I dislike the film publicity schedule these days: Soumitra Chatterjee
Dadasaheb Phalke Award-winning actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who has made Apu and Felu da immortal in Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray's films, is busy promoting his May 1 release Bela Sheshe. He speaks to HT about new film and more.regional movies Updated: Apr 28, 2015 19:35 IST
Dadasaheb Phalke Award-winning actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who has made Apu and Felu da immortal in Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray's films, is busy promoting his May 1 release Bela Sheshe. The thespian, however, looks a tad bit upset with the series of interviews lined up, as the promotion schedule is tiring him out. So much so, that he says that from now on he will spare only a day for promoting a film. It goes without saying that the octogenarian is quiet alien to the kind of publicity schedule a film follows these days.
"I don't like the kind of effort we are required to give for publicity these days. I have decided that from now on whenever a script is offered to me, the first thing I will ask is about their promotion plans. I will ensure that I won't have to give one or at the most one-and-a-half days for publicity. It's fine if they agree or else I won't do the film," he says.
The actor will be seen alongside Swatilekha Sengupta in the film. The two were earlier paired in Satyajit Ray's National Award-winning Ghare Baire in 1984. That was, however, more than 30 years ago and Swatilekha never did a film after that. This film also will mark Swatilekha's comeback, where she will be seen playing Chatterjee's wife. The film is being directed by filmmaker duo Shiboprosad Mukhopadhyay and Nandita Roy.
"I have been working for last 50 years. Hence, I no longer feel elated when it comes to casting. But this time I was really happy. Someone who has not worked in films for so long is making a comeback and I will get to work with her. This is also a new type of casting. Many a times, such casting is impossible and the same person has to be repeated time and again. It's difficult to find actors who can portray an elderly person. I can't call her (Swatilekha Sengupta) an old woman but she is elderly," he says as he breaks into a laugh.
The actor also says that he liked the film's script and hence agreed to do it. "It is not a run-of the mill boy-meets-girl story. It has a unique storyline, which I liked," he says. Bela Seshe, revolves around a happy couple, who decide to separate after 50 years of marriage. The film has an ensemble cast of Rituparna Sengupta, Aparajita Auddy, Kharaj Mukherjee, Monami Ghosh and Indrani Dutta.
Chatterjee, who has been conferred with Padma Bhushan, is also back on television after a four-year hiatus. However, there's an interesting story behind this comeback. "I have done a lot of television but I have been away from TV for the last few years. I find today's Bengali soaps irritating. I feel doing a bad film is much better than doing these daily soaps. I am doing this show for my friend Sabitri Chatterjee. I admire Sabitri, she is an old colleague and friend. She came to my home and requested me to do this show. I almost said no to her, but my wife intervened and asked to me to do it. I couldn't say no to Sabitri," he says.