|Pix by Rashbehari Das|
My father, Shyamal Ghoshal, was an actor who worked with stalwarts like Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak. The biggest names in the film fraternity would come home often. One such visit changed my life.
Theatre thespian Tripti Mitra had dropped by and was narrating the story of Rabindranath Tagore’s Daakghar, her next stage production. I was only six and was so moved by the story of a little boy who falls ill and eventually dies that I hid in my room pleading a stomach ache, and cried. When Mitra found out, she cast me as Amal and so my tryst with acting began. I couldn’t read Bengali then so my mother would read out the script to me and I’d memorise the lines. The great Shambhu Mitra was my co-actor and Daakghar went on to become a landmark in Bengali theatre.
In 1984, Aparna Sen cast me in her critically acclaimed film, Paroma. I was doing theatre then and Paroma drew me into films. A few years later, I got the opportunity to work with filmmaker Gautam Ghose. My work in his short film, Ek Ghat ki Kahani, drew the attention of Ranajit Ray, who cast me in Chena Achena, a televised series of short stories. The show led to a significant development in my personal life — Ranajit and I got married. The show also won me many accolades. Later, serials like Ek Akasher Neeche, Protibimbo and Antarale made me a household name.
Recently, returning to theatre has been a major turning point. I’ve been playing the lead, Nandini, in Gautam Halder’s production of Tagore’s Raktakarabi since 2010. It won me the best actress award in the theatre category at the Zee Banglar Gaurav Samman ceremony.
Work has always been a priority but my personal life took a new direction with the birth of my son in 1995. I gave up my work in Mumbai, settled in Calcutta, and have never regretted it.
Of late, I’ve been trying to explore new avenues. I recently anchored a television documentary on cricketer Saurav Ganguly called The Warrior Prince. I’m also looking forward to Gautam Halder’s next movie, Mukti, based on writer Moti Nandi’s short story, Bijolibalar Mukti.
(As told to Amrita Mukherjee)