Very few actors are as lucky as Priyanka. Her debut Bengali film, Chirodini Tumi Je Amar (2008) with Rahul (whom she later married) was a runaway hit. Priyanka then went on to work with several directors but none of her films could match the success of her debut film. “I have no regrets in life. I am content,” she smiles. Later, she became mother to Sohoj and took a break. Now, the actor is back and has signed on several plum projects. HT caught up with the chirpy actor on films, family and more.
You are back with a bang. You have a number of films in your kitty and you are also doing a television show. How are you balancing home and work?
I am blessed with a good nanny. She takes good care of my son, Sohoj. Whenever I am not shooting, I spend time with him. Yes, I am lucky that I have a kitty full of good Bengali films such as Rajkahini, Jenana, Byomkesh Bakhi’s Kohen Kobi Kalidas and Suman Boro Hochhe.
Was it difficult getting work after becoming a mother?
I got married to Rahul in 2010 and till the time, Sohoj was born (in 2013) I did a number of films. I wanted to become a mother and complete my family. So, I took a break because I wanted to spend time with my son. A number of actors such as Rituparna Sengupta, Swastika Mukherjee and Srabanti are working mothers. Our industry is open to such things. I think audiences also appreciate the fact that I am a mother. Whenever I interact with a fan on Facebook, he or she asks about my son. I feel blessed.
You made your debut with Raj Chakraborty’s Bengali film Chirodini Tumi Je Amar. The film was a blockbuster. Do you think you could cash in on the popularity?
I have no regrets in life. I have learnt from all the filmmakers I have worked with, be it Swapan Saha, Bappaditya Bandopadhyay or Srijit Mukherji. I have grown as an actor and as a person too. When I thought it’s time I became a mother, I went ahead with my decision. I have changed as a person after becoming a mother. I am content with my work and family.
Srijit Mukherji’s film, Rajkahini, on partition has 11 actors. Were you worried about getting the maximum screen space?
I didn’t think about it because it’s a Srijit Mukherji film. We were almost full house at the script reading session and were blown away by the story. We were speechless when we heard the script. We knew we wanted to do this film. It has archival value. Even while working, we never thought who’s getting more screen space and mileage. In fact, we all have limited dialogues. Take the scene in a brothel, where Rituparna Sengupta, who plays Begum Jaan has the last say, but our presence matters a lot in the film.
What’s your character in the film?
I play Lata, a Vaishnavi, who is exploited in the name of religion. Begum Jaan provides her shelter. I shot for the film after having my baby. So, I was on the heavier side. But Srijitda has used my plump image carefully. Since it’s a brothel, women have a different kind of chemistry among them. Some women are over-friendly and some are jealous. Since Lata is bulky, her clientele is not that impressive.
The general notion is that no two female actors can be friends. What happened when 11 actors met on the set of the film?
Oh! We had a wonderful time. In fact, we are now members of several Whatsapp groups. When we went to shoot outdoor sequences, we were allotted different rooms in the hotel. But at the end of the day, we were all gossiping in the same room. We used to bring home-cooked food to the set.
You are doing Anjan Dutt’s new Byomkesh Bakshi film, starring Jisshu Sengupta.
Rahul was part of the earlier Byomkesh Bakshi film. I always wanted to work with Anjan Dutt. I play Joyjitda’s wife, who creates more mystery in the film.
What’s the difference between working with Anjan Dutt and Srijit Mukherji?
Srijitda is very strict and he says he has a split personality disorder, which comes to the forefront on the set of a film. So, everybody is on their toes while shooting. He can extract the best from an actor. In case of Anjanda, he is both hyper and sweet. He becomes hyper if something goes wrong while shooting.
Your husband-actor Rahul too caught the attention of filmmakers and audiences with Chirodini Tumi Je Amar. But now, he is doing television. Do you think he has got his due as an actor?
Working on a television project brings discipline in life. I am happy that he is doing television. We need a certain financial security and television can provide that. So, since he is working on a TV series, he can be more selective about his choice of films. Had he done only films, he might not have got the opportunity to select the best projects.