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Puja Banerjee on Cabaret: ‘The most challenging part was getting the dance style correct’

Cabaret, a web series directed by Utsav Mukherjee, is streaming on Addatimes

Soujannya Das Calcutta Published 31.01.24, 03:38 PM
Puja Banerjee.

Puja Banerjee.

Actress Puja Banerjee talks about playing a cabaret dancer in the Addatimes series Cabaret, dividing her time between Mumbai and Kolkata for work, and her upcoming projects.

You are playing a cabaret dancer in the Addatimes series Cabaret. What was it about the project that made you say yes to it?


Puja Banerjee: The name itself got me excited as I love dancing. The word cabaret takes you to a particular period, which makes the character even more interesting. As an actor, I get very little opportunity to prove myself. When an opportunity like this comes I feel like grabbing it. The story, and the look and feel of the series are quite different and cabaret is a subject that has not been explored in Bengali cinema.

I was nervous as well.

The show has many elements that I haven’t attempted before and I was doubtful whether I would be able to do justice to the character. Cabaret takes us to a different era. Be it the way they talked or the way they walked, each cabaret dancer had a unique style. 
So, I thought of creating a signature style for my character Miss Elina, making sure she didn’t look like anyone’s copy.

What was the most challenging part of becoming a cabaret dancer? How did you prepare yourself?

Puja Banerjee: The most challenging part was to get the dance style correct as it’s a personal style and everyone has their own way of doing it. There is nobody from whom I could have learned it personally. I had to gather whatever information was available to us by reading and watching videos. Being a regular dancer helps in adapting any dance form but I had never tried the cabaret form.

Creating the look of that era was also challenging. I had to adapt my body language, walking style, talking style and the emotions. My character has a lot of shades.

You have been working since the age of eight. Do you remember your first project?

Puja Banerjee: My first project was in 2002, called Escape from Taliban

starring Manisha Koirala.

Which of your TV shows/films do you think have been turning points in your career?

Puja Banerjee: I think Mahadev was a turning point in my career and also my Bengali film Challenge 2 opposite Dev.

You have been juggling your work life between Mumbai and Kolkata since you started working. Where do you mostly stay?

Puja Banerjee: I stay in both places depending on the work I am doing. I have been doing this forever. I shifted to Mumbai when I was in the fifth standard. But my roots are here. I just renovated my 150-year-old ancestral home in Burdwan and I have plans to visit it. I come to Kolkata every year during Durga Puja along with my son Krishiv. I want him to know our culture, practices and roots.

What are your upcoming projects?

Puja Banerjee: I shot two Bengali films last year — one with Prosenjit Chatterjee directed by Raja Chanda, and the other is a women-centric film. I shot an item number that will be released in April. There is also an item number in a South film, and two Bangladeshi movies are lined up.

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