Artists can’t work in watertight boxes, this collective will help them shake hands to do arts: Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee
An interdisciplinary artist himself, Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee, who has also worked in various Bengali films, has created a platform that will help young artists exchange create ideas and build on their art.Updated: Jul 18, 2018 18:49 IST
Kolkata-based interdisciplinary artist Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee has signed up popular Bengali director Srijit Mukherji’s next film, titled Shah Jahan Regency. He plays a pivotal role in the film that is a take on the celebrated Bengali novel Chowringhee, written by Shankar. “Srijit is a school friend and it’s a delight that he chose me to play such a seminal role. The character I play is that of the head housekeeper of a hotel who is nitpicking all the time and also has a sense of pride,” shares Chatterjee.
But acting in the film, which is already a buzz in the Bengali film circuit, is not all that is keeping this artist engaged. Chatterjee has started the first-of- its-kind inter-disciplinary arts collective in the City of Joy. Speaking about the reaction that this new addition has on prominent cultural people in the city, Chatterjee says, “Filmmaker Goutam Ghose, theatre personalities such as Sohini Sengupta and Sohag Sen, actor Abir Chatterjee and my friend actress Rituparna Sengupta are very upbeat about this. We didn’t advertise it much, but received applications from interested artists and now, we are a 20 member team with people from different spheres.”
This is in fact Chatterjee’s way of creating a platform for young artists in the city who want to exchange ideas on various art forms and also work on their core craft. “When I began my career in arts, I had no access to proscenium. Groping through the alleys, I found I could blend in arts and spaces and I began the trend of performance in alternative spaces in my city way back in 2003, when bookstores only sold books and cafes sold coffee or tea. I started curating cultural shows and hosting them in these spaces. Finally this year, I found myself in the territory of forming an arts collective. The first show by the collective members is on August 9 at ICCR to commemorate Tagore’s 77th death anniversary,” says Chatterjee.
The other reason for creating the collective is to allow artists to draw the best from each other’s art forms. Having performed as an inter-disciplinary artist in the US and Canada, and collaborated with several artists, Chatterjee realised the importance of interactions. “Artists can’t work in watertight boxes. They have to leap out and shake hands to do arts. I am just trying to create a new generation of artists who are independent and can plan their portfolio on their own. I am a self-made artist. I borrowed nothing from my family or ancestry,” he adds.
Chatterjee is dabbling in various mediums as an actor too. He will be seen in a Bengali play on September 9, which is being directed by Sudipa Basu. “Storytelling is something that I breathe and I choose interdisciplinary mediums to tell a tale,” he says. He will also be seen in a grey character in another Bengali film, Bidaay BYOMKESH. “My director, Debaloy Bhattacharya is an excellent writer and I chose to do the film because of the taut script and also his desire to make me stretch my limits,” he signs off.