Priyanshu Chatterjee says he can't picture himself as a hero: ‘People do it, I can't'
Actor Priyanshu Chatterjee talked about playing a father in his upcoming webseries Fireflies.
Priyanshu Chatterjee brings his A-game to Zee5’s upcoming fantasy drama Fireflies-Parth aur Jugnu. This time the handsome hunk takes on the role of a 14-year-old kid Parth’s father, Dr Arjun Negi as the story explores a journey full of adventure, self-discovery, and bedtime stories set against the background of the mystic forest of Bheem Mukteshwar. In a chat with Hindustan Times, Priyanshu Chatterjee talks about having no qualms about his role despite his heartthrob image. The actor became a household name after his debut in Anubhav Sinha’s Tum Bin.
Watch trailer here:
In Fireflies-Parth aur Jugnu, Priyanshu will be seen as a child actor Meet Mukhi’s father, Dr Negi who is an oncologist by profession working in a cancer research lab in Himachal Pradesh. He is a loving father, and husband, and quite stoic in his behaviour, in the actor’s words.
In the series, Parth fails in 9th grade. How does his onscreen father see it? And how do you see it personally?
Priyanshu Chatterjee: As a father, he expects his son to be as dedicated as he was. He is a doctor so he must have been reasonably good at his studies. He wants the same standards from his son, which for some reason are not being met.
In today’s world, it's very correct to question such parenting–do we want our children to become money-churning machines or do we want them to be happy, honest individuals? I found it very interesting because I don't have kids. I am not even a dad. The parenting aspect is something I have always thought very deeply about.
In the series, there’s a pandemic where Doctor Negi works. There comes a point where he has to make a choice–whether he should get out of his house to help people or stick at home. When I read the script and I found it interesting because it was something in my thought during the Covid outbreak. We were sitting at home, but these frontline workers risked everything.
How was your childhood? Was your father as strict as Dr Negi?
Priyanshu Chatterjee: He was super strict, almost like military-grade strict. Academics were never a problem because I was good at my studies. It was more like waking up at 5 am in the morning, doing yoga, don't waste electricity or water, pray every day. Being around him I picked up those things. Some of the things today, in hindsight, it makes sense to me. Parenting is a tough, very thankless sort of job.
People see you as a heartthrob even today. Did you feel like not taking up a role of a father now?
Priyanshu Chatterjee: No, not at all. It was not even a question in my head. As an actor, I have not explored (parenting). In the show, I get to do this with two kids, not just one. Luckily it was a brilliant time spent with Meet and Sid. It was a house on fire. We laughed and played so much. Even today when we met for the promotion, we met after ten months but it didn’t feel like that. Although it isn’t the same chemistry in the web series, it helped them to free up. Things like ‘Oh he’s a senior actor how do I work with him’ nonsense went out of the window on the first day.
But, you know heroes from the 2000s are still playing heroes…
Priyanshu Chatterjee: People do it. I can’t. If somebody gives me those roles, maybe I will have to do it. but, I can’t picture myself there.
Speaking about you being versatile, your portrayal of Satyajit Ray in Achena Uttam was very convincing. How was the experience?
Priyanshu Chatterjee: It was a huge challenge. I think we could do a little bit of justice to it. It was an honour. I hope someday somebody makes a lengthier film because the movie was about Uttam Kumar. I had like four to five scenes. Someday maybe I will get to explore more.
From Tum Bin to now Fireflies, what do you think you have earned the most? Success or respect?
Priyanshu Chatterjee: I think both, respect and success. I am very fortunate to have all the roles and the work. I consider myself very lucky for all the opportunities.
You are just being humble about it all. Even your Instagram account has no blue tick verification. Why so?
Priyanshu Chatterjee: I don’t care about it really. I don’t know how to do it or what to do. I don't share anything until I feel like it. I don't feel pressured by it or I am a lesser person if i don't have that (verification). It never mattered to me.
Is it the same when it comes to picking your project now?
Priyanshu Chatterjee: It’s the same actually. I just look at it as a job. Maybe my mind is too small and I look at things in a very simplistic way. Beshi buddhi nei (I don’t put too much thought into it) basically.
Recently Priyanka Chopra talked about being pushed to a corner in Bollywood and not getting a fair amount of opportunities. A lot of celebrities came out in support or even against it. How do you see it?
Priyanshu Chatterjee: I see it as you get what you deserve in life. It’s very simple again for me. Boss jitna milna hai utna hi milega (you get what’s written in your fate), it’s all good. Life is very kind, it gave me opportunities and still gives me. It’s just for me to stay in the right way and approach it enthusiastically. It also weighs me down if I start looking at it like ‘are yeh nahi mila, woh nahi mila (I didn’t get this or that)’. I don't want to do it because I want my energy to be good. I have to see the glass full, not half. I see it that way only. Ab kya? Celebrity bana toh diya hai bhagwan ne. Ro kyu rahe ho? (What more do you want? God has made you a celebrity already)
Besides Fireflies-Parth aur Jugnu, Priyanshu will be seen in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s forthcoming 12th Fail and Rabindra Kabya Rahasya.