Dev plays Markaz Ali in Srijit Mukherji’s Zulfiqar, an adaptation of Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. Dev’s character is modeled on Mark Antony.(Samir Jana)
Dev plays Markaz Ali in Srijit Mukherji’s Zulfiqar, an adaptation of Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. Dev’s character is modeled on Mark Antony.(Samir Jana)

I took classes to learn sign language: Dev

Dev, who will be seen playing a mute character in Srijit Mukherji’s Zulfiqar, says that simplicity keeps him going.
By Anindita Acharya | Hindustan Times, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON OCT 04, 2016 02:43 PM IST

Dev doesn’t carry the aura of a superstar. So, when we meet him, he looks rather casual in a worn t-shirt, floaters and faded denims. His hair is a mess, as he is just back from the gym. “I am superstar in the film; rest of the time, I am a normal human being. Why should I meet you in make-up?” he asks.

No doubt, Dev looks up to someone like Rajinikanth. “I admire Rajinikanth. He meets his fan in his own skin, yet fans go mad every time his film releases. That’s the magic of Rajinikanth. Fans today want to know you beyond your star image. I have always been a careless guy. I know what to do in front of the camera. Otherwise, I am a normal human being. But that doesn’t mean everyone has to be like me,” he replies with a boyish grin.

Having completed a decade in the film industry, Dev says that it’s his simplicity that has kept him going. “Stardom can take you a few miles, may be a few kilometres but it’s the simplicity which keeps you going,” smiles Dev.

The actor, who began his journey in 2006 with hardcore commercial films like I Love You, Challenge, Poran Jaaye Joliya Re, Khokababu, gradually shifted to doing middle-of-the-road cinema. Despite brickbats, he continued being part of non-mainstream films like Chander Pahar, Buno Haansh and Arshinagar. And now, the actor says that he is gearing up for one of the biggest challenges of his career. Dev will be seen playing a mute person Markuz Ali, a character modeled on Mark Antony in Srijit Mukherji’s film Zulfiqar, an adaptation of Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. Dev informs that he took classes for sign languages for months to understand the character and play it effectively. “I didn’t go on the set unprepared. I took classes and learnt sign language. People who are mute live in a world of their own and it’s fascinating,” says the actor-turned-Member of Parliament.

Watch the song Katakuti Khela from Zulfiqar

Interestingly, Srijit has roped in two actors to play Mark Antony. Parambrata Chatterjee, who plays Tony Braganza (also modeled on Mark Antony), does the talking on behalf of Markaz.

The last few years has seen a number of Tollywood actors in ensemble films. A few months ago, Dev too shared screen space alongside Jisshu Sengupta and Ankush in Kelor Kirti. The actor says that he has no qualms about doing ensemble films, provided his character has meat.

Srijit’s film features some of the biggest names from the Bengali film industry such as Prosenjit, Dev, Parambrata, Jisshu, Ankush, Paoli Dam and Nusrat Jahan. That certainly escalates the chances of ego clashes on the set but Dev reveals that nothing of that sorts happened on the set. “It was like a picnic. Also, our bond has strengthened with time,” he says.

Dev plays a mute character in Zulfiqar. (Shree Venkatesh Films)
Dev plays a mute character in Zulfiqar. (Shree Venkatesh Films)

It’s also common knowledge that Srijit is a hard taskmaster on the sets. The filmmaker too has often admitted that. Dev, however, says that he had a great time shooting with the National Award-winning filmmaker. “I haven’t seen anyone more focused than Srijit. He can kill anyone to make his film. I had heard that he isn’t satisfied before 15-20 retakes. As a non-actor I thought I would not be able to satisfy him but he never said anything to me,” says the Bindass and Bolo Na Tumi Amar actor.

Dev, who is quite active on social networking sites, recently shared photographs of his ‘good friend’ Rukmini Maitra at his father’s birthday party. Ask him if he is dating Rukmini, and he smilingly says, “Speculation is good, but let’s not come up with a judgment. I invited all my friends to that party.” Dev’s rumoured girlfriend Rukmini will be making her acting debut in his upcoming production to be directed by Raj Chakraborty.

Read: My film Zulfiqar is a tribute to The Godfather, says Srijit Mukherji

The poster boy of Bengali cinema also says that it’s important for public figures like him to think before they speak. “It’s very important to hold your tongue at times. This is something I have learnt from my past,” he says.

Initially, Dev had planned to release his debut production during puja. The film directed by Kaushik Ganguly, also brings together the popular pair of Dev-Subhashree after three years. “There are too many releases. The film is very close to my heart. I think it was a wise decision on our part not to release the film during puja. I always thought there’s no point in fighting with each other’s films. It’s a small industry and let’s not fight among ourselves,” he signs off.

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