Raima and Riya Sen during campaigning in Bankura. Picture by Rashbehari Das
Actresses Riya and Raima Sen have been seen on the campaign trail with mother Moon Moon Sen, who is contesting from Bankura for Trinamul. Metro asked them about their experience:
You’ve become poster girls for both your mum and Mamata. How are you dividing your time between them?
Riya: We’ve come here for both and they decide where we go next. In fact, the last time we spent more time with Mamatadi than with mum. This time, we’re spending more time with my mother.
Raima: She told my mum that she was going to take us so we went with her to Birbhum, Murshidabad and Malda. We had already finished campaigning for my mother in Bankura district, so she took us in a helicopter all over the place.
How was the chopper ride with the chief minister?
Raima: We’ve been on choppers before.
Riya: Yes, Vaishnodevi and on film shoots but it’s different when you’re on a chopper with the chief minister, of course.
Raima: She gave us cotton plugs for the ears because of the noise from the helicopter. We looked down from the chopper and saw people running like ants to meet her. It was great! She’s got such a huge fan following, people just love her!
What was it like living it up with Mamata Banerjee?
Raima: She looked after us and made sure we ate well. I don’t know why she thinks we’re always on a diet, which we’re not. She kept sending us food to the room and was very protective. No one was allowed to enter our rooms.
Riya: We were taken care of like her babies. Even when she was busy with meetings, she made sure we were looked after. Small small things she did for us.
Raima: The moment I stepped out of the helicopter, my heel broke. So she got me chappals and later sent me to the mall in Malda to buy shoes. Very sweet, like our mother. By the end of it, her personal bodyguard became our bodyguard because she was so protective about us.
Riya: She’s taken over looking after us like she is a family member — like our grandmother, mother, friend. She’s very encouraging, broadminded and in tune with the youth of today.
What do you keep whispering to each other, at the meetings?
Raima: She was very amused and intrigued by Riya and me.
Riya: She doesn’t only talk about politics. She knows we’re younger and (we) have a different relationship with her. She’ll talk to us about our clothes, our hair, our films, laugh about our little fights and always ask if we want to speak before asking us to speak.
Raima: And she’s very proud and happy after our little speeches. She’ll say: “Ki shundor shajiye bolle (How beautifully you said it)”.
Riya: Exactly how our grandmother would do. Happy with whatever we said or did and made sure we were fed all the time. We’d talk and laugh about anything. She did not impose any rules on us as to what we should wear or not wear. In fact, she complimented me when I wore my yellow cotton anarkali and told me I should wear different colours more often as I’m a young girl. I said sorry to her for wearing sleeveless and she was like ‘So what? You can wear whatever you like, no one can stop you!’ I told her how my dad had told me earlier that adivasis wear sleeveless too to which she laughed and said he’s so right!
Any important lessons learnt?
Raima: We’ve learnt to give speeches and in Bangla. It’s not like a film speech. Also learnt to be very patient.
Riya: Yes, ten times more patient than in the movie industry. This experience for me was an eye-opener because this is real life and we’re so far removed from real life and real needs. It’s so important to respect and value what we have. Oh, and all the women and young girls love Raima!
Raima: And all the men love Riya! We can actually distinguish the fans.