Parno, Neha and Mainak chat over bacon-wrapped prawns at Bohemian. Pictures: Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Are they more fishy than sweet? The Maach Mishti team of director Mainak Bhaumik and two leading ladies — Parno Mittra, who plays a tomboy, and Neha Panda, who plays a Marwari girl from Bombay — pick a bone with t2 over Vodka-soaked Prawns and Bekti Paturi at Bohemian.
Who’s a fishy person for you?
Parno: A person who you don’t know much about, like Mainak. Whenever he gets a call, he runs out of the room and talks and you will never know who he is talking to and you don’t know who he is hanging out with and who he is dating, so he is the fishiest person!
Neha: A two-faced person who is fake, is something with me and somebody else with others.
Mainak, do you agree with that?
Mainak: Yes, I am a little fishy. I want to keep my world separate from everyone else.
Parno: That’s being fishy in a good way! I’m just the opposite. Everybody knows what’s going on in my life.
Have you ever dated a fishy guy?
Parno: Yes, I have dated fishy men! One person took Rs 20,000 from me when I was 18 and never returned it. He was fishy. He would meet me in the evening but his phone would be engaged till late in the night. I called it quits not because he was fishy but because he didn’t return my money! (Laughs) He still messages me and asks me why we don’t meet. I told him to first return my money and then I would talk.
Neha: I have met a lot of fishy guys but I never dated them.
Parno: Oh, I had met one more fishy guy. On the fourth day of our affair, I found out that he was married!
Who do you find fishy in Tollywood?
Neha: I can’t name anyone. I will lose my job as a stylist!
Mainak: Okay, Debasree Roy?
Parno: We are so busy with ourselves that we don’t think about anybody else.
Mainak: You guys are such narcissists! Param (Parambrata Chattopadhyay) is fishy, he is a fish-eater. He is always looking for fish and that’s not a good thing because I hate fish.
Who are your fishy co-actors in Maach Mishti & More? Parno: Well, my only co-actor is Soumitrada (Chatterjee), so I don’t know!
Neha: I was also the stylist of the film, so I can’t say.
Neha: Rachita Chauhan (plays Parambrata’s Marwari girlfriend)!
Have you ever felt like a fish out of water?
Neha: Yes, I have. When I first came to Calcutta (from Rajasthan), you know... it’s very difficult to gel with a new place, culture and language. But now I have become a Bong!
Parno: See, I come from a very different world. My friends are very different from the people in the industry. It took me a while to get along with people and those few months, I did feel like a fish out of water.
Mainak, what does the maach part of Maach Mishti stand for?
Mainak: I guess my definition of maach is homely. It was more to do with family, safety, sort of a cushion... so maach is the cushion where you have your dad, mum and the set-up in life where everything is ready. It’s a part of most of the characters in Maach Mishti... it’s centred around a family. The major association is with Bengalis who are within a family situation and who have this cushion. For instance, Shauvik (plays Rahul, Param’s elder brother in Maach Mishti) is not a part of this cushion because he is coming back from another country. Param and Anubrata (plays Raj, the third brother) are a part of the cushion because they live with their parents. So their story is the maach part.
In Tollywood, who do you think is a big fish in a small pond?
Mainak: Neha. I think she will make a mark in a place like Bombay. I think they will be able to explore her more. The way she looks and carries herself is very Bollywoodish.
Parno: For me, it would be Mainak. I would be really happy if Mainak could make the films he makes in Hindi because they have potential and can have a wider audience. He should definitely get out of Calcutta.
Who’s a jellyfish in Tollywood?
Mainak: Parno is weird!
Parno: Why? Because I am different from the rest? But I get along with everyone.
Neha: I think Raima (Sen). She’s mad!
Mainak: Yes, hands down, Raima.