What’s the best thing about turning 50 (on Sunday)?
The maturity in terms of emotions... the way you handle work and personal life.... I believe 50 is the new 40 and a new Prosenjit was born in the 40 to 50 phase. I don’t worry about ageing. It’s not like I’m desperate to look younger. Anyway people say that I look 36 or 37 but I think 50 is a very interesting and flexible age to be.
What do you fear most about turning 50?
With every passing year, you go into a zone when you realise that you’re losing out on time.
Any celebration plans for September 30?
Nothing much. I will be shooting and then maybe I’ll visit an old-age home with my non-profit organisation Manan. In the evening, I’ll be home with my family. (Wife) Arpita’s birthday is on October 1, so we usually cut a cake on the midnight of 30th!
If you were granted one wish-come-true on your 50th birthday, what would you wish for?
To win an Oscar some day… and why not, it’s the ultimate wish of any actor. Also, I want to be known as a good person. The worst feeling I have had all these years is being misunderstood. I wish people would not judge me.
If you had to switch to another profession for the next 50 years, you would pick...
Filmmaking. My final goal and challenge is to direct a film.
The last time you lost your temper…
It was about five years ago when Mishuk was just learning to walk... One day from the fourth floor, I saw Mishuk crawling out of the gate to the main road. I was furious, helpless and scared. I yelled at his attendants so much that my voice was gone for the next few days.
If you could look into the future, what would you like to know?
Whether my son will be able to make a career on his own the way I’ve done. The other thing I’d really like to know is when I’m no longer there, would people still adore me as their Bumbada. And lastly, if I could catch a glimpse of my timeline for the next 20 years... then I would just follow a flowchart and get there on time. (Laughs)
A song that makes you nostalgic…
Chirodini tumi je amar from Amar Sangi. Really. When I see the young actors doing a medley with that song or even when I’m singing it, I feel very emotional.
A song that makes you want to break into a dance…
Any Punjabi song. I do Bhangra quite well... the first dance I learnt as a Class IV kid at South Point. I still remember wearing a blue silk lungi and doing Bhangra with a stick in my hand. I think it’s a very macho dance form. Later on I picked up disco steps from John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
Your 50th film...
Aparanher Alo by Agradoot in 1989.
A talent you wish you had...
The wisdom to understand politics.
Three prized possessions…
My son and my family, the brand I’ve managed to build for myself.... And every car I’ve ever owned. Currently I’m passionate about my SUV Land Rover and AC van.
The online sites you visit most often...
I visit Sony, Arri and other tech sites to find out about new cameras, edit set-ups and equipment related to cinema. I also like to follow the official websites of Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan or Al Pacino. You get to know a lot about these artistes and it kind of helps me find direction in my journey. YouTube is a must-visit every day.
The first thing you notice in a person at the first meeting...
If his or her feet are clean! (Laughs) It’s important that the people I’m interacting with are hygienic!
Your secret to looking young…
There’s no secret. It’s god-gifted. Yes, exercising, yoga and eating right is important. But what I’ve never done is keep late-nights without a reason or binge on junk food. On a day off, I empty out a bottle of coconut oil on my head. I sleep well. I eat the kind of food that suits us in this climate. And all that I think has helped me look and feel fit and young. (Smiles)
Your best physical feature…
My eyes. That’s what people say.
Your fashion indulgence…
Bandhgalas and ethnic wear.
Thumbs up or down to Botox?
It’s okay if you don’t overdo it. The moment you become dependent on Botox, you become plastic. It’s important to know whether you need it at all. I’m not a Botox person. I consult a skin specialist in Bombay, after all we’re ageing and we have to be conscious but I would never do something that will make people say Bumbada is not looking like Bumbada.
You can cook...
Tea, coffee and snacks with egg and bread. If I like something I’ve had outside, I try to figure out the recipe and make it at home. Most often, it has been a flop.
One thing you could eat every day...
If I didn’t need to worry about my health, then rice, aloo posto, dal, doi, rosogolla and pantua.
The most bizarre thing you’ve ever tasted…
Something like a light Chinese clear soup made of snake parts and snake juice. It tasted pathetic.
A food no-no...
Prawns and crabs because of my allergy. Anything oily or fried. And mangoes. It’s a mental thing. I feel I will put on weight if I have mangoes.
Who would you cast as Prosenjit if a film was made on your life?
Soham. He had played a teenaged me in Swapno. People say his acting resembles mine to a certain extent.
Prosenjit the father or Prosenjit the husband…
Both are equally bad! My wife and son are too good for accepting me the way I am. But I am not someone who shirks his duties. I think I’m more a dutiful father than a dutiful husband. Buro boyesher chhele toh, that’s why I’m more concerned about Mishuk (son Trishanjit’s pet name). I don’t get to spend much time with him but no matter where in the world I am, we talk on the phone regularly.
A fashion faux pas…
When I started my career, all my costumes were a big blunder. (Laughs) White shirt, white pants, white shoes, red muffler, red cap! Yes, it was a statement back then but now when I see myself I go ‘Ey baba, ki shob je korechhi!’
One thing you do when you’re down...
Watch a good movie. I might have seen it a hundred times but watching a Meghe Dhaka Tara, Kamal Haasan’s Sankarabharanam or Godfather makes me happy. It gets me thinking about doing something!
If you had Rs 50 in your pocket, what would you buy yourself?
I would go to the nearest kochuri shop and get myself some singara, jilipi and ledikeni. That’s what I love but can’t eat.
50-plus people you admire:
Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino. Some of the best films of their career they’ve done in their 50s. Also, Sunil Gavaskar. How handsome he was when he turned 50. And John Travolta.... How superb and ageless they all have been even at 50!
Five things you wish you had done differently:
1 I could have accepted the offer to
do Maine Pyar Kiya.
2 I could have found some more time for my family. Which I did not, not intentionally but because of work pressure.
3 If I could do Amar Sangi again. With my 21-year-old face and my 50-year-old maturity, I think it would make for a much better Amar Sangi.
4 I wish I was there beside my mother when she passed away.
5 And that I didn’t look as good as I did when I had started out. There was a time when people wouldn’t cast me because they thought I was too good-looking to play an ordinary next-door guy, and that became a problem when I was struggling to be a hero.