Anirban Bhattacharya is one powerful actor from the current lot of actors in Bengali cinema. A theatre personality and having bagged several awards for his theatre work, he gradually spread his wings into the field of cinema. He earned applaud for his acting in the film Eagoler Chokh, directed by Arindam Sil. His other films are Arshinagar, Colkatay Columbus and Durga Sohay.
Now the actor will be seen in the film Dhananjoy. Helmed by Arindam, it is based on ‘The conviction of Dhananjoy Chatterjee’. Dhananjoy was executed in Kolkata's Alipore Central Jail for the rape and murder of 18-year-old Hetal Parekh. He was convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidences.
Ahead of the film’s release, in an exclusive chat with Tellychakkar.com, Anirban talked about the film, his preparation for the role, his equation with director Arindam and a lot more. Excerpts:
Earlier, you mentioned that you had to take mental preparation for essaying the role of Dhananjoy even before the shoot started and now that the film is set to hit the theatres, what are your feelings? Are you nervous? Also, after the making of the film are you in favour of Dhananjoy?
I don’t know. We have to keep in mind that as per reports, he was convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidences. Later, when the case was reviewed and a statement was formed, it was said that he may have been innocent. But our film does not say that Dhananjoy did not commit the crime. Apart from the point whether Dhananjoy committed the crime or not, we have shown the innocent members of his family because of course he was not a born criminal. And we must not forget that Hetal Parekh is equally important in this film. We have focused on her tragedy as well. I really don’t know whether the people will support the film or go against it; whether they will call names or praise it. I don’t know. I am waiting for the response on my toes.
(Read here: Anirban gets emotionally drained while playing Dhanonjoy)
How were your nights and mornings when you were shooting for the film?
Look, it’s very difficult for me to describe in words. I know one thing that my mental preparation had started long ago. I had kept myself under pressure. You may call it virtual pressure. The pressure was to feel like a convict who was on his death row because I don’t know how a person would have felt when he was told that he will be hanged. Practically, it’s not possible for me to achieve that emotion so I had to create a virtual pressure. I did that by not talking or attending phone calls much and by not using internet. I tried to create an atmosphere where there wasn’t any disturbance and I can be myself.
This is your third film with Arindam. Tell us how your journey started with him.
By the time I received the phone call from him (for Eagoler Chokh) I had watched Ebar Shabor but not Har Har Byomkesh. He said that they have faith in me. But it happened that before the shooting started, I was off to a different location where there was no network. Upon returning, I found myself in a huge mess. Out of 12 dates (for the shooting of the film), eight were already had been reserved for my shows. I was extremely upset for losing the film. But Arindamda, who was working with such big stars, rescheduled the dates only for me. I was a newcomer. I will never forget what he did for me. This was his Barappan (greatness). Yes, of course, as an actor, it was my responsibility to deliver. He is a comfort zone for an actor. We have soul communication. We do not need to express in words. We can communicate through eyes. He is my guide.
What do you do apart from cinema?
I also do theatre and apart from acting, I have some other plans. My team is busy with a publication so it requires us conducting interviews with people who belong to different strata of our society. Also, with minimalistic treatment and without any script, a musician friend of mine and I are trying to create a performance based on body and music. And talking about professional theatre and cinema, I have no plans as such. I work with people who call me. Mainakda and I were in talks for a film but due to date issues I couldn’t do it. In the coming year, I will be working with Arindamda again which will require some preparation and why would it require preparation that I won’t be able to tell you now.
It seems you are not looking for opportunity yet film offers are landing in your kitty and you are grabbing them.
It has been 13 years that I am associated with this creative field. People are taking me in their films not as a layman. I have studied this craft and I have really worked hard on it. My entire thought process for the entire day revolves around this craft. Moreover, I am a professional so getting offers is not a chance or opportunity for me but job.
You have worked in films as well as TV. What do you think about your growth in front of the camera?
I am still in the process of understanding the camera. The camera and I haven’t reached the stage where we can live together or get married. You can say we are in the infatuation phase. We are yet to get into each other’s system.
Apart from cinema and theatre, TV keeps you busy. You have done Zee Bangla's Apur Sansar and now hosting Colors Bangla's Hushiar Bangla. It seems you are on a spree to try different things…
(Flashes a bright smile) Yes, the earlier one (Apur Sansar) was comedy wherein my character was different, the set was different, the premise was different and this one (Hushiar Bangla) is a serious show. Hushiar Bangla has a very good research team. They are doing the show with utmost care. Sourabh (Pallodhi, creative director) always brings something new to the table. All of my anchor shots have been done by him.
There is no doubt that people shower you with praises and complements for your acting talent but have you also received harsh comments or criticisms which have hurt you?
Yes, I have received harsh comments many times but they did not hurt me. It depends upon me that whose comment I will count and whose comment I won’t count. A few people may not like my work and I am sorry that I couldn’t entertain them! I count all those comments that help me to grow as an actor. I don’t want to take names but there have been people who had pointed out my error after watching my films. I have rectified some and some I couldn’t. Everything is all about individual truth. If I act for the sake of acting then of course I will be criticized. But if I have been honest with my work and still my work gets criticized then I will see whether my individual truth supports the criticism or not…I guess an actor grows like this. Acting is all about self belief. My responsibility will be to entertain everyone but some may like it and some may not. Of course, my attempt will be to reach the maximum number of people.
How do you unwind after work?
I watch cinema or hang out with my friends. I love to have adda with friends.
Last question…how would you describe yourself in three words?
Truthful, unambitious and depressive.
Produced of SVF Entertainment, Dhananjoy is set to hit the theatres tomorrow (11th August).