Sameera Reddy seems to have found unexpected fame in West Bengal, what with one of the region's most prominent directors Buddhadeb Dasgupta having taken a fancy to her. After Kaalpurush, she features in his quasi-satire on voyeurism Ami, Yasin Arr Amar Madhubala, which heads for the Toronto Film Festival in September.
Sameera, who is on cloud nine, told IANS: "Imagine, a Reddy is a star in Ghosh-land. It was a challenge and I'm glad I proved equal to it. I'm going to Toronto on Sep 8. I guess this is a time of remarkable reckoning in my career."
"While Kaalpurush has just won the National Award for best film, Ami Yasin Arr Amar Madhubala, where I play Madhubala, is going to the Toronto Film Festival."
Ami, Yasin Arr Amar Madubala, which tackles the prickly subject of voyeurism and the invasion of private feminine space through the intrusive male gaze, will shown in the prestigious 'Masters' section at the Toronto fest.
The actress, who has lately assumed the mantle of a social activist, is much gratified.
"Dada (Dasgupta) is a master moviemaker. His confidence in me has given me great confidence as an actress. You know, we were having a press conference for Kaalpurush when he announced, 'Sameera is doing my next film'. That's how I got to know I was doing a second film with dada.
"Everyone discouraged him from signing a glamorous Mumbai actress in a deglamourised role. Today, I'm seen as more Bengali than the Bengali actresses in Kolkata. After doing two films with me in Bengali he's now planning a third one with me."
Kolkata is abuzz with stories of how Sameera has become Dasgupta's muse.
"If I am dada's muse I'm too flattered to be embarrassed," she said. "I can never say no to him. I did his second film and will do a third and as many as he wants me to. I'm putty in his hands."
Sameera will be at the Toronto fest with not just Ami Yasin... but also Mira Nair's short film on AIDS migration.
"Two films at the same festival... I couldn't ask for more."
As for being feted as a Bengali actress, Sameera shrugs, "Have you seen Chak De! India? Can we stop being praant (state)-fixated? Indian cinema is no longer about just Bollywood."
"I'm proud to be doing films in Hindi, Bengali Telugu and Tamil. And please bring on more languages."