He has written an intriguing 'Kahaani' and directed many others, but acting in a movie was an unknown territory for Sujoy Ghosh. He is debuting as an actor in Bengali mystery thriller Satyanweshi, which is also Rituparno Ghosh's last directorial venture. The late director's birth anniversary is on August 31.
Ghosh was nervous as hell while shooting for the film in which he is playing detective Byomkesh Bakshi.
Byomkesh Bakshi was the brainchild of Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, the Bengali writer who used to write short stories in literary magazine Basumati on the detective. The stories were later published as a book called Byomkesher Diary.
For Ghosh who spent his early days in Kolkata, Byomkesh was a familiar character.
The childhood influence
"The character of Byomkesh Bakshi was not new to me in the sense that when you are born and brought up in Kolkata, you are expected to read literature like this. I read it in my growing-up years and was quite familiar with the character," reminisces Ghosh.
Byomkesh on National Television
"We did not have a television set when the series was aired. I haven't seen Rajit Kapoor's performance in the television serial Byomkesh Bakshi. My look in the film might be similar to the one sported by Rajit Kapoor because at that time, all Bengalis wore dhoti-kurta, had oil in their hair and used to comb their hair in a certain way."
Byomkesh Bakshi who had an analytical mind also had a keen eye for newspaper items. We wonder if Ghosh shares this trait with his onscreen character.
"Our times are different. While Byomkesh had all the time to read newspapers and go through the clippings minutely, I have a time constraint. Secondly, the technology scene has undergone a major shift. We now have internet, mobile and tablets. While we both have analytical minds, his analysis was not dependent on technology. I personally feel technology helps us analyse better."
Learning the ropes
When Sujoy Ghosh started shooting for Satyanweshi, he did not know what was expected of him. "I was a complete novice when it came to acting. Mujhe bilkul andaaza nahi tha. (I had no clue) I was totally dependent on Rituda."
Acting was a daunting task for this award-winning director. "Rituda was a tough taskmaster. I followed his instructions to the T. There was no vision in my mind for the character. Rituda exactly knew what he wanted and I just followed his vision. Maine director banne ki koshish nahi ki. (I did not try to be a director). When you are an actor, you have to forget that you are a director. The responsibility of both the roles are very different. I had to learn to take instructions."
Rituda: the memory bank
Though Sujoy learnt his basics of acting from Rituparno, he could not strike a personal equation with him. "I met him for the first time in Calcutta during a programme of Ghosh and Company. We were only on hi-hello terms since then. There wasn't much interaction with Rituda while shooting Satyanweshi as I was intimidated by him. I was really terrified of him. He was a tough taskmaster. We were so tired after shooting, that there was hardly any time for personal interaction. Personally, I am his fan and I have watched all his movies. My favourite though is Antarmahal."