An IT guy who minds his own business and a semi-hippie girl who’s high on life — together, Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Raima Sen make the “sweet” couple in Mainak Bhaumik’s Maach Mishti & More (produced by Mojo Productions and Tripod Entertainment) that released this Friday. A t2 chat with the trio in a sweet den — Mahaprabhu Mistanna Bhandar on Dover Lane.
Do Parambrata and Raima make up the mishti part in Maach Mishti & More?
Mainak: Yes, absolutely.
Raima: I thought Param is the maach factor and I’m the mishti.
Mainak: Yes, she is definitely the mishti factor. She is the sweetest eccentric I’ve ever had to deal with.
Raima: Thanks a lot!
Mainak: No, no. She is, she is.... (thinks)
Raima: It’s so difficult for you to say something sweet about me!
Mainak: It is difficult to fake. (Laughs)
Param: What’s the big deal? Just say that it’s nice to have a crackpot on the sets. It’s like shooting an animal with a camera... like in a programme for National Geographic!
Mainak: Yes, it was like an episode of Animal Planet!
Param: Animals and kids are fun to shoot. They are unpredictable!
Raima: (Points at Mainak) Because he is also from the animal planet, so it’s easier to connect!
Mainak: It’s like dealing with an untrained pet.
Param: Yes, absolutely.
Mainak, what’s sweet about Raima and Param?
Mainak: As I said, the untrained pet.
Param: That’s Raima. Am I an untrained pet too?!
Mainak: It’s fabulous working with Param because he is also a director. He knows the job and when I mess up, he is there to help me. I’ve worked with him for a very long time. We did The Bong Connection (Mainak was the editor), Aamra... He is like family. He surprises a lot. After he came back from England, there’s a new Parambrata, the actor. He is less anxious. He was very hyper, extremely anxious, nervous. He is still the same person but he is just better at camouflaging it! (Laughs)
Raima: He has become punctual. He is surprising me of late, coming to the sets before me!
Param, do you find Raima sweet?
Param: Recently, while shooting for Chhaya Manush, I made her sign a paper and write down — ‘I hereby give my consent to pay Parambrata Chattopadhyay a quarter of my remuneration for this film, for helping me with my lines and tolerating my nonsense constantly’!
Raima: The paper has got lost!
Param: No, the paper is with Arindam (De, director of Chhaya Manush). She actually went ahead and wrote it, signed and gave it to me! That is why she is sweet. She is extremely sporting, absolutely free of hang-ups. She is sans the heroine-type nyakami. She tries very hard to do nyakami but she fails. She is a simple, straight-forward girl. She is very sweet to be friends with.
Raima, do you find Param sweet?
Raima: Yes, because he tolerates my nonsense and yet works with me!
Raima and Param, what’s sweet about Mainak?
Raima: That he only gives me English dialogues.
Param: What’s that character in The Lord of The Rings? (Gollum? we suggest) Yes, that character is very sly and slimy but there’s something cute about that fellow. That is what Mainak is!
Mainak: Okay, I’m slimy, sly, wicked!
Param: The first time I saw him, in a coffee shop, I saw this really pretty something walk in. I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl!
Mainak: He had a crush on me!
Param: Yes, yes. Because I thought he was a girl! About eight years back, he had nice long hair. He looked exactly like a girl from Presidency College. And I thought, ‘Baba! Ki bhalo dekhte meyeta, heavy cute dekhte.’ Then one day he came to me and said, I want to do a telefilm with you. And then I was like, ‘Oh tui chhele!’ (Laughs) I also find him sweet because he always gives me roles which are kind of a joker, which nobody else does. Everyone else offers me serious, smart roles.
Mainak: That’s because I have seen that other side of Param.
Param: On the sets of Maach Mishti... I was very slow, almost sloppy. I think that has worked.
Mainak: Param dropped all his energy during the shoot for Maach Mishti and held on to it. It was fun to see he can swing the other way.
What’s not-so-sweet about you all?
Mainak: Raima is underconfident as an actor.
Param: Yes, even I feel so. She doesn’t believe in herself at all. She has no self-confidence.
Raima: For the papers all this?!
Param: I do think she needs to know herself a little more. She needs to take her work slightly more seriously, not in terms of punctuality but in terms of what the output is, because if she does that she will deliver brilliantly. But she is barely serious about what she is doing.
Raima: That’s the end of my Bengali film career!
Mainak: I think because Rituda (Rituparno Ghosh) really takes care of her, she thinks she needs help when she doesn’t. I have never seen anyone play characters so vibrantly but she thinks she is not getting it right because there’s no one telling her how to do it.
Raima: I’m used to a little bit of guidance because I have worked with Rituda since the beginning of my career.
Param: She should be left to herself.
Mainak: She is fabulous as herself.
Raima: But you are supposed to be saying bad things about me.
Mainak: Well, that’s it.
Raima, what’s not-so-sweet about Param?
Raima: He has become punctual.
Param, do you find Raima sexy?
Param: I think she’s more sweet than sexy.
Param, what’s your definition of a sweet girl? You like your girlfriend sweet or sexy?
Param: I think a sweet girl is someone who is sporting. Ideally, should be devoid of spiral-like thought processes. I would want my girlfriend to be sweet and sexy.
Raima, do you like being called sweet or sexy?
Raima: Well, maybe sexy is better. Though girls prefer sexy to sweet, since I’m sitting between Param and Mainak, it’s okay to be sexy and sweet. But I’d rather be called both.
Param, what do you prefer girls call you — sweet, hot or cool?
Param: I don’t mind as long as they keep calling me any one of these! I quite like all these adjectives. But I get to hear cute and sweet more.
Raima: He’s become a narcissist!
Raima, what’s the sweetest pick-up line you’ve heard?
Raima: Let’s go for coffee.
Mainak: That’s why you are sweet. Someone should say, ‘Let’s go for a drink... how about dinner?!’
Raima: It starts from coffee. It takes longer to get to dinner. It can’t go straight to dinner.
Param, have you got any sweet pick-up line?
Param: See, when I used to try pick-up lines, it used to be intellectually-driven. And it always worked! For instance, I meet a woman for the first time and I say, ‘Have you seen that film?’ and I mention a bizarre film and she has to say ‘no’ and ask if it was good. And the conversation begins!
Sweet things we would find in your refrigerator?
Param: During winter, definitely notun gurer mishti, mishti doi, makha sandesh and pantua.
Name a sweet that describes you best.
Param: Chitrakut. It’s very straight-forward and I can connect.
Raima: My favourite is After Eight Chocolates.
Param: The question is not about ‘favourite’...
Raima: Are both of you taking my exam here?!
The sweetest thing you’ve done for someone?
Mainak: Saying ‘thank you’ when I didn’t mean it.
Param: I was in Hyderabad recently. There’s a mosque by the Charminar called Mecca Masjid where I was taking pictures and two kids — Omar and Irfan — from a nearby slum wanted to be clicked. I took a lot of pictures, went to a store, got them printed and came back but couldn’t find the kids. So I gave the photos to the khadim of the mosque to hand them over to the kids.
Raima: The sweetest thing I have done for anyone? (Thinks)
Param: Very difficult for Raima to answer this! (And the three break into laughter)
Sweetest director you’ve worked with...
Param: Sujoy Ghosh. He is this guy in shorts or white kurta who roams around saying Kaku, Kaku…. He is hilarious!
Raima: Babuda (Sandip Ray).
Param: (500) Days of Summer.
Mainak: Sleepless in Seattle.
Raima: The Bicycle Thief. [Everyone starts laughing] I knew,
I knew! [That Param and Mainak were going to laugh like crazy]
Favourite Bengali sweet...
Raima: Mishti doi.