SPOT LIGHT

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By KUSHALI NAG
  • Published 9.08.08
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DOING THE SAME THING DIFFERENTLY

The acting bug bit him at age three...

When Rahul made his first stage appearance with his father’s (Biswanath Banerjee) theatre troupe Bijoygarh Atmaprakash in a play titled Raj Darshan. Since then, he has acted in almost 450 plays, with his father’s troupe and with Theatron.

And on August 15 the 23-year-old debuts on the big screen...

With Raj Chakraborty’s debut film Chirodini…Tumi Je Aamar, based loosely on the Rizwanur-Priyanka tragedy. “I met Rajda at actor Saheb Chatterjee’s wedding. Post-dinner he offered to drop me home. While driving he said he had seen me perform in a couple of plays and asked me to drop into the Sangeet Bangla office. The next day, he took my audition and offered me the role.... I went weak in the knees!”

But shooting was a bed of thorns not roses...

For Rahul in his first film. “It was excruciating; I was ill-treated on the sets. Rajda made me stay in the same room with him. I was made to sleep on a piece of rag. My cigarette packets were taken away and I was given bidi instead! I wasn’t allowed to watch TV. I felt I was being tortured and went into depression…. The day we wrapped up shooting (in Visakhapatnam), I saw Rajda standing alone near the beach. He then told me that I had been treated the way I was so that I could get into the skin of the character, a garage mechanic. That was a very emotional moment for both of us,” Rahul recalls.

He became Krishna...

The garage boy who gets involved with a rich schoolgirl and faces dire consequences. “I worked a lot on my look too. From wearing a rubber chappal to getting beaten to the pulp, wearing a white shirt stained with petrol and grease, I have done it all for my debut film. I believe versatility lies in doing the same thing differently.”

ROLES WITH SUBSTANCE ONLY

She wasn’t the first choice to play Pallabi...

And was auditioned to play the heroine's friend Priyanka. “Rajda called me up and asked me to come for an audition for the friend’s role in the film which was finally done by Tina. After the audition he gave me another script and after watching me perform he offered the lead role of Pallabi,” says Priyanka.

It’s a dream debut for the 17-year-old...

As she gets to portray a character with so many shades. “Pallabi isn’t just a showpiece heroine in another commercial film. I am blessed to have got a role which is funny in the beginning and then takes a serious turn. I play a schoolgirl who lives in Siliguri. She is a very pampered daughter of the family who slowly gets drawn to a garage mechanic Krishna (Rahul), who doesn’t fall for her at first but then slowly likes her. Then the two decide to elope to Calcutta after which a series of incidents occur,” explains the Behala girl.

Priyanka has parallels with Pallabi...

In age rather than attitude. “My character and me are of the same age; like her I am also in Class XI. But I don’t know if in real life I would have taken such a drastic step. I know people who have taken such bold steps in life but maybe I would have restrained myself,” she ponders.

Morning shows the day...

For Priyanka the actress. So, she will only do roles of substance. “I wouldn’t accept a film where the heroine just gets a song and dance and a few dialogues. I would like to do strong performance-oriented roles. I don’t even mind playing a character with negative shades,” she stresses.