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t2 tribute to Friendship Day

We dialled pairs of old pals who have been humming ‘You’ve got a friend in me… There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you… We stick together and can see it through’
Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty

Saionee Chakraborty   |     |   Published 30.07.20, 09:30 PM

Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty have had similar trajectories and bonded over food. The actress-MPs take The Telegraph through their dosti diary…

You have known each other for how many years now?

Nusrat: I’ve known her for a good seven years.

Mimi: Initially, I knew her through her films. We became friends after we did Jamai 420. We were together on a month-long outdoor (shoot) and though we had separate rooms, we used to stay in the same room. The bonding developed from there and we went on trips together. I loved her honesty and kichhu jinish kichhu loker moddhe hoi that clicks for friendship. Nusrat and I are very fond of each other. She inspires me a lot.

Do you remember what you guys bonded over?

Nusrat: She is always very protective. We have shared rooms in hotels and vans during our film shoots and she would gladly allow me to wake up an hour late. She would sit for hair and make-up before, so that I could laze around a little more! Post-slogging, we would snuggle on the bed with a cup of chamomile tea (made by her, with her special tea leaves). I remember both of us sitting alone by the beach and enjoying desserts, from pancakes to all possible guilty pleasures!

Mimi: Food! Every day post-shoot, we would go have Thai Curry and Papaya Salad and Sticky Rice with Mango. We both still love Sticky Rice with Mango. She has made it for me this lockdown.

We were both comparatively new in the industry. We had always heard that heroines don’t share make-up artists, clothes and hairdressers, jhamela hoi…. There have been times when I have worn her shoes for the shoot and she used to wear mine. I lost my clothes and jewellery. She gave her clothes and jewellery. There was a time we would never ask each other. We would just pick it up: ‘Aami eta nilam’.

Both of you make great friends for each other because…

Nusrat: The fact that we pick it up from where we leave and we give each other space. Our friendship is beyond our work!

Mimi: You know who your friends are at your worst times and in my worst times, she has stood rock-solid by me. We fight a lot but don’t say things behind each other’s backs. There was a time when we were in the same make-up van in Bangkok and we were not talking as we had fought over a petty issue.

Tell us one adorable thing about each other…

Nusrat: She is adorable for all who know her as “Mimi”, the real person that she is. Her dimpled smile lights up any ambience and she loves goofing around. She’s very naughty.

Mimi: She treats me as a younger sister. ‘Tui dara, aami dekhe nebo’. She pampers me a lot. I throw a lot of tantrums.
Both of you are successful actresses and now MPs. Do you exchange notes?

Nusrat: We exactly know where we stand today. We also make mistakes and rectify them too. We discuss a lot of things.

Mimi: We discuss a lot and when you are discussing, you are already sharing. We also discuss what’s happening in our constituencies and she is very appreciative of what I do and I am very appreciative of what she does.

Nusrat, what is Mimi’s greatest gift? And, Mimi, what about Nusrat’s?

Nusrat: Her greatest gift is she is independent by nature, the queen who rules her world.
Mimi: Management… she can manage everything very well.

Tell us about each others’ guilty pleasures…

Nusrat: Her guilty pleasures would be sweets and that too in bulk. Milk cake is one of her favourites.
Mimi: Sweets. We need to workshop how to skip the dessert section.

What are your messages for each other?

Nusrat: My message for her: let’s look for a good guy and get you married off!
Mimi: Friends stick with you through thick and thin and she has been there and I too have always been there. So, we’ll stick together. Jeno etatey kono nojor na laage. 

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Avant-garde ‘clothes-maker’ Kallol Datta and conceptual jewellery designer Eina Ahluwalia harbour similar world views that’s been at the root of a strong friendship. The two recount their friendship journey for The Telegraph.

You have known each other for how many years now?

Kallol: I’ve known Eina for around 13 years, give or take.
Eina: I can no longer remember, 13 years, maybe more?

Do you remember what you guys bonded over?

Kallol: One of the initial areas we bonded over were our practices. Even though the disciplines were different, the approach to design, social commentary, personal overtones in our works were similar. That further expanded into our belief systems, families and our need to avoid unnecessary human interactions.

Eina: Design in general, and mutual admiration for each other’s work to begin with. This slowly turned into a deeper friendship over time, food and coffee.

Both of you make great friends for each other because…

Kallol: She just is. Eina is complex and layered and she presents herself with so much sensitivity and thoughtfulness. She forms a safe and secure bubble for every human she interacts with and I aspire to that. Eina is confident, assertive and expresses her point of view without having to put someone down. In today’s climate, that’s truly admirable.

Eina: I love that he is deeply caring, gentle, generous and supportive. Apart from the fact that I admire and love his work, I really like him for who he is as a person. The fact that he is constantly learning, experimenting, evolving, being true to himself and not to some standard mould are some of the things I admire and that inspire me. We value the same things in life, which is family, our own personal time and space, our creative practice and our growth, and the fact that we are both quite reclusive also makes us a safe space for each other.

Tell us one adorable thing about each other…

Kallol: There just isn’t enough print space available to write about what makes Eina all around brilliant. I adore how for the longest time she’s had a spare metal straw in her bag to loan whoever she’s with to deter plastic straw usage. That’s just Eina. Always centred, mindful and compassionate. That to me signifies so much strength in character.

Eina: I don’t know if he would approve of the word adorable, but I think the most wonderful thing about him is the combination of his gentleness, deep thinking and creative genius.

What are your messages for each other?

Kallol: I cannot believe we’re doing this.
Eina: *wink* He’ll know what I mean.

He is her go-to “ghyan ghyan” buddy. She calls up his wife whenever the two have a fight! Abir Chatterjee and Parno Mittra let The Telegraph into an endearing friendship.

Abir on Parno…

You’ve known Parno for how many years now?

We started working together from 2009 but I have known her from 2008 because we did a small music video together. We shot for the music video for a day. I had reached late as I was working at that point of time. The funny part was we shot for the still photographs for an entire day… nearly 600-700 pictures.

Then we kept in touch on and off. Then in 2009, we got an offer to do a mega serial. I was still in a job and I would reach work by 9am-9.15am and leave from work by 1.30pm-2pm and reach the studio and shoot till 9.30pm. Though, there was pressure, yet it was great fun shooting!

When did you become good friends?

We hit it off from the very first meeting. She was always very vivacious and energetic. We had some critical scenes in Shomoy, but we would joke a lot. Once our director left the floor saying: ‘Tora golpoi kor’. (Laughs) In a mega serial, you are meeting every day and after a point, you share things, both frivolous and serious. Though we haven’t had the chance to work together very many times after that and we both have the apshosh that we haven’t been cast together, except may be Rajkahini, but the bond remained and we have gone through the ups and downs together. I can tell you about the complaints she has….

Like?

I would go for the shoot from work and her complaint was ‘Keno aami shokal theke shoot kore khatbo?’. She was shooting from 9am. So, why would I get a VIP treatment even after coming at 2pm-2.30pm. She has never fought with me about this, but onnoder bolto. (Laughs) We used to share the same make-up room. She used to often drop me home at night. I had told her I won’t get into the car if she is driving. Ichhe kore ektu rash drive korto! (Laughs) She has a knack for finding issues where she can fight with me. Also, she may come across as snooty, but she is not at all like that. Deep down she is adorable and a sweetheart. She is full of energy. I have seen her from close quarters. She has been an excellent daughter, which is very inspiring.

Any fun anecdotes about Parno?

While we were shooting for the mega serial, I used to be her wardrobe malfunction manager! Aami oke ekhono khepai. I used to tell her ‘aamar aar koto dayitto aachhe?!’

What about fights?

We do fight a lot. A year-and-a-half back, we had a guru gombhir fight. Aamar khub kom bondhu aachhe industry te jader shonge aami jhograo korte pari. I went into a silent mode. Later I felt that I should talk it out. Aamar pore mone hoyechhilo je aami jhograta na korleo partam. Thankfully, we have that much transparency where we can find faults in each other and point it out. I admit aami ichche kore or pechhone laagi. I know this would annoy her! She calls up Nandini (Abir’s wife) and complains! Can you beat it?! (Laughs) But, she is family.

What are your favourites from her CV?

I feel and have also been very vocal about it that she has been under-utilised in the industry. I would have loved to see her in different roles. Eta niyeo aamader jhogra hoyechhe. She has said ‘aami eta korbo na’ and I have asked her ‘keno?’ And though we resolve the fights, o aamai thik thik shomoi khocha ditey thake. I loved Bheetu.  

What is your message for her?

I wish her the very best. Even if she wants to fight, it’s fine because only best of friends fight and majhe moddhe jhogra na koreo, bhalo jinisher jonnoi phone korte pare aamake!

Parno on Abir…

What do you really admire in him?

We became like ‘yo’ friends from Shomoy, like really tight friends. He is very grounded, dedicated, hard-working. From my experience of all these years, I have seen people who make it big. Loker matha ghure jai. That never happened to him. We both come from television backgrounds. He did films before I did and we both got our break from Anjanda (Dutt) because Byomkesh (films) gave him the recognition in films. He doesn’t have any air about himself. He is honest. Very few people bother if friends from the fraternity make a mistake. He is genuinely protective. If I put up a picture, he will say, ei chhobita deyoar ki dorkar chhilo. I remember once I had to take down a picture of mine. I said: ‘Everyone puts up’. He was like: ‘You don’t have to be everyone’. Oh my god! He is also a great father and husband. He loves the people he is close to and he is very emotional, which he hides.

What do you think has kept the friendship going?

We have never expected anything out of each other. We were very young when we were doing TV and that’s when we bonded. There is mutual respect and also the fact that Nandini is there to be a referee because we fight a lot. But for Nandini, we might not have been friends for so long.

He is your go-to person for…

Ghyan ghyan! (Laughs) There was a time, I used to say ‘no’ to a lot of films and he used to get really angry with me. He is very ghyan ghyane too, but in a good way. He would stretch a fight for so long….

What is your favourite Abir film?

Prem by Chance. I want everyone to watch that film.

What is your message for her?

Please be the way you are, say sorry and don’t drag fights for this long! 

Adhuna Bhabani and Avan Contractor, both celebrity hairstylists, bonded over hair, of course! They take us through their two decade-long friendship.

You guys have known each other for how many years?

Avan: For about 23 years.
Adhuna: Yes, 23 years!!!!

Do you remember what you guys bonded over?

Avan: Hair and partying (smiles).
Adhuna: Hair....

What makes her a great friend?

Avan: I know for a fact whatever happens she’ll always have my back and I hers.
Adhuna: I trust her implicitly.. blindly!

What is the one most adorable thing about her?

Avan: Her charisma.
Adhuna: Her daughter! (Laughs)

What have you learned from Adhuna over the years?

Avan: I’ve learnt so much. The first thing I learnt was the graduated bob. The one thing that has stuck with me is whenever I would be conflicted about a decision, she would say ‘do what will make you happy’!
You have come to depend on Avan over the years. What makes her a great confidante?
Adhuna: I trust her, we can be completely honest with each other.

How has a meaningful business partnership (at BBLUNT) evolved into a deep friendship over the years?

Avan: I think it all evolved together. Our passion for hair and our mutual sensibility towards a lot of things in life is what bonded us. Respect. Understanding. Patience. Space.
Adhuna: We have overcome some very difficult situations together and have experienced an equal amount of success. Consistency and integrity have been at the centre of all our work together.

What is the other person’s greatest gift?

Avan: Her talent and her resilience!
Adhuna: Avan’s laugh.

What are Avan’s guilty pleasures?

Adhuna: Mirchi! Masala and eggs! (Laughs)

What are your messages for each other?

Avan: I love you and I’m so glad I met you at that party cause it’s been one helluva party ever since!
Adhuna: Love you long time Avu.



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