Interview: Tollywood Bengali Hero Hiran Chatterjee - The All-New Eight-Pack Leading Man Of MACHO MUSTANA (2012) Bangla Movie
Click on Play to listen to Hiran Chatterjee | WBRi On-Demand Audio Broadcast Service
Washington DC, Feb 25, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) One of the best things about the Bengali movie industry is that, there is no apparent dearth of young and promising actors in Tollywood. While Dev and Jeet have been hogging all the limelight with hugely hyped movies, Hiran Chatterjee has been one of the actors who has been quietly (and successfully!) climbing the ladders of stardom at a rapid pace. In a tete-a-tete with Arijit Chakraborty from WBRi, Hiran talks about his early life, his newly acquired 8-pack body, his big-budget upcoming film, Macho Mastana and a whole lot more. It is to be noted here that Macho Mastana is the new title of the film previously titled Macho Mustafa - the change in the title was driven by a direction of the Indian Film Censor Board which found the usage of the name Mustafa inappropriate due to religious sentiments.
After the exchange of initial pleasantries, Hiran was questioned about his journey into the world of Bengali cinema. The young man revealed that becoming an actor had always been a dream that he had nurtured from his childhood. However, his humble roots (Hiran was born in small village in Bengal, where even electricity was not available) initially prevented Hiran from attaining his goal. From a young age, Hiran had been an avid movie-watcher, with Uttam Kumar and Mithun Chakraborty being his personal favorite actors (not a bad choice of idols for an aspiring actor, one must say!).
Hiran fondly recalled the day when he had once bunked a mathematics examination to catch a ‘Mithun-da’ flick! The young man even used to study with a mirror in his hand (at which he constantly kept looking) – such was his conviction that he was indeed cut out to be a Tollywood hero.
While the modest circumstances that surrounded Hiran during his formative years (both his school as well as his home had tiled roofs, while his village did not even have a paved roadway!), the youngster regularly used to perform in plays that were organized in his locality on the occasions of Saraswati Puja, Kali Puja and Durga Puja. Hiran had a quiet chuckle in his voice as he said that he often used to forget his dialogs during these dramas, leading to embarrassing situations, since a prompter was a missing luxury in these local productions.
Hiran described how his life took a tragic turn in 1997, with the untimely demise of his parents. The young man was, all of a sudden, confronted, and forced to combat with a series of adverse circumstances in life. After finishing school, Hiran had moved to Kolkata, where he had taken shelter in the house of an acquaintance. Life had not been easy at those times and Hiran had to run regular, taxing errands and perform household chores, in exchange of shelter and two square meals. One really has to hand it to Hiran for the persistence and determination with which he had stuck to his guns during these times of extreme crisis. His inspirational tale is of a truly self-made man.
Talking about his further education, Hiran said that he had initially joined Goenka College to study commerce. However, he had soon switched over to the English Honors course at Rabindra Bharati University. The actor had to work during the day and had to pursue his educational course in the evening. Hiran took this challenge in his stride too and indeed looks upon this phase of life as a blessing that prepared him for the arduous career that he was going to follow.
Hiran & Puja
Right after graduation, Hiran had been fortunate enough to bag a lucrative job-offer at Reliance in Mumbai. The actor looks upon this opportunity as a ‘huge opening’ in his life – something that really helped him in getting established in life. Hiran was thankful to Reliance too, for the corporate grooming he received from the company.
It was easy to realize that Hiran was not one of the regular, run-of-the-mill young men from the very fact that he did not sit content with his plush job (and the flat and car that came with it, that too in the expensive and cut-throat competiton in the city of Mumbai!). The actor, in fact, said, that the assurance of a job spurred him on to try to realize his childhood aspiration – to become a leading man in Bengali movies. The honesty and candor of Hiran shines through as he admits that he had no interest in small character roles, and had always wanted to be a ‘hero’ in movies.
Video (Via Youtube) - Madhubala Bengali Hot Item Song from Macho Mastana
While staying in Mumbai, Hiran had managed to get hold of veteran Bengali actress Laboni Sarkar’s phone number. The actor called Sarkar up one day in the hope of gaining helpful tips on how to get a toehold in the Tollywood arena. Sarkar also advised Hiran to come back to Kolkata if the latter harbored any hope of becoming a successful actor in Bengali cinema.
The perseverance of Hiran finally paid off in 2005, when he was called by the leading director Haranath Chakrabarty (who had directed such blockbuster hits like ‘Sathi’, ‘Pratibad’ and ‘Shoshurbari Zindabad’) to his office. The keen memory of Hiran comes to the fore as the young man recounts, on the day of Durga Puja ‘Saptami’, he had played truant from his office in Mumbai to visit Chakrabarty’s home in Kolkata (that really showcases the dedication of Hiran for joining movies!). The director had taken several snaps of Hiran, checked out his walking style and even consulted one of his heroines (Sayantani) regarding whether the young man would indeed be suitable for films - much in the style of a groom's family checking out a prospective bride in the world of arranged marriages, Hiran quips humorously. Finally, the director was satisfied with what he saw and, with Sayantani’s confirmation, Hiran was asked to return to Bombay for the time being, with the director assuring him that he would let Hiran know as soon as his new film went on the floors.
Hiran refers to the next two years as the most frustrating period in his life. While Haranath Chakrabarty kept on working with all the other big stars, Hiran was left with no other choice but to wait for the director’s call. Finally, in 2007, Chakrabarty called up Hiran and informed him that he wanted to cast him in his next film. However, Hiran needed to quit his job if he was to take up this offer, since shooting for movies went on for 3 to 4 months at a stretch. Faced with the prospect of making one of the most challenging decisions in his career, Hiran had finally chosen what he had always craved for – the life of an actor, a fortuitous choice for all of use Bengali film lovers.
The initiation of Hiran into the film industry had been far from smooth though. Firstly, his debut film (‘Nobab Nondini’) got delayed by two months (since Sandhya Roy, one of the main characters in the movie, had date problems). The initial response to ‘Nobab Nondini’ (particularly during the first two weeks) had not been encouraging either. Fortunately, the film had managed to pick up from its third week and had gone on to become one of the sleeper hits of the year (running for as long as 25/26 weeks at certain theatres!). The grand success of ‘Nobab Nondini’ had automatically catapulted Hiran to the league of big stars in the Tollywood circles. Since then, Hiran had never needed to look back.
The conversation now turns to ‘Macho Mustana’, the hugely anticipated upcoming movie of Hiran. The actor had been on a brief hiatus (his last film ‘Mon Je Kore Uru Uru’ had released almost a year back) and he had been looking for such roles that would actually be able to fulfill his acting aspirations. Reshmi Mitra (WBRi interview), the director of ‘Macho Mastana’, had approached Hiran during June last year and had decided to join hands to make an action movie. Screenwriter Pele, a buddy of Hiran who had been launched in the industry by Hiran himself in an earlier release of his (‘Olot Palot’), developed the script for ‘Macho Mustana’, which was immensely appreciated and instantly approved by Reshmi Mitra.
Hiran reaffirmed that getting ready for the role he plays in ‘Macho Mustafa’ was a demanding task. For starters, he had to look ‘macho’ – something that had not been his forte in his hitherto brief acting career. Hiran revealed that he had a serious injury on his left shoulder (which he had suffered in a freak accident on the sets of ‘Nobab Nondini’) which prevented him from going for regular exercising regimes. With the help of gym trainer Abhishek, Hiran had managed to fight through the barriers of pain while putting on the pounds on his body. The actor often had to put on ice-packs on his shoulder for half an hour after each gym session, but he had never flinched. Now, that’s a determined young actor, if ever there was one!
Developing a sculpted eight-pack abs-equipped body required Hiran to follow a strict dietary regime as well. For a period of six months, the actor had diligently followed a diet of boiled food items. Hiran fluently rattles off his dietary components, which started with 10 egg whites, dry fruits and a couple of bread toasts for breakfast (without butter, of course!). The actor had to consume as many as 18 eggs in a single day, apart from 750 grams of chicken, as instructed by his gym instructor. Hiran said that he also utilized the breaks during shooting to do some gym work (be it in Bolpur, Hyderabad, or Kolkata).
According to Hiran, only the climax sequence of ‘Macho Mastana’, which was shot over a period of 10 days, required him to be in an eight-pack avatar. The actor diligently followed a high-protein, low-fluids and no-salt diet during this time. While shooting for the climax scenes, the actor often faced cramps, but was gutsy enough to fight through pain to deliver a credible performance (Hiran indeed looks fantastic on the promos of the film!).
Hiran currently maintains a six-pack body and follows the usual boiled food diet schedule for six days of the week. Once in a week, however, Hiran does indulge in chocolates, ice creams and other yummy delicacies (an actor as hardworking as Hiran does deserve some treats, after all!).
Post ‘Macho Mastana’, Hiran is currently working on his next project, ‘Deewana Holo Mon’. That film would also require Hiran to maintain a good physique (not a 8-pack though!). Next up would be Reshmi Mitra’s yet-untitled action flick (easily showing that Hiran wants to be the next pin-up boy in the action genre of films!).
While discussing the music of ‘Macho Mastana’ (which was described by the actor as fantastic) a hidden talent of Hiran was discovered by the listeners. The young man quite beautifully lent his voice to one of the songs of the movie (‘Rukega Badal’). When asked more about the musical talents of the actor, Hiran revealed that he had, albeit for a brief while, taken musical lessons from Jayanta Chattopadhyay (the son of the celebrated Pt. Bishwadeb Chattopadhyay). Hiran also plans to launch his own music album later this year. The actor however was candid in admitting that he could not do playback for himself in movies, though!
Hiran’s interview clearly showed the unwavering love and passion that the actor has for films and music. We wish Hiran (and, of course, ‘Macho Mustana’ and all his future projects!) all the very best. Some people deserve all the success in life and Hiran is indeed one of such inspirational gifted individuals who has, and will continue to, earn spectacular heights.
Guest: Tollywood Actor Hiran Chatterjee, Kolkata, India
Host: Arijit Chakraborty, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Recording, Editing: Supratim Sanyal, Washington DC, USA
Article: Penning Creations, Kolkata, India