Interview: Danseuse-Actress Soumili Biswas (Teen Tanaya, Sudhu Tomake Chai, Kanchanbabu) talks about her career in Bengali films
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Washington DC, Feb 27, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Soumili Biswas - the popular and established dancer and actress currently working out of Tollywood (the Calcutta Bengali film industry) - talks to Arijit Chakraborty in this informal chit-chat.
Aalo (DVD), Soumili's first feature film, was released in 2003. Her acting career, however, started when she a 9th grade student with Shimarekha - a television serial. Other credits include hosting Syllabus-e Nei, a non-fiction TV program aired on Tara Bangla channel, and Bengali movies like Gerakol (DVD), Sangram (DVD), Bajimat (DVD), Agnisapath, U-Turn, Agnisakkhi, and most recently Teen Tanaya, a one-film trilogy based on Rabindranath Tagore's poems, in which she plays the role of Camellia. At the time of this post, at least two more of her films are in the final stages before release.
Soumili's professional work now involves anchoring, dancing, and working on small and big screen. Her philosophy is that failure is the root of success. Soumili has been learning dancing from when she was three and a half years old, and takes it very seriously as an art. In 2007, she participated in the TV program Jhum Ta Ra Ra Ra but was controversially eliminated in the second round. This came a big shock, given her real talent, a sentiment expressed by many of the audience and followers of the reality talent-hunt show, but the exposure also propelled her into fame as a dancer, getting her the coveted role of Durga in Mahalaya special broadcasts on E-TV, Zee Bangla, and, in 2009 on Rupashi Bangla. She has never had to look back on her dancing career again, and now leads a dance group in collaboration with Arnab Bandhopadhay, holding programs all over India.
Asked to choose between dancing and acting as a greater love, she says this is the same as being asked to choose between parents. She also believes strongly that there can be no end to learning, or becoming better, or to reaching for greater satisfaction. If there is anything such as a ‘saturation point’ for an artist - which she seriously doubts, Soumili has definitely not reached it yet.
Wanting to do good work and playing characters that will be remembered by her audience even when she is gone remains an artistic hunger. Soumili has learned from, and deeply enjoyed working with acting stalwarts like Soumitra Chatterjee, Rituparna Sengupta, and Ranjit Mallik, and working with contemporaries like Jishu and Bhaskar is tons of fun. Of the characters she has played so far, one favorite is from Alo, in which she plays a character very much like herself in real life, with a fun loving, sunny personality. A second favorite is from U-Turn, where she plays a character totally opposite from her personality and looks modern and very westernized.
Soumili's upcoming movies include Kanchanbabu, a parallel art-house film, and Sudhu Tomake Chai, a straightforward entertainment movie which is currently in post production and slated for a 2011 release. We wish all the best to Soumili and look forward to chatting with her many more times.
Here are a few more pictures of Soumili.