The Sushmita Sen connection
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- Published 13.08.14
|Sushmita Sen. Picture: Rashbehari Das|
At the wrap-up party of Srijit Mukherji’s Nirbak on Thursday night at V-Lounge in Veda, all eyes were on Sushmita Sen. Before shaking hands with everyone, Miss Universe touched the feet of some elderly relatives who had dropped by. Over a glass of Moet & Chandon champagne, Sush settled down for a quick t2 chat…
The tradition of touching people’s feet is fast disappearing but you made it a point to...
That’s something I do because as a kid when I used to come to Calcutta to my Dadu’s house in Southend Park, my Borodidima always used to tell all the kids at home that do you know there’s a lot that you gain by touching people’s feet? Firstly, it helps you remain grounded because you are also touching the ground. Second, you will never suffer from arthritis (laughs) because you will always be flexible. And most importantly, you can only break someone who doesn’t know how to bend, so you will never be broken! So there are so many pluses and on top of that I am getting the blessings from everyone so it’s like a really big thing. I don’t know, somewhere as a child it got stuck in my head. Not only me, my entire family does it. And my two daughters (Renee and Alisah) too do it very well.
Do you speak Bengali with your daughters?
Renee, my elder daughter, speaks very good Bangla. The younger one is a monkey! When she is in the mood she just rattles off in Bangla, she speaks simple Bangla but she’ll say things like ‘Aami khidey pachhi na. Ami doodh khabona’. With her grandmother she speaks a lot of Bengali. My elder daughter even sings songs in Bengali...
Yes, but she knows only one — Aami chini go chini tomarey. I would sing it as a lullaby and she loves that song. Then when she grew up, automatically she started searching for the words and formulating the feelings attached with it. My little one also knows the song because I’ve sung for her too, many times. But she doesn’t like singing. She has a different temperament, ektu dushtu! (Smiles)
When was the last time you spent so much time in Calcutta?
(Pause) I think this is the longest... 21 days is the longest. I might have come here and stayed for 15-16 days during a vacation to Dadu’s home when Didima wasn’t well, but this takes the cake because it’s three weeks and I feel at home. I think I am just blessed that for my first (Bengali) film I got to work with great people. They are all brilliant and the film itself, Nirbak, is experimental. [Sushmita plays a Bengali girl who works in an ad agency.] And we had a very tight schedule...
(A lady interrupts, ‘Hi, Sushmita Sen? Can I take a picture of you with my husband?’ The photo session goes on for five minutes!) Sorry! (Sushmita tells us)
You oblige people with photographs so easily and even chat with them, something so rare among stars!
I think you have to know what your priorities are. Why are you doing what you’re doing. A lot of people in my business are different people on Fridays and I respect that because that is the business. I have never been a part of that. I came into this business to connect with people. There’s a deep desire inside me.... Even as a 14-year-old kid, the very thing that inspired me to be famous, for example, was that there will be billions and billions of lives that will never get to directly meet me and connect with me but I wanted to be someone who exudes that feeling that will just go and travel to a billion lives and touch them. I think that’s for me is a great life, that god gave me so much, all my dreams have come true, I’ve managed to build a life that I wanted for myself. It takes very little to share it with people. Very little. And the day I can’t do that then there’s a problem with me because that’s not me. This is me.
Can you share your thoughts on Team Nirbak?
Anjanda (Dutt, co-star), epic, he is epic! I mean just sharing screen time with him felt like I was learning as I was doing my job. Jisshu (Sengupta), I think has so much potential that he is just about starting to throw it out. And we had great chemistry on screen, so I am very excited about that portion of the film. Finally Ritwick (Chakraborty), I would look at him with my mouth wide open! Ritwick is something else. I have not seen a young actor like him. He acts with every pore of his skin. His body language, it’s not just the dialogue, he is feeling it, the actor in front of him is feeling it. He really needs to do international cinema. He is so gifted.
But my deep connect here was with the director (Srijit) and his assistant directors. I’m in love with them! Srijit is the reason I did this film. I like a director who has a vision and has conviction. When he narrated the film to me I knew it wasn’t an easy film to say yes. I am so glad I took that call because I faced the camera after four years and by the second day I felt like I’ve never left it. It’s a team that I will miss.
Shooting apart, what did you do in Calcutta?
I went sari shopping! I bought a few kantha-stitched saris and a few Baluchari saris. I picked up for Ma, Mashi, Pishi and for myself too, so I’m very excited!
You’re looking stunning. What’s the secret?
I love you for saying that, specially tonight! We had gone to Mandarmani to shoot for one scene and I got late for the party. I had thought I would really deck up and wear a lot of make-up but look at me, I could just manage my lipstick! Well, thank you so much. I just stay happy!
When do we get to see you in another Bengali film?
Well, I think I’ve tasted blood! (Laughs) And I am hoping that I will. You don’t have a kid yet? The day you have a kid you will know. Renee is 14 and Alisah is 5 and if I leave them at home and take out even 20 days to work then that’s real life gone out of my hands. Now if I do a film I should be able to tell them ‘see what a film your Ma has done’, you know. And that makes me a little choosy because I just feel I shouldn’t be wasting life like that. Nothing is worth that. I much rather be around them and have the time of my life. I am an absolute mummy. And when I am out having a good time then I am Sushmita Sen!
SUSH ON SUSH
Sushmita the style icon?
Unique, one in a billion!
Sushmita the film star?
Sushmita the role model for many young women?
Sushmita the role model for single moms?
An absolute pleasure. It’s as if I have formed an umbilical chord with mothers around the world.
Sushmita the Calcuttan?
I was born in Hyderabad while my father was posted there. Then I travelled to Darjeeling, Shillong, Nagaland, Agra and finally Ma put her foot down and we stopped at Delhi. Then I spent 14 years of my life in Delhi. But it’s lovely to have people say ‘Oh so you are from the east of India, you are a Bengali’. So yes, I do belong here. My Baba lives here behind Anderson Club.
Your friends in Bollywood?
Oh, they are mostly professional connections really. The only person I do call a friend is Dia (Mirza).