Tollywood Actor Ritwick Chakraborty Talks About Bengali Films NECKLACE, BAKITA BEKTIGOTO and other movies

By Bidisha

Click on Play to listen to Ritwick Chakraborty via WBRi on-demand audio service

Michigan, USA, March 4, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Ritwick Chakraborty is a known name in the current world of Bengali cinema. His performance in films like cross connection, smriti medur and necklace has left deep impressions on the minds of the audience. Today, we have him in our Michigan studios and he has kindly agreed to talk to WBRi about his films.

[NECKLACE (2011) Bengali Movie Poster]Ritwick, welcome to Washington Bangla Radio, thank you so much for being with us. We have seen you in quite a few films. How did you come into films? Please share something about your childhood days with our listeners.

I was associated with theater from almost the age of five. Even though it wasn’t a very serious kind of a thing but I was a part of that theater group. The acting thing also happened at a very young age. As I grew older, I gradually became passionate about acting and started getting more involved with theater. But I never thought that I would take up acting so professionally. I started on with a job but midway I decided that I would pursue my career in acting. I went through the usual ‘struggle’ period (Bengalis love to use the word ‘struggle’) and started working in television. From there I got into a film called ‘Pagol Premi’ and that’s how it all started.

Your recent film is ‘Necklace’ has been widely appreciated, how did you feel about portraying the role of Bishwanath?

Well, I quite enjoyed playing the character of Bishwanath. I had never before played the role of anyone who is as old as Bishwanath in the story. I have seen people like Bishwanath in my life, I have even met them. In fact, I feel, we all have met him as he is everywhere.

Can you share some interesting incidents on the sets of Necklace, especially something related to Chicken Thoria?

(Laughs) well, we did eat something called Chicken Thoria during the shoot but it tasted quite bad. Actually, that day we were working pretty late. We started at about 6pm and by the time we reached the last ‘party’ scene, it was midnight. There was some chicken dish but I guess some special dressings had been added to make it look appetizing, I tasted a bit of it and like I said, it tasted terrible. I was really disappointed even though foods served during shoots are not really known for their taste.

In the film Necklace, you have shared the screen space with stalwarts like Dipankar Dey and Bishwajit Chakraborty, how did you feel about that?

I have earlier worked with both Dipankar da and Bishwajit da. When I am into acting I don’t quite realize or think that the people around me are stalwarts. May be before the shoot starts or ends, I might sometimes feel that there are great people around, but once into the job, I am more involved with my performance. And I think that helps me a lot, in fact, I am sure it applies to everyone.

Ritwick, you are an artist, acting is your passion…what else are you passionate about?

Oh, I am very passionate about books. I love to read books, I even read during the short breaks in between shoots. The two other things that I am very fond of are sleep and adda.

You are associated with cinema and acting from a very young age. Is there any character, a movie character that has influenced you a lot? Is there a dream role?

Oh, the list is pretty long. Every time I saw a memorable performance I wished I could do it sometimes. A character that is my favorite would be definitely that of Kali Banerjee in Ritwik Ghatak’s film Ajantrik. This is my dream role. There is another character, from the theater of course that has influenced me much and it is ‘Jagannath.’ I had watched Jagannath when I was a child, I didn’t quite understand it well even though I quite enjoyed the performance. Later on, when I grew up and watched it multiple times, I realized what a classic piece it was.

Currently in Bengali cinema we are watching different types of films. Do you think, the audiences are enjoying these unconventional films or they would prefer the stereotypical films?

Well, stereotypical films were there earlier. Now the unconventional ones are gaining popularity more so because the audience wants to see these kinds of films. Now it is not only the director who decides what film to make, it is also the audience who demands what they want to see. And these films are doing very well. It is also a fact that stereotypical films have a set of committed audience and there is also a set of people who dislike that category of films. And I fall into that category. I know one thing for sure that even if I was not associated with the film industry, I would have never watched those kinds of films. Earlier, the audiences of unconventional films were not really recognized. Now at least, the industry has realized that there is a huge demand of this ‘urban’ cinema and hence lots of good films are being made. I am sure things will change and the demand will increase and films will be made in a more sophisticated manner.

Who is your favorite actor and actress and who is your favorite author?

Naseeruddin Shah and Smita Patil are my favorites and about books, it is difficult to say as the list, once again is pretty long. But I best like books written by Sandipan Bhattacharya. It is difficult to choose someone in particular among so many who are an integral part of the rich Bengali literature. I also quite like Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay and of course who can forget Satyajit Ray, his short stories and ‘Feluda’ series. 

What are you upcoming films in the year 2011? Who else is there in the cast?

A film that is shortly coming up is ‘Bakita Byktigoto’ (the rest is personal) directed by Pradipta Bhattacharya. It is almost ready. The film also has Aparajita, Madhabi Mukherjee, Monu Mukherjee, and Churni Ganguly. I have quite enjoyed doing this film and feel that it is very different kind of a film and the audience will appreciate it.

Want to ask you a personal question. You are a celebrity, hopefully you wouldn’t mind. You share your name with a top hero of the Hindi film industry, Hrithik Roshan. How do you feel about this name sharing thing?

(Laughs) well, you see, for the last 32 years I have been sharing this name with myself, so it really doesn’t matter. Earlier I used to be angry when I heard of someone with the same name as mine because I thought the uniqueness was lost. Even though it is not a very common name, I know a few people with the same name. And I quite like Hrithik Roshan but he is a totally different Ritwick…I never feel that we share our name…I like him like all other heroes and quite enjoy his performances.

Ritwick, thank you so much for being with us. We wish you all the best.

Thank you.