Priyanshu Chatterjee and Dia Mirza in Friday release Paanch Adhyay
Paanch Adhyay director Pratim D. Gupta tells us you’ve gone really deep to play Arindam...
Oh! Thank you… Arindam is an ad filmmaker-turned-filmmaker... somebody who is very passionate about his work. He wants to do things right. Though he comes from an ad film background, his girlfriend at that time insists that he should get into filmmaking because she thinks he has potential. He gets into films and becomes successful. But there are things that happen in his personal life, which kind of unfold in a way he had not imagined. Eventually, he redeems himself.... This is Pratim’s first film and he has totally outdone himself. I loved the script! He has treated it very nicely. I have worked with so many first-time directors that I know where they are lacking and that it is a learning process for them.
Did you give Pratim any tips?
Every day before work started and before it ended, we sat down… Dia (Mirza), me and Pratim, discussing what was going to happen the next day... whatever way we could help Pratim. We wanted it to be, at the very least, a very good film, if not a classic. A film that people go to watch, a story that will touch their hearts, make them cry and laugh. All the elements are there in the script. So I hope when people see the film, they will say, ‘Oh! these guys worked really hard and we will watch it and we will watch it again.’
When you are working with a first-time director, do memories of your first day at shoot keep coming back?
I had done television before. I kind of knew my space when I began as an actor. So I was not uncertain of what I was going to do. I was uncertain of how the audience would accept me. Will they accept me in that character, then will they accept me as an actor? Luckily, the whole team’s effort… my effort, my sincerity paid off. People accepted it. They were like, ‘Okay! He is not too bad.’ For film directors, it is the same thing. But for Pratim, it is a double task because he is not from this medium. He has been covering and writing on films. For him there is a lot of learning that happens every day… the technical aspect, what the actors are doing. He is also somebody who is well-versed with world cinema. He knows (Krzysztof) Kieslowski and Majid Majidi. So, he is coming from a good place, in terms of imagery and visuals. He knows the symbolism of a certain image. He has put all of that into his film, which I think will enrich it. So, there are pluses and minuses. I just hope I am with him the night before the premiere because I could not sleep for four-five nights before Tum Bin released. By that time, you’ve seen the film yourself… so you are like iss scene mein aisa karna chahiye tha… uss scene mein waisa karna chahiye tha.... Some people are not. So, I will tell Pratim to calm down.
You have worked with Dia Mirza in Koi Mere Dil Mein Hai (2005)…
She is a great girl and a fantastic artiste. It is a joy to work with her and have her around. She is professional and very co-operative. If there are any last-minute changes, she listens and then does it her way. Because I have worked with her before and that film took time to make, we’ve had a lot of time during the making of the film…. I had no idea that Dia had been cast in this film. I don’t think Dia had any idea that I was being looked at for this role. We are very lucky that this kind of a symbiosis happened and all three of us (Dia, Priyanshu and Pratim) worked on this film… it’s helped the film. The way Pratim has written the characters, we could play with them.
Are you happy with the way your career has shaped up? Do you think you made the right choices?
I don’t know about right or wrong but I made very different choices, like right after Tum Bin, which was commercial, I did not want to do just singing and dancing. So my next film was Pinjar, a period film. I grew as an actor. I wanted to do something that would creatively keep me going. I am not from a Bollywood or Tollywood family. My father had a regular job. There was always a limited amount of money and when you come from that space, you value things more. You value the art of it more.... I am happy. I did not come with the idea of being a huge superstar in Bombay. I wanted to do good work. And that’s what I am doing. No regrets! I have been lucky that people liked my work and they call me back for more. I think there is more to come… definitely, a lot more to come. I am taking it easy, not pushing it. I don’t want to wake up in the morning and say, ‘Oh god… I’ll have to go to shoot again.’
What kind of characters do you want to play now?
Something interesting... maybe a potboiler. Potadar Kirtee is an intensely funny film. I really, really, hope they release the film soon. I have also finished Rajdhani Express.... And the character of Arindam is fantastic. It has got a lot of graph to it, a lot of reality.
Paanch Adhyay is a film about relationships. Do you think relationships are for keeps?
Of course, relationships are for keeps. Paanch Adhyay for me is ‘with love to Pratim’. Love is a universal thing. It changes form and intensity but it is always within us. I am a totally one-woman man!
And you featured on t2’s list of Gorgeous Guys...
I can’t help it! It’s the way people look at it. Oh achha, if the nose is like that and the eyes are like that and lips are like that, then he is gorgeous! For me, what is more important is what I do with it.
Name three women you find gorgeous…
Dia Mirza. Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan). Konkona Sensharma.