Veteran actor Dhritiman Chatterjee feels there aren't too many well fleshed out characters for older actors in Bollywood and most essentially in the Bengali film industry. The actor, who has worked with master filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen, feels in Hollywood, characters are written keeping the senior actors in mind.
"In Bollywood, senior actors are getting work but I don't think too many characters are written keeping them in mind. Only a few such as Amitabh Bachchan get to do author-backed roles. However, in Hollywood some of the best roles are written for older actors. I don't feel sad about it. It's a fact of life and it's what being in this film industry involves. But whenever I watch Hollywood films, I think we could have also come up with characters like them," rues the actor of Holy Smoke!, an Australian film directed by Jane Campion in 1999.
Chatterjee, who was recently seen in director Debaditya Bandopadhyay's Bengali film Naxal, says the Naxalite movement in Bengal had a huge impact on the students. The actor still has distinct memories of that period. "The movement was gathering steam at the end of the '60s and beginning of '70s. We were students then. A lot of my friends were associated with the movement. The impact was felt by us too," says the actor, who plays Siddhartha, the head of a television news channel in Naxal.
The film revolves around the famous Naxalbari uprising, where police open fired on a group of villagers killing 11 on May 25, 1967 at Bengai Jote village in Naxalbari. It also stars Mithun Chakraborty. Recently, a premiere of the film was held in Mumbai.
Interestingly, Chatterjee's debut film, Satyajit Ray's Pratidwandi in 1970, too, was set in that period. His upcoming Bollywood film, The Red Corridor, where he plays a doctor, is also based on Naxalism. "The issues, which gave rise to the Naxal movement in Bengal, are now seen in other parts of the country. I think today's student generation is also aware of the movement, may be in a different way. Students, who are serious and have knowledge about the movement, also know about the implication of the movement," says the actor of films such as Agent Vinod, Black and Guru.
The actor was also seen as the iconic sleuth Byomkesh Bakshi in Saibal Mitra's Bengali film Sajarur Kanta. Unlike other young actors, who played the iconic Bengali sleuth, Chatterjee played his age and shunned dhoti and opted for more contemporary look. Ask him if he would like to be part of any other Byomkesh Bakshi film and the veteran actor says candidly, "Sajarur Kanta was an interesting experience but I don't think we are going to have another film on Byomkesh from Saibal. He is writing another film and I will be a part of it too. To me, the director is equally important as the subject."