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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Meet and greet session with t2 readers and team Chhotolok post successful hit in

The web series directed by Indranil Roychowdhury has received loads of critical acclaim and audience adulation

Sanjali Brahma Published 25.12.23, 07:52 AM
Ushasi Ray and Gaurav Chakrabarty

Ushasi Ray and Gaurav Chakrabarty Pictures: Koushik Saha

Team Chhotolok recently got together to talk about the success of the Zee5 series at a meet-and-greet session with t2 readers. The web series directed by Indranil Roychowdhury has received loads of critical acclaim and audience adulation. A t2 chat with Daminee Benny Basu, Gaurav Chakrabarty and Ushasi Ray about the series.

How is the response to Chhotolok?

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Daminee: It is amazing. When we were making the series, we were confident and we knew it would get a good response.
Gaurav: OTT has a massive reach and it feels nice to see the way Chhotolok has garnered traction. It is a very happy feeling.
Ushasi: It’s got a huge response. The whole experience with Chhotolok was very different. I have never rehearsed for any other project the way I did for this one. Working with Kobida (Indranil Roychowdhury) is like doing a workshop. It seemed like we were doing theatre; we’d go there and perform daily. Kobida would ask me sweetly to figure out more about my character since Rupsha and I are poles apart.
Gaurav: I watched the series with my wife (Ridhima) and we both loved it.
Ushasi: I find it very awkward to watch myself onscreen after a project has been released. While shooting and dubbing I see myself numerous times on the camera but post that I am very shy.

How did all of you prepare for your roles?

Daminee: It is a lot of homework and a lot of arguing with Kobida (laughs). I don’t believe in improvisation and I am a method actor. So everything has been worked on over days. The question cannot have a one-line answer but yes, it was a lot of work. Sabitri Mondol will be among my top three most difficult roles.
Ushasi: You learn the intricacies of acting when you are working with Kobida. Moreover, Bennydi (Daminee) is my teacher and life coach. She would help me understand Rupsha and get into the character a lot.
Gaurav: I have always wanted to work with Kobida. He is known to have an intricate eye for story and its depiction. Right after Puja, we started working on our roles. While the shooting got over in a month, the amount of preparation that went into the process was a lot and the results were rewarding.

Gaurav, it’s a women-centric show and your character is a very subdued personality. What made you choose the role?

Gaurav: Raja is a mess and that stems from the fact that his family background is a mess. He had a dominating mother, a toxic father and overall has a disturbed personality. To portray such a helpless, spineless character who walks on a tightrope and is essentially a victim, was a massive opportunity for me as an actor.

Raja has a very unhappy sex life. Post falling in love and getting married, his wife denied him what he thought he deserved. On meeting Rupsha, Raja felt like he had encountered a feeling he had craved his whole life. In fact, that is also said in the show when Raja was being interrogated by Sabitri. Raja said: “You know the feeling of having something you’ve wanted your whole life but never achieved it? If you had a tail Madam, you’d wag it for Rupsha too had you been in my position.”

How significant do you think Rupsha’s role is considered in today’s day and age where so many youngsters from small towns often come to the cities for a glamorous career?

Ushasi: Rupsha’s character is definitely strong and resilient. Women who come out even as modern, are often judged. For instance, if a woman is entering her home late or wearing revealing clothing, people are quick to judge her character. So, Rupsha’s character rightly shows the mindset society holds towards single, independent women who don’t abide by stereotypes.

However, I will not vouch for Rupsha’s character because of the rudeness and crass language. Of course, if someone tries to strongarm you in the middle of the road at night, do stand up for yourself minus the slurs. I for one have become much more empathetic towards people because you don’t know who is going through what. If I saw someone like Rupsha who needed a ride home at night, I would definitely stop to help.

We have witnessed the back stories of Rupsha and Raja but not Sabitri’s. So, what is Sabitri Mondol’s back story?

Daminee: Initially, I was in a very penumbral phase because I couldn’t figure out the fulcrum of Sabitri Mondol. I had gone to meet my Dida on my mother’s birthday. She was suffering from dementia and she was very old. At that time I remember her eye twitching and she looking at me. That is where I realised that our patriarchal society runs on a handful of stereotypes of intelligence. My Dida single-handedly managed everything after my Dadu. Even Goddess Durga was bestowed with strength by male Gods and they must have gone like: “If she is this strong, she might as well be beautiful.”

Intelligence does not have a face. So, with Sabitri’s role, I portrayed the neglected intelligence that does not look very appealing on its face. Nobody ever told Sabitri that she is good at her job. The twitching of eyes that has now become Sabitri’s signature, was taken from my Dida who is now no more with us. Sabitri’s back story is that of neglected and unnoticed intelligence.

Will we get a second season of Chhotolok?

Gaurav: If there would be a sequel, I would love to watch another adventure of Sabitri Mondol now that she has solved this big case and found her confidence.
Daminee: This can only be answered by Zee5 and our director (laughs). If there is one, I would love to be a part of it. It would be interesting to see how Sabitri’s dynamics with her colleagues change after she returns to the office post solving such a huge case.

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