Shabor & the girls

Team Asche Abar Shabor on diet, acting and running plans

  • Published 16.01.18
Saswata Chatterjee flanked by (l-r) Priyanka, Diti, Arunima Ghosh and Tuhina Das at Yauatcha

Shabor Dasgupta, as a police detective (Saswata Chatterjee), is cold. There’s no warmth and affection in him. But when Saswata is in his elements, there’s no stopping him. The cast and crew of Asche Abar Shabor laughed through a chat with t2 at Yauatcha, Quest, over Braised Chicken with Mushroom in Claypot, Stir-fry Kam Heong Lamb, Chicken and Prawn Shui Mai, Port Klang Style Chilli Prawn and dim sums. Asche Abar Shabor, directed by Arindam Sil, releases on January 19. 


What’s your first reaction when you get the call from Arindam Sil to play Shabor (this is the third Shabor film)?
Saswata: I close my eyes and cry for a bit (laughs)…. And then I eat a lot for the next three days because I won’t get anything much to eat during shoot! But seriously, if I eat a lot during shoot then Shabor will be in trouble. Why? Because he has to run and chase down people… and no one knows when that will happen. They might tell me to scale walls if they spot someone pretty on the balcony (laughs). And there are so many women in the film. They might tell me to get into the house and do some investigation.    

Arindam: I always make sure that Saswata doesn’t have rice for lunch. He tries to have his lunch before I come and sit beside him. We would all have our food in front of him.... And Saswata is the most disturbing element on the set. 
Saswata: Because of the competition... after all there are so many women in the film! 
Arindam: You have to give him dialogues to keep him quiet.


Arindam: Diti plays Rinku Roy, who is from Chandernagore. She is the girl who gets raped and murdered in the film, and Shabor, Nandalal and Sanjib track the case. Because there have been two similar murders under the jurisdiction of the Calcutta police — Tuhina Das and Anamika Chakraborty play the other two victims —  for this one, they move out of Calcutta. Priyanka and Tuhina, both play escorts, and they are friends who stay in the same apartment. 

Why is this film more violent than the previous two?

Saswata: The nature of the crimes determined it. 
Arindam: Because it is 2017 and the nature of crime has changed. Crime itself has become very violent. 
Saswata: There is a restlessness in society… maybe there is a lack of guidance from the elders and that part has been captured in this film. 
Arindam: This film concentrates more on parenting and how things can go wrong. Shabor films are cautionary tales, and they bring to the fore issues plaguing society. Also, the general audience are watching web shows on Netflix and Amazon and the challenge was keep Shabor on a par with those shows.   


Did you have any questions for Arindamda  after you read the script?

Saswata: I had expected Shabor to be there from the first scene. But while going through the script, I couldn’t find him in the first few pages!  So I thought maybe he had dropped Shabor this time. Then Shabor finally makes an appearance, but he is not running! That’s odd. The tension builds. And then once he starts running, he just won’t stop! So I knew I was on familiar territory. I could completely understand Shabor. 
Arindam: Gaurav (Chakrabarty, who plays inspector Sanjib Das) came to me one day and said, ‘Arindamkaku, I am working out.’ 
Gaurav: I started going to the gym to stay fit and be in shape. I felt very good about myself. And I was quite enjoying it. 
Arindam: And he was doing most of the legwork. 
Saswata: Both he and Nandalal (Subhrajit Datta, who plays Shabor’s assistant) were being used to chase me (laughs). 
Arindam: It is quite a task to make Apu run!
Gaurav: But Apuda runs really well… sometimes we have fallen behind or started panting.  
Saswata: I become really thin after a Shabor shoot. 

And there must have been many retakes during the running scenes?

Saswata: Yes, yes, of course, even if you don’t need it, they will make me run! 
Arindam: Two days are set aside to film the running sequences. And this time they had to run through narrow, dirty alleys. 
Saswata: Sourav Ganguly recently asked me to go to him before the next film. Sourav said he would make me run! 
Arindam: So I told Sourav that Saswata can run from Golf Green to Behala! 

The Shabor men: (L-R) Anindya Chatterjee, Subhrajit Datta, Gaurav Chakrabarty, Joydip Kundu, Saswata and director Arindam Sil


Saswata: Thanks to Anindya (Chatterjee, who plays Diti’s friend), I quit smoking… it’s a revolution in my life. 
Anindya: I quit smoking last year in February. Later during shoot, I was using a vape. I gave Saswatada one. And after three days he returned it. Then he said that he doesn’t need it anymore. He just gave up smoking. 
Saswata: I just stopped buying cigarettes and then quit. 
Arindam: Once you decide to quit, nothing else matters. It’s been eight years since I quit.   


Arindam: I was looking for a vibrant, fresh face. And one day I spotted Diti’s pictures in t2. I really liked it and got in touch with t2. That’s how we connected and she got the film. 
Diti: I got the first call from t2 saying that Arindamda wanted to speak to me. And then I got a text from Arindamda and he even introduced himself. I met him without even knowing what’s coming my way. He started explaining Rinku, and I listened. I told him I had no acting experience and neither was I interested in acting. He said it was okay. 
Arindam: I go by my instincts. Once I start talking to someone I know if he/she will be able to do it. Her look matched my character’s and that’s really important for me. 
Diti: He doesn’t believe in workshops, and I did not know any technicalities, camera angles. He would always explain the character to me. On the first day of the shoot, after I got my make-up done, Arindamda briefed me on how much I had to say and I went blank. Whatever I did, I did it like a robot. I became very stiff. He encouraged me, and I knew he was trying to make me feel comfortable. On the third take, he said he had got what was required. It was quite an experience.


Arindam: Diti was extremely concerned whether Indraneil Sengupta would kiss her. Because she was aware of the fact that Barkha (Bisht, Sengupta’s wife) doesn’t like Indraneil kissing on screen. She took the effort to make him feel comfortable.  
Saswata: Think Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone (in The Specialist). 
Diti: Half of the day we were in the shower getting wet, and after a while I just wanted to make the scene work, otherwise Arindamda would not let us go.
Saswata: And since he often shows the actors how to do a scene, he’ll get into the shower with both of you separately (everyone goes LOL).


Arunima Ghosh: I got to wear glasses and I looked so different. I play a very calm and quiet, cerebral character. Arindamda showed me how to say some of the lines… in fact, I had played a bar dancer in the last Shabor film Eagoler Chokh and he had showed me the dance steps.
Tuhina: And I had a scene wearing high heels and the scene was coming off a bit weird…. And he showed me how to walk without wearing heels! 

Arindam Chatterjee
Pictures: B. Halder