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Dibyendu Bhattacharya: ‘I don’t prepare for a specific role, I prepare as an actor in my mind’

Dibyendu reunited with his Code Name: Tiranga co-star Parineeti Chopra in Akshay Kumar-starrer Mission Raniganj

Sameer Salunkhe Calcutta Published 19.10.23, 11:33 AM
Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Dibyendu Bhattacharya Instagram

Shooting for Mission Raniganj has been a memorable experience for Dibyendu Bhattacharya as he got to work with an ensemble cast after a long time. The actor who plays the notorious Mr Sen in the Akshay Kumar-starrer chatted with us about his character in the film, his special equation with Parineeti Chopra, his childhood memories of Durga Puja and his plans to be there for his daughter at her national football tournament.

What was it like to play a notorious character in Mission Raniganj: The Great Bharat Rescue?


Dibyendu Bhattacharya: It is always nice to play a significant character in a star-studded film. When someone is trying to sabotage a rescue mission, it is a really bad thing. Sen is a notorious, negative character but he has his own reasoning and conditioning for being like that. I played it with grey shades.

Sen also comes as a relief. You like to see such bad guys and see them get bashed up too. If the character I play serves the interest of the film, then it’s great. I love it. And if it connects with the audience, then nothing like it.

Were you aware of the Raniganj incident before the film came to you?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: I pretty much had an idea about coal mines, how they work and the difficulties faced by the mine workers – darkness, gas and claustrophobia. They do it because it is their bread and butter. I was born in Calcutta and nearby areas like Asansol, Burdwan and Dhanbad are coal belts. We often used to get bad news from there. The Chasnala disaster had happened. During my childhood, I used to sing folk songs about that incident. I also knew about the Raniganj incident.

How did you prepare to play Mr Sen?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: I don’t prepare for a specific role; I prepare as an actor in my mind. It is all about the connection, spending time with your colleagues, family, nature, and everyone possible. I know people like Sen; he is never satisfied, always cunning and slimy, not at all transparent. So, my preparation has been like that — knowing the people around me.

Where were your portions in Mission Raniganj filmed?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: My portions were partly shot in London, Durgapur and the studios in Bombay. Mission Raniganj was a fantastic collaborative film. I really loved working with the director Tinu Suresh Desai; he is very passionate about his work and his instructions were very precise. I am a director’s actor, so I love the fact that my director knew exactly what he wanted. It made my life easier. When the captain of the ship knows what he wants, it saves a lot of money because in filmmaking every penny counts. Desai is kind of a one-man army.

In Mission Raniganj, you reunited with Parineeti Chopra (after Code Name Tiranga) whom you’ve trained as an actor. How would you describe your equation with her?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: Parineeti always says that I taught her acting but nobody can teach acting. I always guide and help. When we do workshops, we grow together. When I do workshops with newcomers, it is like going back to the basics and revising my process. I share my life in art with my students.

Parineeti is a fantastic student, actress and human being. I love her from the core of my heart and I respect her as an individual. I really love working with her. Whenever I meet her or work with her, I can see the warmth; she is all heart. And now she is married, I bless her for a happily married life.

My mother passed away when I was shooting for Code Name Tiranga in Turkey. At that time, Parineeti took care of me. My father told me about certain food restrictions that I needed to follow after my mother’s demise because of the rituals and all. In Turkey, it was difficult to get that kind of food, but Parineeti took care of it. Her personal chef used to cook special meals for me. It shows her kindness. She is a gem of a person.

What is it like to work with Akshay Kumar? Do shoots wrap up quickly when Akshay Kumar is in the film?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: It’s always nice to work with a disciplined actor who knows his work and Akshay Kumar is that type of actor. He is very sharp and focused. He would quickly finish his work and because of this, our work used to get over quickly. The film’s shooting was completed in no time.

What is your most memorable experience from working on Mission Raniganj?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: Shooting for a film like Mission Raniganj itself was memorable for me because I was working with an ensemble cast after a long time. I was a happy child on the set because apart from Akshay Kumar, there were a lot of senior actors on the sets like Virendra Saxena, Pawan Malhotra, Kumud Mishra, Shishir Sharma, Ananth Mahadevan, Arif Zakaria and Rajesh Sharma. When we used to sit together, we would share many joyous and funny moments. We used to tell jokes and sing songs. The entire shoot was a cherished experience for me.

What can you tell us about your upcoming projects — Fateh with Sonu Sood and Anubhav Sinha’s next?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: I really wanted to work with Anubhav Sinha. It was a long-cherished desire that came true. He is a fantastic filmmaker. I can’t tell you much about the series we’re working on because it is still in the making.

Sonu Sood is a friend of mine and he’s also my neighbour. We share a family-like bond. Our sons are friends. So, doing Fateh with Sonu Sood was not about the role and money. It was about the relationship. He wanted me in the film, so I said yes. It’s always good to work with family.

And what are your plans for Navratri and Durga Puja?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: Durga Puja is everything for a Bengali. I still remember back-calculating the Durga Puja dates because of the excitement of buying new clothes and planning this and that. Sometimes we used to go for a vacation but I never wanted to leave Calcutta when I was a kid. I used to get very angry if a family vacation was being planned because I simply didn’t want to leave Calcutta. Durga Puja is everything for me.

I left Calcutta in 1994 and I now live in Bombay. So, whenever I get time, I try to reunite with my family during Durga Puja. This year, I am shooting for Maharani Season 3 for which I have to travel to Jammu & Kashmir during Navratri. Plus, my daughter plays football and she has been selected for the Maharashtra Under-14 team. Her national tournament is coming up. After shooting for Maharani Season 3 in Jammu & Kashmir, I’ll be going to Agra to join my daughter for her tournament.

I won’t be able to attend Durga Puja in Calcutta this year but my heart is always there. I will try to do anjali in Mumbai when I get some time and have some bhog because the celebration is incomplete without it.

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