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What’s cooking with paoli?

You’ve shifted to your new flat in Lake Gardens on New Year. Are you planning a house-warming party soon?

Oh yes, yes! I have to. Not immediately, but maybe in a couple of months, with close friends and family. And with my favourite red wine! (Laughs)

The flat is your New Year gift to your parents…

Yes. We’ve lived in a rented flat on Golf Club Road for a very long time. Since the time I started working, I dreamt of buying an apartment for my family. I am so happy that I could. I bought it in 2010. But the interiors, all designed by me, took about two years to complete.

So you have a second career option... interior designing!

(Laughs out loud) No! I already have a second career option in mind. I want to open a restaurant in Calcutta someday!

You spent the better part of 2013 in Mumbai…

Yes, that’s because of the Yara Sili Sili shoot.

How did it go?

Majorly hectic. Baapre baap! We had night shoots for 15 days at a stretch. We would start at 7pm and shoot till 7am. And since I play a crucial character with two different shades, it took a toll on my health. Bombay apart, we also shot in Goa.

Why did you devote so much time to Yara Sili Sili? Do you think it has the potential to get you greater recognition than Hate Story?

I really liked the subject. It’s a love story and I’ve been wanting to do a love story for quite sometime. It’s about the journey of two people. Parambrata (Chattopadhyay) and I play the two pivotal characters. There are lovely songs and we danced a lot! (Laughs) I enjoyed the film. It’s a good unit. Subhashji (Sehgal, director) had assisted Gulzarji as an editor. It was a good experience.

You’ve done quite a few Bengali films with Parambrata. How was it shooting for a Hindi film together in Bombay?

We had a lot of fun! I would catch up with his set of friends, he would come over to my place to meet my friends. There were a couple of musical nights too, where Param would play the guitar. Overall we enjoyed with whatever little time was left after shooting.

So, you didn’t feel homesick this time unlike when you were shooting for Hate Story?

In fact I was more homesick this time because I was not well during the shoot. We had a few rain sequences and so I caught cold.

Do we get to see you more in Calcutta this year?

Yes. Certainly. I am doing Parapar with Sanjoy Nag. Then I will get busy with the dubbing of Hercules (Sudeshna Roy-Abhijit Guha), Family Album (Mainak Bhaumik), Chhaya Manush (Arindam Dey) and Subrata Sen’s untitled film with Rohit Roy.

Because you concentrated on Bombay last year, did you miss out on any good films in Calcutta?

No, I don’t think so. I did Hercules, which is a very good film. Family Album is a very different film. Parapar, which I am currently shooting for where I play a rape victim, has a fantastic script. And no matter where I am, if someone needs me for a film I am just a call away. If I have to stay in Calcutta for two months for a film, I will stay here. When I did the Konkani film Baga Beach, I stayed in Goa for a month.

But last year you hardly had any release. Sweetheart tanked at the box office even before people knew about the film…

See, when directors offer me a character there has to be some substance in it. I don’t look at films in terms of their box office success. My concept of cinema is different. If I like the content and if I would enjoy doing a film, I do it. Box office success cannot decide whether it’s a good or bad film. I have not come to do cinema from the box office perspective. Cinema is passion for me. I do films because I love films, and action to cut is where I enjoy the most. My selection of films depends on three things — the script, my character and the director. I don’t do films to pay my EMI. I don’t want a lot from life. I am happy and content with whatever I have.

Okay, so what’s your New Year resolution?

I want to take my parents on a leisure trip. It’s long due. We are yet to decide a place.