I will share screen space with some very good actresses like Konkonadi, Moushumidi…
You are making a move towards sensible cinema at a time when masala films are not doing well in Tollywood...
Actually I had a gut feeling for quite sometime, you know, that I might get an opportunity to do a cerebral film! A lot of people are doing it now. Koeldi (Mallick) has done Hemlock Society. I watched the film sitting beside her and I loved her in the film, she was just awesome! So even I wished that I could be a part of a meaningful film and just then I got the offer! I will try and give more that 100 per cent to the film.
But I don’t agree with you that masala films are not doing well. Jeetda’s Awara is doing exceptionally well.... I think it’s just that the audience wants to see us in a new avatar. They want a different taste. Like my fans are very happy that I’m doing Goynar Baksho. They are wishing me all the best on Facebook. They have seen me dance around trees in 13 films and Goynar Baksho will give them the opportunity to see me in a different light. There are some heavy scenes in the film!
You haven’t had a release in almost a year. Your last was Phande Poriya Boga Kande Re which didn’t do very well...
Phande Poriya... did good business. I think it’s (the one-year gap) a positive thing, because my fans are eagerly waiting to see their Shrabantididi! Sometimes it’s good if there’s a gap after a release otherwise the audience gets bored. Besides, I am very busy with shows. We would have wrapped up Idiot by now but Rajib got busy with Bikram Singha, that’s why the gap.
What kind of characters do you want to play now?
I want to do an action film where I can do some kick-ass action! I have told Shrikantda about it! I love films where women do all the action, like Vijayashanti did in Tejasvini or Rekha in Khoon Bhari Maang.
One director from Tollywood you would love to work with?
I really wanted to work with Aparna Sen and I’m so, so excited about Goynar Baksho. I want to work with Rituparno Ghosh, Srijitda (Mukherji) and also Raja Chanda.
Who are your favourite actors in Tollywood?
Soham, I think, is a very good actor. Dev has the X-factor, Jeetda has personality….
Do you get to spend enough time with your son (Jhinuk)? How do you divide time between work and career?
Well, when I don’t have shoots I devote all my time to my family. I don’t party or socialise much. But at the same time, I love my profession. Besides, I joined this profession keeping all this in mind. I have been working since I was six-seven years old, so it’s quite easy for me to balance both. When I have long outdoors in Hyderabad, Jhinuk accompanies me sometimes... and when I do Rajib’s films, of course we get to spend time together.
Do you play a role when your husband does the casting for his film?
He chooses the hero and the heroine. But for the rest of the cast, I sometimes come up with suggestions.
How do you handle link-ups and rumours?
Trust is very important. I have many friends in the industry but they are, well, just that, friends. Besides, both Rajib and I have been here far too long to get perturbed with all this. We just don’t think about rumours and link-ups.
Are you superstitious?
I’m not superstitious but on the day my film releases, I keep praying to Lord Krishna and I also visit Kalighat.