Having been part of comedies, drawing heavily from Bengal's literary traditions, actor Saswata Chatterjee says he can only thank his stars for getting multi-shade roles in recent times.
"From Bonkubabu to Roopchand (in Bari Tar Bangla), the writers are penning interesting scripts, intelligent scripts heavily drawing from our Bengaliness. Don't know why they are choosing me, but I give nod only when the role is not cut-and-paste type," Saswata told PTI here.
Essaying a 70-something Bonkubabu, whose facial features necessitates sitting for a three-hour gruelling image make-over by the Big B's make-up artiste in Bhootnath Returns Dhananjoy, Saswata said, "I had seen such characters in the 80s."
"Sitting through the whole experience of your face turning into somebody else's, you become part of the character. If you wear such a make-up for eight hours in a Bengali film shoot on a day, that reflects how the scenario has changed," he said about the look in Bonkubabu.
Elaborating, Saswata said, "Unlike in the past, when acting in parallel cinema entailed hitting film festival circuits even not fully comprehending the story thread at times, directors are more intent to tailor presentday films for the audiences, while introducing fresh concept and craft."
"From Bonkubabu to Mosh in Hercules, to the Bamon in Kaushikda's (Ganguly) film, I find the characters variegated and challenging enough. I give nod to roles only when it excites me," Saswata said. On the different characters in Bonkubabu named after eminent litterateurs of Bengal, Saswata said, "This can be a tribute to our literary traditions at an age when Harry Potter threatens to gobble up Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne."
"There is no credit in professing one's ignorance about mother tongue. I have introduced my daughter to the literary classics and landmark Bengali films. I want her to be well-versed in English but not at the cost of Bengali," he said.
Director Anindyo Bikas Datta said, "Despite the age yawn, I cast Apuda (as Saswata is called) in the septuagenarian's role as none could perhaps portray the vulnerability of senior citizens with such aplomb."
"Bonkubabu, produced by Asthami films, also dwells on the apathy towards elderly citizens behind the veneer of comedy," he said.