Candid and always full of life — that’s actress Aparajita Adhya for us. As her new film Ekannoborti by Mainak Bhaumik is all set to hit the theaters on November 19, the versatile actress talks to t2 about playing the role of a mother, her 25-year journey in the industry and much more.
The word ‘ekannoborti’ must be close to your heart....
I belonged to a joint family and at present I stay with my in-laws in a joint family. I have always loved staying like this in a family together. I feel, people’s instinct work well when they live in a joint family.There is a sense of balance. There are advantages of staying in a joint family too. There are people to help in need or suggest something when necessary. Every joint family has a dictator, not like an autocrat but someone who shows us the direction and guides us. I think that is very important. At my in-law’s, my mother-in-law plays that role. Whatever she says we follow but we don’t imitate her. But, of course, people choose to stay alone as per their needs and that is understandable.
What response did you get after the release of the trailer?
Everyone obviously liked my performance. Many people tried to guess the story too. People feel it will be a good film and they will go and see it in the theatres.
Your film Cheeni was also about a mother-daughter relationship. What convinced you to play this role?
When Mainak told me about this film, I had asked him if he again wants to do a film like this. Cheeni was very successful. So, I told him the design of this one should be very different. It is a family-oriented film, so a mother has to be there. But all families are different. All mothers are different too. Though the essence of every mother is same but their behavioural pattern is different. I told him that we have to think of the character in such a way, where people cannot connect it to Cheeni in any way. This film is very subtle. The acting is also very subtle and is in no way similar to my role in Cheeni. They are very different from one another.
In Mainak’s Generation Ami also you played the role of a mother. Aren’t you feeling typecast in any way?
I have been in this industry for 25 years and in the last 23 years of my career, I have played the role of a mother in some work or the other. But not even in one can you find any similarity with another. Since I always look a little mature beyond my age... even when I used to work in television... in telefilms too, I have played the role of a mother. But not a single mother’s role that I played can be confused or compared with another. Every mother’s role is close to the heart. There is nothing called typecast. An actor’s ability lies in playing one character in different manner. Do we ever get bored of watching Feluda or Byomkesh ? No. Every role is different from the other. An actor’s ability lies in how differently the person can present the character and how convincingly he or she can play the character and make it fit into the film. If an actor fails to do the job, no matter how good a character they get, they will fail. So, I don’t believe in the existence of something called typecast.
This is your fourth film with Mainak. Do you share a comfort zone with him ?
Mainak really listens to me. If I tell him I want to do something, he agrees and he discusses with me what he wants to do. He tells me how he is planning to do a film and asks about my thoughts too. I share my thoughts with him. We work for any film like that. Our thoughts align most of the time. It happened during Cheeni too, our camera man had the lights ready for a shot. But when we started shooting, I told Mainak that it would work better if we do it in another way. We changed the light set-up. Mainak is so cooperative.
The trailer shows the film talking about body shaming and body positivity. Have you faced any such issues. How did you cope with it ?
When I came to this industry I was very thin. Then after my marriage, I became larger. No one would give me any work because of that. I had to always play a role much older than my age. But I always believed that people’s work proves their true talent not their figure.
In every sphere of life this holds true. A person’s work is ultimate and speaks for them. But at one point, I have suffered a lot in the industry and many good directors and renowned actors told me that because of my figure I won’t be able to make it. I have not come here to become a heroine, I have come here to become an actress. The heroine image won’t last for long. I believe the amount of acting I do, after a point, my acting prowess will transcend the image of a heroine or any other image and talk for itself, and I will be respected as an actress. If we consider the so-called ‘heroine’. I became a heroine at the age of 37.
Looking back, is there any regret? How do you see your 25-year journey?
No, I have never had any regrets. My only regret is my father couldn’t see any of my films. Nothing beyond that. The person I am, I have received way more than that. God has given me a lot. I love to work hard. I think if I like a rose, I will prepare the soil, plant the tree, pour water and take care of it for it to grow. No step in this process is as beautiful as the rose. The flower that will bloom is the beautiful rose. That is not my concern. My concern is to take care of the soil and the plant. Similarly, I treat my work. I don’t think whether my work will earn awards or not. I am only concerned about the present and the work I do. If my present is good, the future will also be good.
This is your second film with Sauraseni. What’s your rapport on set like?
The work was completed in 11 days. We worked during the pandemic situation, where we had to finish the shoot within 8pm. So, we hardly had any time to talk to each other about anything other than work. Both Ananya and Sauraseni are very obedient. Also, for any film, I get so engrossed in the film and have so many thoughts that I don’t mange to have much adda on set.
What was your process of becoming this character? Is there any specific acting process you follow?
I believe, acting is make-believe. We have to create a world that the audience will believe in. It depends on what the character demands. There cannot be a method for that. In some characters we need to behave, in some we act and in some both. I don’t believe there is a theory that can be followed. For this character, I had to keep in mind that I have to keep the acting subtle. But in Pavel’s film, Monkharap, I felt there should be a middle ground.
Are you listening to the song Behaya on loop like us ?
I liked Cheeni’s Shitolpati too. I felt it was used very aptly in the film. The song depends on where it is being used in the film. Behaya has also been used in the right place in the film and it is beautiful.
What stood out for you in this film?
This film tells a story of how a mother becomes lonely. Every mother becomes lonely after a point. Every woman becomes busy at some point trying to figure out how to bring up their children, what will they do in future. But when the children become independent and they have a world of their own, mothers feel a vacuum. Gradually, the mother stops getting the love from people that she used to. Her husband gets busy with something, the children become busy and if she tries to share any problem then every one says, ‘Eto khitkhit korcho kyano.’ We often say, ‘Why do you complain so much.’ But why one does that everyone can’t understand and she herself can’t explain. She goes through hormonal changes after a point and she functions differently. From 40 to 50, when she leads her life quite alone , she goes through these changes. This film tells us the story of such a person.
What's waiting next?
Pavel’s Kolkata Chalantika and Monkharap. Bela Shuru is there. And an out-and-out comedy.
How does it feel to be back at work?
The second pandemic had affected me a lot. I lost a lot of people due to Covid. We were very depressed. I never thought I could get back to work ever. I told Mainak also to not do the film then because I was in a terrible condition. I didn’t go for the look set or the mahurat of the film too. I hadn’t read the script. Just discussed the story. I went to do this film directly on the set and that felt like a breath of fresh air. Though I was shooting with much fear in my heart but I liked doing this film.
Picture: Rashbehari Das