Parambrata Chatterjee, who has been the poster boy of meaningful cinema in Bengal, admits that it’s important for mainstream films to work at the box office in order for the film industry to survive. “Mainstream films are important for a film industry to survive. Meaningful cinema will survive if mainstream films work,” says the Chotushkone actor. After Apur Panchali in 2013, Parambrata has now teamed up with Kaushik Ganguly for another film, Bastushaap.
The Kahaani actor, who loves working with Ganguly, says his next is a serious relationship drama starring Abir Chatterjee, Raima Sen and Churni Ganguly. The film also touches upon subjects like Feng sui and astrology. However, Parambrata clarifies that neither does he read zodiac columns in newspaper nor does he wear rings. “In case of cars, I get a bit concerned about the total of the number plate,” smiles the director of Jio Kaka and Hawa Badal. 2016 looks to be a promising year for the actor, who has several big banner films (including filmmakers Srijit Mukherji’s Zulfiqar and Anjan Dutt’s Hemanta) in his kitty. HT spoke to the Kahaani actor on films, direction and more:
The trailer of Kaushik Ganguly’s new film Bastusaap looks like a thriller.
We all have secrets and at times it can be thrilling. Every relationship is a mystery. Kaushik Ganguly’s film Bastushaap revolves around five characters and at a point their lives cross paths. It’s a thriller based on relationships.
You character Timir in Bastushaap looks timid but as the story progresses we learn that he has knowledge of guns. A duel takes place between actor Abir Chatterjee and you in the film. So, was there any competition between the two of you while enacting the scenes?
Timir and Kaushikda’s character (director Kaushik Ganguly) act as a catalyst in the film. Abir and I are friends, but we also belong to the same profession. So, there will be a certain level of competition. Abir and I belong to the same bracket of cinema (read meaningful cinema). People also say that at times Abir is ahead in the game and sometimes, I fare better. So, yes, we all were alert while shooting.
Do you revisit your films after the release?
Yes, I do and, of course, I find flaws in my acting.
When you started off in the film industry, you were the poster boy of meaningful cinema. Now, a number of other actors have joined the league.
Yes, it’s definitely a positive sign for the film industry. At times mainstream actors dabble with this kind of cinema but they don’t belong to this bracket per se. For example, Abir (Chatterjee), Ritwik (Chakraborty) and I have been doing this kind of cinema from day one. I might dabble in mainstream cinema for some time. In our kind of cinema, the sensibility of the films is different and there is a niche audience for these films.
For the last few years, Bengali potboilers haven’t been faring well at the box office. In fact, middle-of-the-road cinema has gained momentum.
When we started doing meaningful cinema, our aim was to come up with an alternative to mainstream potboilers. We wanted to have an alternative voice. Only when mainstream movies make money at the box office can we fund alternative cinema. Mainstream movies are extremely important for a film industry to survive. Yes, for a few years now the potboilers haven’t been doing as much money as they did before. But I believe if we can provide original content in mainstream films, things might be different. Kaushikda is making a mainstream film, Dhumketu, with original content with Dev. Raj Chakraborty’s Katmundu was based on original content and it fared well. Personally, I also want to be part of original mainstream content.
Watch trailer of Bastushaap here:
You last directed Lorai in January 2015. You have been getting a lot of acting offers. Does that leave you enough time to write the script of your next film?
I am working on a script and plan to go on floor soon. It’s going to be a comedy.
It’s been eight years since you worked with Anjan Dutt on Chalo Let’s Go. Now, you have teamed up with him in the Bengali adaptation of Hamlet. How was it working with him after such a long time?
Getting back with Anjanda is one of the most interesting things that have happened in recent times. In all these years, I have matured as a person and he too has reached a certain mental age. We now connect on an advanced stage. We have come closer than before.
Recently, your Bollywood film Yara Sili Sili released. Are you doing more Hindi films?
You need to pursue Bollywood. And at this point I don’t have time because I am too tied up with Bengali projects.