Two Tolly girls are single & happy

S+S — Sreelekha and Saayoni discuss singlehood and she power with t2

By Kushali Nag
  • Published 29.07.15
Saayoni and Sreelekha stand pretty for the t2 camera. Picture: Anindya Shankar Ray

Sreelekha Mitra is a single mother and she enjoys her singlehood; Saayoni Ghosh is young and cool and likes spending time with her family rather than waste time on her boyfriends! “Who needs a man? It’s all about girl-bonding,” say the feisty duo who play power women in Raja Dasgupta’s debut film Choukaath,The Threshold, that hits screens on July 31. A t2 chat over Darjeeling tea at Coffee N Mood, off Hindustan Park.

Sreelekha to t2: Before you ask me a question let me tell you that Debolina’s (her character in Choukaath) story is about the woman of today who believes that every relationship comes with an expiry date. Our film is releasing at a time when the Supreme Court has legitimised single motherhood! 

Saayoni: The film talks about women empowerment. I read somewhere the other day: A woman is like a tea bag, you don’t know how strong it is till you put her in hot water. So that’s Sreelekhadi in Choukaath, you don’t know how strong or hot she is!

t2: So both of you are very happy being single?

Sreelekha: Actually in today’s time you don’t need a man anymore.

Saayoni: Absolutely. 

Sreelekha: Earlier people used to think that two women cannot be good friends. Today female bonding is a great thing. Earlier people would say a girl is jealous of another girl. But I feel only a woman can understand a woman. I have reached that stage where I live only for myself. I am very happily single. 

Saayoni: Me too. And I feel that women like us feel empowered from within.

Sreelekha: When I was her age I wasn’t so confident. I was a gaadha when I was Saayoni’s age!  

Saayoni: Like Sreelekhadi said, we don’t need a man; I can say this at 23. My life is all about my work, my parents and me, I don’t want a man to feel more secure. 

t2: Do you both hate men?

Saayoni: No, no, why should we hate men? We are not feminists. 

Sreelekha: We like good-looking men! Good-looking as in men with brains.

Saayoni: Men with grey cells!

Sreelekha: Yes, with whom I can have a verbal orgasm! 

Saayoni: If someone asks me what kind of a man I prefer, I would say someone who doesn’t walk before me or behind me but beside me.

t2: What are the perks of being single?

Sreelekha: I am the boss of the house. I am the man and the woman of the house. I call the shots. I do grocery shopping from Spencer’s, I call up the Tata Sky people for their payments and I have to go to my daughter’s school too.

Saayoni: There’s no need for a man for all these!

Sreelekha: But economic independence is very important.

Saayoni: Well, you need men for certain purposes (smiles naughtily)!

Sreelekha: Girl bonding is girl bonding, bhai.  

Sreelekha, Ardhendu Banerjee and Tota Roy Choudhury in Choukaath

t2: What exactly does women empowerment mean to you?

Saayoni: For me it means not being sabotaged by men in any sense. Getting rid of domestic violence, killing of the girl child, rape.... even after so much awareness, education, where are we heading? Women have to be empowered from within, which is also the theme of Choukaath, that a woman has to stand for her rights, do what she wants to. 
Sreelekha: Love yourself, that’s my message for all women. If you don’t love yourself you can’t keep anyone happy. 
Saayoni: Here I would like to say that Calcutta is a far better place for women. We work with men all the time and they are far more liberal and tolerant than the men from UP, Delhi. Comparatively, Calcutta is safer. But yes, you have to be alert. You should not wear something to provoke....

Sreelekha: No, no what you’ll wear is up to you. I wear what I like. I like dressing up and I feel happy looking at myself in the mirror. I have friends who show off their jewellery and say that it’s a gift from their husband. I don’t feel bad because I am independent and I can afford to buy jewellery for myself. I buy gifts for myself on my birthday too. I am thankful to all my ex-boyfriends who have enriched me as a human being and that has contributed in making me a better actress. 

t2: Both of you believe in living life on your terms. How challenging is that?

Sreelekha: Very challenging.

Saayoni: No, it’s not challenging for me at all. It’s absolutely easy to live this life. I have 1,50,000 fans on Facebook where 80 per cent are men and despite the fact that my views and thoughts are so different, the men appreciate them. Men are cute, sweet, lovable creatures. (Laughs) They are not as nasty as we are showing them to be. 

t2: Saayoni, you are young and pretty, don’t you feel the peer pressure to have a boyfriend?
Saayoni: Oh no, no! In fact my friends’ boyfriends tell me ‘wish we had a life like yours’! I have studied in a co-ed school so I don’t start 

salivating when I spot a guy. All my co-stars like Shaheb (Bhattacherjee), Gaurav (Chakrabarty), Indrasish (Roy) are pals. Relationships become easier when you have friends who understand you irrespective of whether they are men or women. Men have a bigger role to play, they can make women empowered by just letting them be. It’s the person that matters. 

Sreelekha: Respect human beings.

Saayoni: Oh! Such a heavy, deep conversation! (Laughs) 

Sreelekha: I play Debolina, a schoolteacher married to Tota. Debolina’s  life changes after an accident. 

Saayoni: I play Kanika, a TV journalist. She does a story about the accident and that triggers many incidents. She is always looking for breaking news.

Raja Dasgupta: Choukaath,The Threshold revolves around a happy family. Debolina plays the protagonist who goes missing after an accident. Everyone in her family questions her morality when she comes back home after a few days.   

I am happy to be single because.... Tell