Interview: Tollywood Actor Rahul on Bengali Movie Goraye Gondogol (2012) & His Upcoming Films

Washington, DC, Jan 10, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Arijit Chakraborty chats with Rahul (the screen-name of Arunoday Banerjee), one of the most talented (and busy!) young actors of Tollywood, in this exclusive WBRi audio interview.


Click on Play to listen to Rahul | WBRi On-Demand Audio Service

Goraye Gondogol Film PosterGuest: Rahul, Kolkata, India
Host: Arijit Chakraborty, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Article: Penning Creations, Kolkata, India
Audio Recording, Editing: Supratim Sanyal, Washington DC, USA

More popularly known as ‘Rahul’ in the movie circuits, the man is one of the faces of the changing times (for the better, that is!) that the Bengali film industry is witnessing. In an exclusive telephonic interview with Arijit Chakrabarty, ‘Rahul’ talks about his theatre background, his upcoming project ‘Goray Gondogol’, his personal ambitions and much, much more.

The interview started off on a humorous note, with ‘Rahul’ referring to Canada as the largest country in the world (!), and immediately owning up to his geographical inadequacies. The actor also mentioned that, thanks to his brother who stays at Winnipeg, he has a fair idea about how chilly the weather can be in Canada during this time of the year.

On a more serious note, ‘Rahul’ elaborated upon the theatre environment in which he had grown up. His dad, had been a student of the noted playwright, ‘Bijon Dutta’ and the culture of theatre acting has always been present in his family. Even now, the young man’s family has a theatre group of their own. While ‘Rahul’ himself does not get much of a chance to feature in their productions (with his congested movie commitments), the actor revealed that he was currently working with ‘Bratya Basu’, in a theatre show (titled ‘Oshalin’). ‘Rahul’ also expressed his hope that ‘Oshalin’ would, in the near future, be staged in India as well. A cricket-lover at heart, ‘Rahul’, in his childhood, had dreamt of opening the batting with Sachin Tendulkar. While the actor was quite candid in stating that his limited cricketing talents prevented him from pursuing this dream, we can easily say that, what has been cricket’s loss (probably!), has come as a blessing for the world of Bengali cinema!

Awards and accolades made an early appearance in the acting career of ‘Rahul’. He started stage acting at the tender age of three and within a year, was awarded the ‘Best Child Actor’ prize. ‘Rahul’ expressed his pride and joy while recounting the moment when he had been handed the award by none other than Anil Chattopadhyay, one of the stalwarts of Bengali movies. The daily theatre rehearsal sessions from 7pm (after little ‘Rahul’ had finished his school homework) were immensely enjoyable, as the actor recollected.

In 2004, ‘Rahul’ was spotted by Ravi Ojha and the actor got his big movie break in the big-budget, ambitious project ‘Abar Ashbo Firey’. While the movie did not do that well at the box-office, ‘Rahul’ was noted for his performance in the film. Since then, there has been no looking back for this young actor, who simply went from strength to strength with every passing film of his. Indeed, the latest release of ‘Rahul’ (the critically and commercially successful ‘Bedroom’) bears testimony to how much the actor has matured over the years.

‘Rahul’ fondly remembers his days of television acting, where he got the scope of performing alongside such eminent stars like Saswata Chatterjee, Kharaj Mukherjee and Rajatava Dutta. Those were the days when television was considered to be the ideal grooming ground for upcoming actors. Commenting on the rumors of animosity and fights among actors, ‘Rahul’ smiles and says that, on a personal front, he has always been fortunate enough to receive nothing but love and affection from his co-actors and directors. We, the viewers, love you too, ‘Rahul’!

The conversation now turns towards the next big release of ‘Rahul’, ‘Goray Gondogol’ (slated for release on 27 January). The frankness and candor of the actor are evident in the way he dismisses the notion of a conventional ‘hero’ in this eagerly anticipated film. While giving little away about the main storyline of the movie, which also stars Kharaj Mukherjee, Dipankar De, Rajatava Dutta, Rudranil Ghosh, Saswata Chatterjee, Konineeca Banerjee, Locket Chatterjee and Sampurna Lahiri, ‘Rahul’ said that the movie revolved around a lie, which leads to confusions of mammoth proportions. A ‘massacre of lies’ is how ‘Rahul’ described this Aniket Chattopadhyay-directed movie (sounds pretty interesting!).

‘Rahul’ gushes with fond memories of his shooting stint for ‘Goray Gondogol’. He refers to the strong musical score of the movie as one of the main highlights of the film. While discussing the songs of the movie, ‘Rahul’ picks out the honeymoon song (shot in Rajasthan) as his personal favorite. As he was shooting for the song, ‘Rahul’ realized that, it is common in Rajasthan that a male dancer would dress up as a lady and perform on the sands of the desert. The sensitive side of the actor comes to the fore as he recounts an occasion when one of these actors had come up to him and said “Ami dancer…gay noi”. The need for these talented artists to justify themselves, particularly at this present day and age, pained ‘Rahul’ no end. The fun-loving nature of the actor resurfaces soon though, as he quips that ‘Goray Gondogol’ would surely be very ‘projatantrik’ (republic) in nature (since it releases only a day after January 26!). He also expressed a feeling of nervous excitement and quiet confidence about the film.

When asked about his other upcoming film projects, ‘Rahul’ reels off a list of movies that he is currently working on (or just completed!). Next up for release is ‘Ami Vs Tumi’, with wife Priyanka (a fine actress in her own right). The film which deals with post-marital problems of a couple, is directed by Mainak Bhaumik (of ‘Aamra’, ‘Bedroom’ fame). ‘Tobuo Bosonto’ and ‘Balukabela.com’ (directed by Partho Sen) are slated for release next, while quite a few untitled projects are also in the pipeline.

‘Rahul’ quotes Al Pacino (who had said that, ‘acting on stage is like walking on a tightrope’) while comparing theatre performances with acting in movies. The actor emphasizes on the fact that, while performing anywhere excites him, the margin for error is way less while acting live on stage (with no scopes of retakes!). Refreshingly, ‘Rahul’ says that he prefers taking risks in his professional life, in his bid to nuance his performances further. Now, that’s a brave take from this young actor!

The conversation session draws to a close with the interviewer thanking ‘Rahul’ for taking out time from his busy schedule to chat about his life, films and more. On his part, the actor too expresses his wish to drop in at the WBRi studio some time in future.

We wish ‘Rahul’ (and of course, his movie, ‘Goray Gondogol’) all the very best. After all, in a world of ‘stars’ and ‘matinee idols’, sincere ‘actors’ like ‘Rahul’ are indeed rare!

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