Ananya’s happy to be herself

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By Ananya Chatterjee on playing it by her rules Kushali Nag Why doesn’t Ananya get more film offers? Tell
  • Published 11.04.12

Despite winning a National Award, we haven’t seen you in any film after Abohoman. Why?

Nobody can answer why I don’t get films and I don’t know what it takes to get films. See, we get offers on the basis of our previous work and if that doesn’t happen then it’s sad. Besides, women-centric films are rare in Calcutta. Why can’t anybody make The Dirty Picture, Saat Khoon Maaf or a Kahaani? I think I have gone through too many acid tests to be playing second fiddle now. I know that a lot of different kinds of films are happening these days and yes I do get offers. Without disrespecting anybody, most offers don’t give me the kick to go for it. The rest couldn’t be worked out due to dates and other issues. But those that really excite me I do, like Laptop.... I was drawn to the character while reading the script.

Some people in Tollywood say you demand a very high fee...

Are they the ones who also tell you that I throw tantrums on the sets and that I am a snob and so they don’t cast me? Ha ha ha! There’s no dearth of excuses! Anyway, remuneration is not something I’d like to discuss. Fortunately, some people don’t think that way and they have worked with me. In fact, more often than not when directors come to us with a project, the first thing they tell us is, ‘Amader na budget ta khoob kom, kintu amader ekjon bhalo abhineta dorkar (Our budget is very low but we need a good actor)’. Looks like we actors have to offer a 50 per cent discount to the directors!

We hear you haven’t worn a trace of make-up in Laptop...

Generally, viewers won’t catch me in loud make-up unless the role demands it, like Sreemati in Abohoman (directed by Rituparno Ghosh). Shubha in Laptop didn’t need to look pretty. My role is that of a typist, who belongs to a lower-middle-class family and works for a visually challenged novelist (Kaushik Ganguly).

Could you relate to Shubha?

Not completely. I don’t relate to her social status, her profession or dress sense. But there is a little bit of us in everybody. Shubha, like me, is very sensitive, emotional and egoistic. She will hardly say what she wants. She has a deep sense of pride.

Ananya Chatterjee in Laptop

Does Subarnalata (Zee Bangla) keep you busy and are you happy being a part of the mega serial for so long?

Yes. But it allows room for other work also. I did Laptop while shooting for Subarnalata. It doesn’t come in my way of film offers. And it’s quite sufficient money-wise — as you know I charge a hefty remuneration (laughs)! I am not ashamed to say that I am very expensive!

Did you have to put on weight for the character?

I think I look believable as a woman in her 40s (Subarnalata) with the little bit of extra weight.

The remuneration apart what gives you the kick to stick on to TV when most of your colleagues have long quit the medium?

A serial like Subarnalata gives me the impetus. Besides, it’s my commitment. Yes, it gets mundane at times but then all jobs do. I am happy Subarnalata can throw new challenges at me off and on. People have accepted me as Subarnalata and they still want to know what’s going to happen in the next episode. What is most challenging is to stay put in a daily soap and put up the same quality work till the last day. I think I have taken up that challenge. Besides, I never thought of quitting TV. But if there’s a steady flow of film offers then I might just take a break from television.

Is it because of your TV work that you get less film offers?

Maybe yes. Maybe people assume I won’t be able to devote time. See, it’s not just because of television. Even actors who do only films let go of offers because of date issues.

Are you happy with the way your career has shaped up?

Yes and no.... Yes, because I am living it on my own terms. I have earned a lot of respect from my colleagues, directors and viewers through my work. I am blessed that many people think I am a worthwhile actor. Hailing from television, I have done a few good movies, which have earned me respect.

No, because I thought I would see myself doing a lot more good movies, which unfortunately has not happened!

Given a second chance would you do things differently?

No, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I have been myself always, and would want to remain so. I say this not because I am a haughty human being but this is what I am. I can’t change myself to get more film offers. I believe in doing my work right and the rest falling into place. Now I don’t know when the rest will fall into place, really (laughs)! Someone once told me do your best and leave the rest. It’s a very strong statement and I strongly believe in it.

Are you a part of (art director) Indranil Ghosh’s debut film Shironam?

Yes. I am doing a very interesting role in the film. I play a prostitute. We will start shooting from June.