Bengali actor Swastika Mukherjee came in for much praise after her scintillating performance as a seductive yesteryear heroine, Anguri Devi, in Dibakar Banerjee’s Bollywood flick Detective Byomkesh Bakshi in 2015. But Swastika is unhappy that she is getting typecast and not getting to play a commoner.
This, she feels, is due to the fact that the directors in Bengali film industry are not sure if her known image of a “sophisticated urban woman” will sync with the image of a maid or vendor in train compartment.
“In Bollywood, directors have greater faith in actors. You can see an Alia Bhat portraying a pock-marked rural woman in Udta Punjab which is a departure from her micro-flaunting image.
In Bengali cinema the directors are not willing to experiment me beyond my known image as a sophisticated urban woman,” Swastika, who essays coquettish Bibi in Pratim D Gupta’s Saheb Bibi Golaam said.
Watch the trailer of Saheb Bibi Golaam here:
“I am ready for such roles, portraying a lower middle class woman, a poor woman, say a maid or a woman hawker I wish to do a role I will be absolutely in love with. As an actor I should not be stuck with one image. But here in Bengali film industry I am mostly not given that wide scope and drastically different from previous ones,” Swastika said.
Asked about Roopa Ganguly having done a maid’s role in Nayanchapar Dinratri by Sekhar Das at the end of her career before joining politics, Swastika said, “yes any character which excites me. But what frustrates me is the way people in the industry here feels my urban, sophisticated look can’t be moulded enough for the role of a poor, mofussil girl in search of job”.
Though she had portrayed a middle class commoner’s role in international festival winner Anubrata Bhalo Achho, “these are few and far between”, Swastika rued.
“Tell me at this stage of my career how can I repeat myself,” Swastika, having acted in Buddhadev Dasgupta films, said.
Happy with her look and appreciation in the Dibakar film in Hindi last year, Swastika said, “I was given such an apparently simple but complex role in my debut Hindi film. If I get to explore my acting repertoire I am okay with more Hindi films but (I) will never allow myself to be used as set props in Bengali and Hindi.”
Swastika who is excited about 10-12 different looks in Pratim D Gupta’s Saheb Bibi Golaam, apart from the look of housewife, said “There is no similarity between the looks of one woman with the other in the film. But they are the same person.”
“From Pratim to Suman Mukhopadhyay (Asampto) to Mainak Bhowmik (Take One) I worked on characters I fell in love with. I don’t believe in doing PRs for grabbing roles from other directors,” she signed off.