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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Swastika Dutta on Fatafati

'Serials gave me recognition and popularity... and I got into the industry for the movies. I would love to take on challenges', says actor

Arindam Chatterjee Published 06.05.23, 06:58 AM
Swastika in Fatafati (centre); A moment from the film (right)

Swastika in Fatafati (centre); A moment from the film (right)

Swastika Dutta’s serials have always scored high on the popularity scale, be it Ki Kore Bolbo Tomay or Bhojo Gobindo. Her characters have become so endearing that people often call her by the screen names. Now it is time to turn the spotlight on the new film Fatafati, in which Swastika plays a popular model called Biki Sen. A Telegraph chat.

When did you get the call for Fatafati?

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I got the call to audition for Fatafati (releases on May 12) in 2021. At that time I was looking forward to being a part of a good film. I had kept myself free... KKBT had got over, and I was not shooting for any other serial. I wanted to explore the world of movies. I went for the audition and I was super excited. Working with Windows production house was on my bucket list for a long time... I really wanted to work with them... be a part of their films. It is a really special feeling to be a part of a Windows film.

Was it your first time there?

Incidentally, I had been to their office before.... in 2017 to audition for a music video. It didn’t work out then. But this time things were different. For Fatafati, I auditioned for Biki Sen, a popular model... the audition went off really well. A month later I got another call. I went to their office and for the first time, I heard the story of Fatafati. Biki Sen needed a lean figure, and at that point in time I did not look like a posh model. I was asked to get a toned figure.

What happened after that?

I really wanted to be a part of Fatafati. The topic is so relevant. I went through a rigorous training process and went back to their office after 15 days.

Who is Biki Sen?

People will see me in a new light as Biki Sen... I play a character who has grey shades... she is full of herself. For Biki Sen, you cannot have ‘fat’ and ‘fatafati’ together. For her, they don’t go together at all!

Did you workshop for the film?

Yes, it really, really helped. We workshopped for around 15 days. Aritra Sir (Mukherjee; director) guided me through all my scenes. I was totally focused. Eighty per cent of my work was done in the workshops. I was totally in sync with my character when I went on the floor. We worked on Biki Sen’s walk, how she talks... everything...we created the behaviour of Biki Sen in the workshops.

You play a character with grey shades in Fatafati. Do you ever think about how fans of your serials will perceive this change of image?

I don’t want to typecast myself. I would like to explore different types of characters... I want to be known as a versatile actress. Acting is the only thing I can do. People ask me why I am not regularly posting new pictures from my photo shoots on social media. I don’t post regularly since I am an actor. I am not a model by profession. Though I play one in the film! For my character, I will go to any length. My daily routine revolves around reading scripts, going for my shoot to meeting new people. That is my work. I am not demeaning anyone who puts up regular pictures on social media. I personally like them. But I want to concentrate more on my acting skills.

How was your first day shoot?

I was nervous, and holding on to the script. My first shot was on a flight of stairs and I had to deliver my dialogues. It was a solo shot.

How was the experience working with Ritabhari and director Aritra Mukherjee?

She is a really humble person. We would chat, and have coffee together... she would always motivate me. Aritra is very sweet and he is a very good teacher. He is very clear about what he has to do. He is a very transparent person. Our shoot went off really well, it was a joy to work with the entire team.

How was your last day of shoot?

We had mutton and rice on the sets, and I was told that I could eat to my heart’s content. I now follow a very healthy diet and it has become a part of my lifestyle.

What’s your takeaway from the Fatafati experience?

If you really want something to happen, if you want something in life, you have to work for it. Nothing comes easy.

You always do lead roles in your serials. But for films, it is different...

I am flexible when it comes to films as long as my character is nicely written. Even if I am there for 10 minutes in a film, it should be worth it. I should be able to make my presence felt. Of course, I would love to play the lead, the heroine in a movie. But I would also like to play great characters... I don’t want to let go of the great opportunities coming my way.

What is your message to your audience?

Fatafati has a brilliant subject... it is socially relevant. We get to see characters like Biki Sen around us. And if I see that my audience is getting upset with Biki Sen, that they are reacting and maybe getting angry at her and her antics, then I’ll know that I have done my work successfully. I’ll know that I have delivered a hit character.

In the future, would you continue acting in both serials and films? Fatafati is your fourth film.

Yes! Serials gave me recognition and popularity... and I came into the industry for the movies. I would love to take on challenges.

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