'I don't want to work with celebs'

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By City model Bidita Bag on why she shifted to Mumbai and how she's a fighter SAIONEE CHAKRABORTY
  • Published 12.05.11
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When did you start modelling?

I started working from 2005.

How long have you been in Mumbai?

I have been in Mumbai for the past three years.

Why did you decide to shift to Mumbai?

There were a lot of reasons. I graduated in 2008 and I wanted to do a few national campaigns. I also wanted to do movies, but it never worked out in Calcutta. It wasn’t being possible to do anymore sitting in Calcutta. I think I left at the right time. I have sold all kinds of things — cold drinks to cosmetics and mobile phones.

How different is Mumbai from Calcutta?

Mumbai is much more professional and the market is huge. If you go for 30 auditions a month, you are bound to make it to at least one. Calcutta is a small world.

Was the transition difficult?

Leaving Calcutta’s comfort zone and making a mark in Mumbai was very difficult. I didn’t get the support of my family. My father wanted me to study. I sort of ran away. Now, everyone is happy.... I had to struggle a lot in Mumbai. I auditioned for as many campaigns as possible, almost six to seven a day. I had to cook too. There is no one to take care of you if you fall ill. It was very tough. But there is no dearth of work in Mumbai. The system is fair. You go for auditions. If you get selected, you are on. There is politics but I haven’t been a victim yet.

It still can get lonely (in Mumbai). A lot of people cannot adjust to this loneliness. There were a lot of other models who had gone to Mumbai along with me. It wasn’t as if they were not good-looking or they lacked potential. But they came back.

I am not just a pretty face (laughs). I am very hard-working. Eta Santragachhi’r meye hoyar jonno mone hoi aamar modhye aachhe (I think it is because I am from Santragachhi). I had to travel all the way to the heart of Calcutta to study. That fighting spirit is there. I am rough and tough (laughs).

What are the campaigns that you have been a part of in Calcutta?

My first assignment was shoots for Kiran Uttam Ghosh and Sabyasachi Mukherjee. The late make-up artist Prabir De had introduced me to them. I have done campaigns for Anjali Jewellers and Goodricke. I was mostly a fashion model in Calcutta and have done a lot of ramp shows. I have worked with Sabyasachi, Kiran, Swapan & Seema and Dev R Nil on a regular basis.

What about Mumbai?

I got the most recognition for the Fair & Lovely ad. The story was a poignant one. (It was about a make-up man’s dusky daughter breaking into the world of showbiz.) I also did ads for Wild Stone deo, a lot of mobile ads, 7Up, Vodafone, Lays....

Which celebrities have you worked with?

I did Haier with John Abraham and Lays with Saif Ali Khan. I don’t want to work with celebs that much.

Why?

While they get all the limelight, we don’t really get noticed. Aamadero toh celebrity hote hobe naki (We too have to be celebrities, don’t we)? I try doing ads that are entirely focused on me. I avoid campaigns with other heroines. I have turned down a campaign with Asin.

What’s next in line?

I have done a lot of jewellery ads. One was for Manubhai Jewellers. I have done jewellery ads in the south too. The money is good but they make you slog a lot, from six in the morning to 2 at night for one ad!

I have also shot for three films in three months. Not bad, huh? One is an untitled film by Atanu Bose. Then there is Gautam Halder’s Mukti. I have also done a film on Nandigram by Shyamal Karmakar.

What’s your tip to make it big?

You need to have a fighting spirit. Have faith in yourself. In Mumbai, there is an opportunity knocking on your door every day. If one door closes, 10 more doors will open.