Banshiwala Shayan

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By Shayan Munshi on being a Banshiwala in Anjan Das's Friday release KUSHALI NAG
  • Published 18.11.10

Are you disappointed that Ekti Tarar Khonje didn’t do well?

It’s okay. Things like this happen and one has to understand that everything one likes cannot be liked by others. That’s the way life is and you have to take these things in your stride.

How did Banshiwala happen?

Anjanda (Das, director) got in touch with me right after Ekti Tarar Khonje. He sent me the script and said that the story was an adaptation of one of Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s novels. I have seen a few of his films and I like his cinematic narrative. I would like to do films with directors like him who follow a particular style and genre that is more classical. Besides, I want diversity in my portfolio and I wanted to see how it was to work in a different environment with very talented actors who I’ve always wanted to work with, from Soumitrada (Chatterjee) to Indranidi (Halder) and Koushikda (Sen). Paoli was a very good co-star too.

Tell us about your role in Banshiwala...

I am the banshiwala in the film. My character Mridul comes from a zamindar family near Santiniketan. Mridul, who has been living in London for about seven-eight years, decides to return to India to sell off his ancestral property. He is the sole heir and he also plays the flute.

You started off in Tollywood playing an NRI who returns to his roots in The Bong Connection...

I was a musician in Bong Connection and I’m a flautist in Banshiwala. But the characters are very different. In Bong Connection I played a person who was brought up with American values. In Banshiwala I’m a Bengali who’s probably studied in a boarding school in Calcutta. Unlike in Bong Connection, I am aware of my background, of my Indian values, in this film. In Ekti Tarar Khonje, I had played a small-town boy who’s intelligent and well-read but his understanding of life was very small-townish. So, all my roles have been very diverse.

There’s a liplock between you and Paoli in Banshiwala. Were you comfortable doing it?

The kissing scene was done very aesthetically. I am a professional and I was comfortable. And I think an actor should not have any inhibitions.

Why don’t we see you in more Bengali films?

I like to associate myself with good cinema and I am more than happy to meet people who want me in their projects. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury has planned a film with me and I will do it.... I have always been choosy about what work I do. I do make a conscious effort to look for the best.

You haven’t done another Anjan Dutt film after The Bong Connection...

Ask Anjanda why he isn’t casting me. I would love to work with him. He is a very cool guy. I am sure he will cast me when he has the right role. Or that’s what I think (laughs)!