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Bengali theatre not as precarious as film: Soumitra Chattopadhyay

Bengali theatre not as precarious as film: Soumitra Chattopadhyay

By Atanu Roy

Kolkata, Feb 27 (UNI) Bengali theatre is not as precarious as film, opines legendary

actor Soumitra Chattopadhyay.

"Borun Babu" aka legendary Soumitra Chattopadhyay had an exclusive chat with

UNI just before the release of 'Borunbabur Bondhu', a film by Anik Dutta.

Q. Borun Babu is very neoteric. You are neoteric too. As the story has been written

long ago, how contemporary the character remains today?

Soumitra: Borun Babu is not neoteric actually. He believes in some eternal values that

coexist with him. Except those, everything he liked was changed. Even he refuses to

be neoteric in such manner. He doesn't use a mobile phone. There is also no such

reason to tag me neoteric. I use an old-fashioned mobile phone just to receive and

make calls. It's better to call my phone un-smart than a smartphone. I also have some

beliefs and in some consequences, I am a bit clingy too. In fact, in Borun I have tried

to keep my own shadow a little.

Q. If I talk about the schooling in acting, the theatre has been a priority in your career.

Has your film acting career grown and finds a place with Ray's schooling?

Soumitra: No. It grew up a long ago with the guidance of Sisir Bhaduri. However, I have

learnt the technicalities of film acting a lot from Manik Da. My acting vibe has come for

a long time. I used to watch various films from everywhere, but after watching 'Pather

Panchali', 'Aparajito', the style of my work you see came to my mind. It is undeniable

that Satyajit Ray has given me immense freedom. He let me act as I did.

Q. There is a saying that if two actors are of equal stature, then the scene reaches to

another dimension. Do you believe in creative tussles between two actors?

Soumitra: Absolutely not. I never wanted tussles on the screen. See, acting is not a

racecourse that one has to reach out first by collision. This is a creative thing and mutual understanding creates a better thing. So I don't want to confront or have tussled with

anyone, I even never believe in this too.

Q. It's hard for anyone to act at par with you...

Soumitra: I don't know who wants to! I like acting so I act. However, it is easy to act with

a good actor because he performs correctly. I don't think they try to overpower.

Q. Who among the current generation do you think is performing well?

Soumitra: I didn't see anyone's acting like that now. In fact, not only Bengali film, but

I also have no time to watch any film. For about a decade, I didn't go to the cinema hall

as my health doesn't permit.

Q. 'Borunbabur Bondhu' is based on 'Chhaad', a story by Ramapada Chowdhury. Andrei

Tarkovsky once said, "I don't want to make movies with famous stories. Because, I think it

has everything, so there is nothing new to deliver." How much do you believe in cinema

from literature?

Soumitra: There are numerous films with a lot of advanced literature in the country from

where Tarkovsky belongs. But I must say, the stories we come across in the film are not at

all of the high standards. So I love films based on literature at least in Bengal. As I believe,

Bengali literature is very rich. So taking stories from there would be a good step for Bengali


Q. You have a knack for writing poetry. Like poetry, there are some rhythms in the film too.

Do you currently feel any shortfall in that rhythm?

Soumitra: I cannot comment about the present scenario. I can't go to watch films for

physical reasons.

Q. What is your opinion about the current scenario of Bengali theatre?

Soumitra: Bengali theatre is quite okay. But has not seemed so good lately, especially acting. Theatre also is suffering from boredom. It is like back to count one! The thing is moving

towards overacting again. To me, the opportunity to watch theatre is not much too. In fact,

I don't even have a car that I would go to and watch plays over and over again. Every time

I have to arrange a car, and then I can go. However, the scenario of the theatre is not as

precarious as the Bengali film.

Q. Even today many writers are writing characters keeping you in mind...

Soumitra: Yes! Many of the directors want me as an actor. They want Soumitra Chattopadhyay

to play a part in their film. Okay fine! I'm happy with it because it supports me to sustain as a professional.

Q. Which directors have you enjoyed working with recently?

Soumitra: I like working with Anik Dutta. I love working with Suman Ghosh and also liked

working with Atanu Ghosh.


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