News

I was a hero, I became an actor
By Bengali Tollywood News Network, 08/11/2010

I divide my career into three phases. Initially it was about how to get success. In the second phase, my concern was how to sustain the success. And the third and last, which I am getting into now, is to be an actor. i want to remain an actor. When my son grows up, he should be able to tell people that his father didn’t only dance and fight in films, he also acted very well in some films.’ — prosenjit to t2, May 8, 2009. Post-autograph, Prosenjit revisits the third phase with t2 to reveal why reinvention is a way of life for him and playing it safe has never been an option.

’Producer Venkatesh Films has decided to increase the number of prints of Autograph. They say the audience response has been “overwhelming”...

Yes, a situation like this, where you have critical acclaim and great box-office collections at the same time, is rare. It happens only once in a few years. This audience, primarily in the multiplexes, was out there all along but we weren’t being able to tap all of it. The success of Bomkesh Bakshi boosted my confidence big-time. Autograph has expanded the audience. This section may not give you business of Rs 10 crore, but it will definitely give you Rs 2 crore.

What is the social profile of this audience?

The middle and the upper-middle class; the section that used to see Bengali films earlier; and also people who usually don’t see Bengali films. A few days ago, I had gone to a nursing home and all the doctors came up to tell me how much they had liked Autograph. This is the new audience. There is the college-going, young crowd but also a large number of elderly viewers. A lot of repeat-viewing is there. Some people have seen it four-five times. Some people are going back a second time just to pick flaws in the film. Some people are calling me Arun Chatterjee! That is my greatest pleasure... when people forget you and remember your character. This had happened with Amar Sangi (1987). My screen name was Sagar and people would scream ‘Sagar, Sagar...!’ wherever I would go. It felt great.

From the rural masses to the urban multiplex crowd, how does this transition feel?

(Smiles) It feels good. It feels very good when I am invited to social dos and people stand up when I walk in. This section of the audience has never given me this respect before. They have never respected Prosenjit, the star. They now feel I am not stupid (laughs). They consider me an actor...

A cerebral actor?

Yes, cerebral.... This change has happened in the last two years and I am relishing it. What has happened is that my thinking, my mentality has undergone a sea-change over time. I have been acting for about 30 years; I have done close to 300 films. When I did commercial films, I slipped into the construct of a hero. That is how people liked to see me and I was catering to that demand, to my audience. It is my source of livelihood. But to change the definition of a hero while remaining a hero is a very, very difficult job. I was a hero, I became an actor.

Was that change initiated by Rituparno Ghosh’s Utsab?

To me personally, it started with Chokher Bali. That was an important year for me (2003). Alongside Chokher Bali, I had about eight-nine commercial releases and all of them did good business. Some were super-duper hits. So, critical acclaim on the one hand, box-office collections on the other... it was a heady mix.

And you kind of tasted blood with the critical acclaim of Chokher Bali...

(Laughs) Yeah, you could say that. From then on, I started thinking what else I could do. I started looking for roles. I have experimented with various kinds of films since. Many of them were with new directors. Some films clicked, some did not. But I have always tried to give my best. For instance, Subhadro’s (Choudhury) Clerk may not have worked but people couldn’t say I was bad in the film.

So, Autograph was a gamble that paid off…

I had liked the script very much but I got a clearer idea of what shape it would take when we started shooting. I was worried because I was associating myself with a film that mentions two of the greatest people in Bengali cinema — Satyajit Ray and Uttam Kumar — in its title credits. And in Bengal, we have this habit of always comparing two people, you know, like Uttam versus Soumitra, Soumitra versus Biswajit.... So, from the beginning I was very clear that my character in Autograph would be a today’s hero. Arun Chatterjee had to be very different from Uttam Kumar’s Arindam Mukherjee in Nayak for the film to work. It was my biggest challenge and also my biggest fear. I think I have been 80 per cent successful in that.

Arun Chatterjee resembles Prosenjit Chatterjee in many ways. Weren’t you concerned about the flip side of playing a life-like character with negative shades?

The dark shades are what excited me about this character. That’s the reason I took it up. But I may not have done it had I been offered the film five-six years back. Prosenjit the star would have dominated then. It is not an easy step to take. This time, I felt I had been able to step out of my shell. Some aspects of Autograph are so life-like and there is tremendous emotion in some of the scenes — specially the confession towards the end, where I say I am the industry and vent out what has remained bottled up for 30 years... it was my most difficult scene. I told Srijit (Mukherjee) that I would just go with the flow and not bother about who’s there in the room when we’re shooting.

People are asking me so many questions after watching Autograph.... “What would you have done had you been in Arun Chatterjee’s place in this situation or that situation? Would you have left the girl?...’ But I have distanced myself so much from the star self of me that it doesn’t affect me at all.

But had I done this role being in two minds... you know, wanting to do a good role but not ready to get into it, Arun Chatterjee wouldn’t have been so credible. The credit, of course, goes to Srjit for extracting this kind of a performance out of me but I didn’t have any hang-ups either.

What’s the feedback from the industry?

Ritu (Rituparno Ghosh) feels Autograph is my best work, even better than Dosar. Anurag (Basu) said, ‘Bumbada eta onyo level-r kaaj hoyechhe.’ But all this praise is making me a little anxious actually (laughs).

So, if you had established yourself as an actor of substance with Dosar, you’ve reinvented Prosenjit the actor with Autograph...

Look, reinventing oneself is a never-ending process. I will dry up if I don’t want to do something new every four-five years. Yes, I could have played it safe. I could have done stage shows and jatra, and earned enough for a comfortable, secure life. But that is not me. That has never been my objective. I can never take calculated steps. I love playing with fire (laughs). I just love it.

As for Dosar, Ritu is an exceptional director. He has made the biggest contribution in pulling mainstream actors to a completely different space in cinema. He brought me on this path. Whatever Prosenjit is today in your niche kind of cinema, it is because of Rituparno.

People may think I am saying this because he is my friend, but this is the truth. I made this journey with people like Ritu and Buddhada (Dasgupta) holding my hand. I have reached this stage after Chokher Bali, Dosar, Shob Charitra Kalponik, Khela and Swapner Din. So, eventually, two-three years back, people started saying, ‘Well, this man can act’.

But if I had to reinvent myself, I had to find a new director who could showcase me in a different way. I have worked with new directors all my life. Around 70 per cent of Tollywood’s contemporary directors had started out with me. That has never been a problem for me.... I always study Indian actors. Amitabh Bachchan, for example. He has given blockbusters with Prakash Mehra and Manmohan Desai, but when it came to an image makeover you’ll notice that it has always happened with new, unknown directors with very little experience.

In Indian cinema, we have heroes who do only solo-hero films, like Shah Rukh Khan, and we have heroes like Aamir Khan who do multi-hero films and steals the show. I think I have crossed that line in our cinema with Autograph. If you ask me, this is what I mean by reinvention.

Is Autograph your best performance?

No, my best is Dosar. It was my toughest role. No hero will readily step out of his image and do a Dosar.

Looking back, are you satisfied with the legacy of films you’re leaving behind for your son to be proud of?

The day I am satisfied, I am finished. But the fact that I can do a kaora film and a Dosar with equal ease, and people accept me in both is something I have achieved. But it is not as easy as it sounds. To have creative satisfaction and be popular at the same time is a tough act… you know, keeping your brand value intact and yet come up with something new. It is so difficult in Indian cinema. It is much easier in Hollywood.

When I started off as a hero, it was the time of prince and princess on the silver screen. There was a myth around a hero; he was larger-than-life. Stepping down from there to the ground level and becoming a man of flesh and blood was tough. I started breaking myself, bit by bit. In that sense, I am satisfied.

Is Goutam Ghose’s Moner Manush going to be your next milestone?

Well, I am tense. Because after Autograph, people’s expectations have become sky-high and I am not even trying to think of it. Already, queries about Moner Manush have started pouring in on my Facebook profile. See, Moner Manush is a different ball game. Dosar and Autograph were very challenging for me as an actor, but the difficulty with Moner Manush was that I was not being able to relate to certain aspects of my character, Lalan Fakir. He was a man of the soil. And the space within me that I had to penetrate in order to bring life to this character needed nothing less than some kind of sadhana. Just acting was not enough, I had to remove myself from the system I was in. I am not a method actor. But I had to do some amount of method acting in Moner Manush. We had a private screening of the film, and Mrinalda (Sen) was ecstatic about my performance. Some people came and touched my feet after the show! Now that is something I don’t want. Dhushh!

 

What role does Prosenjit want to try now?

I’d love to play a villain. A gangster, actually! That would be good.

How Prosenjit the hero became Prosenjit the actor

Utsab (2000)
Chokher Bali (2003)
Swapner Din (2004)
Dosar (2006)
Khela (2008)
Shob Charitra Kalponik (2009)
Housefull (2009)
Clerk (2010)
Autograph (2010)

Coming up, more of the actor

Bratya Basu’s Tara
Goutam Ghose’s Moner Manush
Rituparno Ghosh’s Noukodubi

Bookmark and Share Share
Comments(5)
SGM Said:
good luck. Find your Favorite Latest Movie Reviews and Tollywood Film Review, Updated Telugu Movie Review and Get all complete information of your Actor and Telugu Film Industry only at ----------[ REMOVED BY ADMIN ]-------------
Sat 21/May/2011
SGM Said:
It was a good blog for bengali movies. Find telugu movie updated news,pictures and videos and more at ----------[ REMOVED BY ADMIN ]-------------
Tue 24/May/2011
VickyDuke21 Said:
----------[ REMOVED BY ADMIN ]-------------
Wed 08/Jun/2011
DaltonSylvia26 Said:

---------------------{REMOVED BY ADMIN}---------------------------

 

Sun 12/Jun/2011
Indian Jobs Guide Said:
Good interview done by bengalitollywood.com we came know to more things. thanks
Thu 10/May/2012
Leave A comment
Name:
Email Address:
Your Comment:
 
 
FEATURED VIDEOS
Paglu2 Title Song (Bengali) (2012) Tumi Jemone Nupur Ho Jackpot Bengali Promo Nirbaak Theatrical Traile Sab Lal Pathar to Chuni Hote Pare Na bhelobasar tan(album) Tor Ek Kothaye | Besh Korechi Prem Korechi SheChiloBaraiAnmona Dev and Srabanti from Dujone Shooting Promo - Ei Prithibi Tomar Amar Promo Bengali Movie PAGLU thoda sa kar le romance PARBONA AMI CHARTEY TOKEY - Theatrical Trailer Bhojo Gourango song of superhit bengali flim Challenge(2009) Hemlock Society Theatrical Kishor kumar Song of Bengali movie I Love You Songeete Aj Aamra Dujan Dujone Title Song Mon Mane Na (2008) Title Song RISK - Theatrical Trailor Theatrical Promo - Prem aamar Bengali Movie
Follow Us On

Subscribe
Copyright © 2019. All Right Reserved.
Website Designed & Developed By 101WebSiteDesign, inc.