Parambrata, Tonushree & Riddhi peek into their parallel lives
- Published 24.11.17
Dim sums gel rather well with adda and the Samantaral team of Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Tonushree Chakraborty and Riddhi Sen were in for a treat at Yauatcha on November 15. “Chulta toh khashha hoyechhe,” Param told Riddhi, settling down for a t2 chat in the Quest mall restaurant. “Chaap nei, I’ll manage it during Feluda’s shoot (Parambrata plays Feluda and Riddhi is Topshe in a web series),” pat came Riddhi’s reply, before moving on to some yum bites....
Taking off from the film’s title Samantaral, who are you in your parallel lives?
Parambrata: In my parallel life, I travel the world five times a year, act in one film in two years, which sees me through, and direct a film in four years. I play guitar like John McLaughlin. The rest of the time I think and write. I stay in Calcutta, but I can travel anywhere.
Riddhi: I want to get an invisibility cloak and do things I am not allowed to. And see myself from a neutral point of view or from a stranger’s perspective.
Tonushree: A life where I am an actor with the maximum number of film releases every year.
Did the easy camaraderie that we now see between Feluda and Topshe in the Feluda web series develop from Samantaral?
Parambrata: I was always very fond of Riddhi.
Riddhi: I aspire to be like Paramda’s genre of actor. And I love him as a director.
Parambrata: Riddhi is inquisitive, has this raw energy… he is involved in gaan, golpo, cinema, literature... that’s wonderful to see in a youngster. The chemistry developed during the Feluda web series of course.
Param, does Riddhi remind you of your younger self?
Parambrata: Yes, in a lot of ways…
Riddhi: A lot of people say that…
Parambrata: Ektu paka, opinionated. I see a lot of myself in him. Sometimes he finds it difficult to connect to his immediate surroundings... a fish out of water. But he is trying to adapt to it.
Riddhi: Whenever he is around, I don’t feel like a fish out of water. I get to know a whole lot of things from him.
Param, what has been the most important part of your preparations for this film?
Parambrata: To be in agreement with one side of myself that I’ll do the film. We have these two selves — the hero and the artiste. There was a tremendous fight going on between the two selves. The hero within kept telling me, don’t do this. But the artiste kept telling me, if you don’t do this then why call yourself an artiste? Then I thought whoever loves me, they do it because of the fact that they see me as an actor, who is here to contribute significantly to the world of art. So the devil lost, and the angel won eventually!
Who was your reference to play Sujan?
Parambrata: My chhoto kaka, he was schizophrenic. One day you would think that he is a godsend angel, the next time you might think he is a pervert or a prophet. I have seen kaka from close quarters, so I looked at my kaka as a reference for this film.
There were two Feludas (the other being Soumitra Chatterjee) on the Samantaral set...
Parambrata: I had just started our Feluda discussions when the Samantaral shoot was on. So obviously everything was very hush hush. I have a very strong bonding with Soumitra jethu. We have done some films together. Soumitra jethu is a child deep down. I directed him in my film Sonar Pahar... he has a guest appearance. He was thoroughly thrilled. It is always fascinating to work with him. We talk about philosophy and politics more than anything else when we meet.
Riddhi: Our family has a huge connection with him. He was the first president of our theatre group. And I have the maximum number of scenes with him in Samantaral. There is one scene where I am even confronting my dadu... it’s not a typical dadu-nati scene. Those scenes were memorable. The stories I heard from him in the evenings were as good as a class. One day he was telling us about Satyajit Ray’s perspective on the Apu series and how the train was used as a symbol of reality. We were blown away. It’s a fantasy world for Apu when he watches and admires the train in Pather Panchali. In Aparajito, he comes to Calcutta on a train. And then in Apur Sansar he lives near the railway line, and so he is closest to reality.
Tonushree: I worked with him for the first time in Samantaral, and then in Michael and Flat No 609. He is after all a childhood crush. On the first day of our shoot, I could not say anything to him. After one scene got over, he told me, “You have done really well.” These things really matter.
Parambrata: We must all give it to Tonushree that she signed up for this. A lot of actresses wouldn’t have agreed to do this role. The film is not about her, and it’s not easy to like her character from the beginning. What goes in her favour is that her character undergoes the maximum degree of internal transformation.
Pictures: Rashbehari Das