Squeals of laughter and snatches of baby words can be heard in the background as we start the t2 chat with Koel Mallick over phone. “Kabir (Koel and Rane’s son) has got a school bag today and he is very happy,” smiles Koel, whose film Bony with Parambrata Chattopadhyay releases on October 10 in theatres. Bony tells the story of a couple in Milan who discover signs of special powers in their newborn son.
What are your Puja plans this year at Mallick Bari?
We are not celebrating in the usual way. Puja will be a private affair at Mallick Bari. To ensure the safety of the people.
Is there any chance that Kabir will watch Bony?
Hahahaha! No, no. Now I’m singing nursery rhymes to him. If he claps his hands, then it means that I have to sing If You Are Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands. He listens in rapt attention and sings along in his own beautiful way. Then he goes ‘hurrah’. He has started picking up these small, small words now. He says, ‘Mama’, ‘Papa’, ‘hurrah’, ‘done’ and many more. He loves to say, ‘I Love You.’ He says it in a sweet way, he goes, ‘I Kaku!’
Does Rane sing to him too?
He starts off with the first two words, and then says, ‘Koel, you continue!’
Has Kabir seen you on screen?
The other day, the nanny was watching a video of mine on her phone. It was the Mahalaya video. Immediately he started saying, ‘Mama, mama!’ It registered. One day after wrapping up the Mahalaya shoot for the day, I came back home in full costume, as Ma Durga,with my third eye in place. Just to see his expression. He was happily sitting on his father’s lap when I entered. Seeing me, he gleefully started laughing, saying ‘Mama, mama.’
What is Kabir doing with the school bag?
He is ecstatic. In his characteristic way, he is singing. As a child, if I would be having something tasty, unknowingly I would start humming. For Kabir, when he is in a bright happy mood, he keeps humming. And he keeps on saying, ‘Oui.’ And loves being entertained by people around.
Bony is based on a Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay story.
Bony is science fiction and he wrote it so many years ago. It talks about various facets of technology. Imagine the amount of farsightedness he has. No wonder so many of his stories have been adapted for films.
The beauty of Bony is that it is one of those films that can be interpreted by different age groups with their own maturity. This is a science fiction film with a lot of technology involved. It is about a couple trying for a son for a long time. When they have one, then it is about unravelling the truth about whether it is a part of a conspiracy. The son seems a bit different.
They are being asked to leave the hospital without doing the tests. The parents smell something weird and different. It is a science fiction, thriller, emotional drama, which makes the film even more special.
What made you connect with the film on a deeper level?
First thing was Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay as the author. It is an honour for me to be a part of a film based on his novel, and that I got to play Pratibha. The story was so ahead of its time. And it is so relevant. We usually see the positive side of technology. Bony also explores and underlines the other side of technology.
Bony was extensively shot in Italy....
I have shot for many films in Italy. And every time it would be immensely cold. We would be shivering while working. But this time the weather was exactly the opposite. It was immensely hot. I love summer and it was very comfortable for me.
Bony is directed by Parambrata. How was he as a director?
It was a huge pleasure working with him. The best thing about him is that he knows exactly what he wants from the actors. He is absolutely clear in his vision, great clarity of thought... since we have worked as co-actors we share a particular chemistry, which worked immensely for this film.
What are your earliest memories of working with Param?
Param immersed in a book on the sets of Shubhodrishti (2005)! We were doing this huge song-and-dance sequence... everyone was dancing and he was sitting in a corner, all serious, reading a book. Absolutely not affected by what was happening all around.
And the 2014 film Highway, starring you and Parambrata, opened with a scene that had you reading a book!
Yes, it was Milan Kundera’s Laughable Loves.
On October 10, along with Bony, films of your co-actors Dev and Jeet are also releasing. It is like a reunion of stars at the box office!
I wish them all the best and may all the films get huge success. Durga Puja is the perfect time for people to enjoy Bangla cinema in the theatres... please follow all safety protocols.