Film is a director’s medium: Anirban Bhattacharya
Actor Anirban Bhattacharya still remembers the time when he used to share a room with Indian cricketer Ashoke Dinda in Koley Market, Kolkata. That was in 2004. “We used to spend some good time over breakfast. But he soon left for Australia and we are no longer in touch,” smiles Anirban.
It’s been 12 years that Anirban came to Kolkata from Mednipore, West Bengal. A lot has changed since then. Today, he is one of the most sought-after names in theatre in Kolkata and has worked with some of the biggest names like Bratya Basu, Debesh Chattopadhyay and Suman Mukhopadhyay. For the last few years, the actor has also been exploring films and received rave reviews for his portrayal of Mercutio in Aparna Sen’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Presently, the actor is hogging the limelight for Arindam Sil’s recently-released sleuth film. Anirban, who plays Bishan in this adaptation of celebrated Bengali author Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s Eagoler Chokh, is already being praised for his performance.
The actor believes films are a natural extension for a theatre actor. “Theatre actors have been experimenting with the medium of films for a long time now. I made a late entry into films. I have been doing theatre for 11 years and spent most of my time rehearsing for plays. I have just entered films and am enjoying it,” says the actor of Debesh Chattopadhyay’s Devi Sarpamasta and Suman Mukhopadhyay’s Raja Lear.
Film and theatre are two different mediums. It’s believed that theatre strengthens an actor’s skills and also infuses discipline. So, was there any clash of ideologies with filmmakers once he started doing movies? “Theatre is an actor’s medium but film is a director’s medium. I don’t think there’s any need to get into an intellectual or ideological clash with a filmmaker unless I am not confused about my character. I might have read the entire script, but it’s the director who visualises the entire film,” says Anirban.
The actor also played a brief role in Aparna Sen’s Arshinagar and Kamaleswar Mukherjee’s Khawto. However, in Sil’s recent release, he has got more screen time. However, Anirban, who has done popular plays like Bisarjan and Antony Soudamini, says that he has no qualms about playing brief roles, so long the character is challenging. “Mercutio plays a very important role in the text. That, however, may not be the case in the adaptation. I loved the way Arindamda (Sil) narrated me the character of Bishan in a few lines. If you have watched Khawto, you will realise that I don’t have any fascination for lengthy roles. Yes, like everyone else I too would be glad if I bag a plum role but the role too needs be interesting. I am new to films, so the more difficult characters I play the faster will I learn,” he quips.
Watch: Trailer of Eagoler Chokh
In the film, Bishan is a man who was sexually exploited as a child. Naturally, it wasn’t easy for Anirban to explore the psyche of Bishan. “Bishan is not a regular guy. Initially, it was difficult for me to understand his psyche. I didn’t sleep for more than three hours while shooting for the film. I also shot for certain scenes in an inebriated state (in limited quantity of course) after consulting Arindamda,” says Anirban, who refutes rumours of being offered to play Feluda by Sandip Ray.