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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Dibyendu Bhattacharya on Poacher: ‘Makes you feel proud of having done something for society’

Dibyendu Bhattacharya plays field director Neel Banerjee in Alia Bhatt-backed Poacher, streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Sameer Salunkhe Calcutta Published 26.02.24, 04:03 PM
Dibyendu Bhattacharya in the Prime Video series Poacher

Dibyendu Bhattacharya in the Prime Video series Poacher Amazon Prime

Actor Dibyendu Bhattacharya is busier than ever with multiple projects lined up for release. In an exclusive chat, the Kolkata boy talks about his latest Amazon Prime Video show Poacher that is drawing rave reviews.

You’re sporting an interesting moustache in the Prime Video film Poacher.

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Dibyendu Bhattacharya: The look has to gel with the character, otherwise the look has no meaning. People who work only on looks are a bit megalomaniac. We work on the character. I want my character to look good no matter how I look.

Tell us something about the character you play in Poacher.

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: Neel Banerjee is a field director in the Kerala forest department. He is very strict, staunch and focused. At the same time, the character is multi-layered and nuanced. He is like a coconut, hard on the outside and soft on the inside.

Poacher is based on true incidents. I knew that the man on whose life this character is based is alive and working, but I didn’t have to replicate that man. I was playing a character named Neel Banerjee written by Richie Mehta (also the director). So, the script was everything to me. I mounted the character as Richie wanted me to. Of course, I brought my craft to it but I made sure that the director and I were on the same page.

What was your process with director Richie Mehta like?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: It was a simple process – prepare and deliver. I just had to learn my lines. I had all the research material with me, so if I had any questions or queries I could ask him directly.

Richie is full of infectious energy. He’s very particular and disciplined. I could not let him down. I had to give my best. And he is a director who doesn’t make shows in a hurry. He does thorough research. He knows what’s happening in every department – costume, makeup, production, everything.

Was it daunting to shoot for Poacher in the jungles of Kerala?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: We were shooting in real locations in the Malayattoor forest where the incidents had happened in real life. It’s a magnificent jungle. But if you spend a day in the jungle, you’ll realise that the jungle slowly starts to consume you. Leeches and other insects had crawled onto our bodies. There was also a danger of wild animals, so we had to be wary of that. We were very cautious and shot with a minimal crew.

What were your takeaways from the journey with Poacher?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: The experience of shooting for Poacher was overwhelming. It was such a pertinent story and such a good script. We do many projects in life but only a couple of projects make you feel proud of having done something for society. Plus, I got to work with a talented cast and crew. I took away many memories from Poacher’s journey.

As an actor you’re busier than ever, with Maharani Season 3, Undekhi Season 3, Fateh, and Anubhav Sinha’s next, to name a few. How does it feel to be in this space?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: I’m glad that people are enjoying my characters and enjoying my shows. I am getting connected with people. It’s a good thing to be busy. It keeps your mind working. The more work you do, the more credible you become in your work. I am enjoying being a busy actor.

Maharani is one of the biggest shows. It has an extremely talented core team led by creator-director Subhash Kapoor. Undekhi is totally different from the other shows I have done and it has its own fun.

Do you still train actors? What are some of the known names who have trained under you?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: I don’t train actors anymore. I used to do it a lot in the past. I have trained the likes of Parineeti Chopra, Arjun Kapoor, Sidharth Malhotra, Vaani Kapoor, Zahrah S Khan, Preeti Desai, and the Fukrey boys Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma and Manjot Singh.

You couldn’t attend Durga Puja in Kolkata last year. Did you get a chance to visit the city after that?

Dibyendu Bhattacharya: Oh, yes. In fact, I’m going to Calcutta again to promote my Bengali film Bonbibi, which will be released on March 8. It’s a folklore from the delta of West Bengal called the Sunderbans. The folklore itself is called Bonbibi. After Poacher, Bonbibi is also a forest story. And I am playing the role of a tiger in it.

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