"I will direct another film this year" Arjun Chakraborty talks about Bengali movies STREET LIGHT, ALBUM, his past & future work

By Bidisha

Click on Play to listen to Arjun Chakraborty via WBRi On-Demand Audio Service

[ARJUN CHAKRABORTY]Michigan, USA, March 4, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) For over 25 years Arjun Chakraborty has been a bright star in the skies of Cinema (both Hindi & Bengali), Rabindrasangeet, theater and direction.  He has worked with quite a few renowned and respected film makers in the industry, K Balachander, Mrinal Sen and Tapan Sinha just to name a few  and today he is also a known name in the world of Rabindrasangeet. Arjun-da talks to Bidisha on WBRi and shares some of his experiences and his thoughts on his forthcoming Bengali movies STREET LIGHT and ALBUM with our listeners and readers.

About his childhood /teenage days and entry into films:

"I was born in a remote village of Rajasthan; my father was a doctor who was keen on social service and had moved to this part of the country to serve the people and his country. I grew up with nature, amid fields, sands, horse and camel rides. Kites and water from the wells was a part of life….it was a very different kind of childhood from all other Bengali boys of my age. When I was ready for college, I wanted to study science and took admission in Maharana Bhopal College of Udaipur. The projection room of the college was a big draw for all the students where films were screened. When a few 18 year olds met, the debate on films would reach its height. A friend had challenged me to make a film myself and then prove my arguments. That’s how the idea of venturing into films came to my mind. I did not wait for my B.Sc results and left for Mumbai. On the way to Mumbai, I came across a film glossy called ‘Madhuri’ and was reading an article about the famous Gulzar. Interestingly, his address was mentioned at the end of the article. I straight went to his house and he promised to meet me the next day, only for five minutes. The next day, when I met Gulzar, I clarified to him that I wanted to assist him in making a film and did not want to act in it. We spoke for two and half hours and he appointed me as his third assistant and paid me a salary of eight months…why? That’s because, the post of this 3rd assistant was empty for eight months and he felt that if he paid me the money I could establish myself.  I assisted him for four and half years and then he referred me to do a small role in a film Angoor (Sanjeev Kumar/Deven Verma/Moushumi Chatterjee). From there I got an offer to play a parallel role with Kamal Hasan in K. Balachander’s Zara si Zindagi. Gulzar was scripting this film. I later acted in Gulzar’s Libaas and later bagged the role in N. Chandra’s Ankush. N. Chandra, at one point of time was an assistant to Gulzar. That’s how I came into films."

About the song ‘Itni shakti hume de na data

"A very inspiring song that always mesmerized everyone around; even when the song was being penned, we used to listen to it, absolutely awestruck. This song is now sung in about 22 schools in UP and Bihar during the school assembly."

His working experience with famous directors:

"The experience has been fabulous. Their sharing of knowledge and the way they know to get 95% from an actor by just being polite and affectionate really makes all the difference."

His Bengali film ‘Kori diye kinlam’ and the character of ‘Shona.’:

"I really enjoyed playing the role of Shona. In fact, quite recently, a lady approached me in the studio and asked why sons are so attached to their mothers. I was a bit shocked at this question but I was immensely happy about the fact that my role had created so much impact on her."

The new generation of actors and actresses:

"Generation gap will always be there through ages, but I respect this generation of actors and actresses. They are all good and they are full of ideas. You can actually judge your age by the amount of impact a new idea can make on your mind. In that sense, I consider myself to be a teenager only by the ideas that I get from today’s generation."

Convincing himself to play a negative role in Antardhan:

"Noted film director Tapan Sinha called me one day and asked me to visit him. When I reached his place, instead of exchanging the usual pleasantries he told me about one of his paternal uncle who was a very learned man and exceptionally good looking. But when he died, there wasn’t anyone to carry him on their shoulders; reason, he was very cruel man. I was surprised to hear this tale and later on he called me inside his house and offered me tea and showed me the script. So, I guess I was already into the character."

His recent film, Street Light:

"Street light happened when I was totally into music. The role is a short one, that of a doctor, who is trying to guide a person moving towards death. Even though he knows that his guidance would not be of any help, he continues with it. There is one song in the film, picturised on me and the playback is also by me."

Reality show on TV:

"It’s a rat race where the rats are losing out to us. Not sure how much impact these are creating on the minds of people, but definitely there is always an urge to do something big and better and outshine the others."

About his own directorial debut, Tollylights:

"It was based on Suchitra Bhattacharyya’s story ‘Rongeen Prithibi.’ It deals about the glamour factor associated with the world of page 3 and how even middle class people get dragged into this. The story is about a woman who gets entry into this world but her family cannot handle the bags and baggages that usually accompany this kind of statuses. Mithun Chakraborty and Sunny Deol are also in this film."

His favorite character in films:

"The role I played in the film ‘Cinemaye jemon Hoye.’ I had modeled my character on a very well known journalist and I studied him for long to perfect his style of walking and talking, just to make the role more meaningful."

Next music album and upcoming films:

"... will be released on 15th April, 2011, Bengali New Year (Poyla Boisakh) on Rabindrasangeet. 2011 will see Street Light, another film called ‘Album’. One more film that has not yet been named and of course, I will be in the film that I will direct this year."

The following films featuring Arjun Chakraborty are available in USA on DVD - click here to order >

Aamar Sathi  (1991) - Director: Salil Dutta; Costarring Satabdi Roy
Aghatan Ajo Ghate  (1989) - Director: Amal Mitra; ; Costarring Indrani Dutta
Ankush  (1986) - Director: N Chandra; ; Costarring Nana Patekar, Rabia Amin
Antardhan  (1992) - Director: Tapan Sinha; ; Costarring Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhabi Mukherjee
Arjun  (1993) - Director: Dilip Singha; ; Costarring Satabdi Roy
Atmaja  (1996) - Director: Madhabi Mukherjee; Costarring Indrani Haldar
Cinemay Jemon Hoy  (1994) - Director: Mrinmoy Chakraborty; Costarring Sabyasachi Chakrabarty
Dharma Yudha  (1992) - Director: Samit Bhanja; Costarring Tapas Pal
Dushar Goduli  (1994) - Director: Bimal Roy; Costarring Prasenjit Chatterjee, Koyal
Ek Je Ache Kanya  (2000) - Director: Subrata Sen; Costarring Konkona Sen, Debashree Roy
Kori Diye Kinlam  (1989) - Director: Biresh Chatterjee; Costarring Aparna Sen, Tapas Pal
Krantikaal  (2005) - Director: Sekhar Das; Costarring Shilajit Majumdar, Rupa Ganguly
Lal Pahari  (1992) - Director: Jahar Biswas; Costarring Tapas Pal, Moon Moon Sen
Premi  (1993) - Director: Bikash Chakraborty; Costarring Satabdi Roy
Prem Preeti Bhalobasha  (2000) - Director: Chittaranjan Das; Costarring Abhishek Chatterjee, Rituparna Sengupta
Pronomi Tomaya  (1989) - Director: Prabhat Roy; Costarring Prasenjit Chatterjee
Raktelekha  (1992) - Director: Ram Mukherjee; Costarring Prasenjit Chatterjee, Chiranjeet
Sei To Abar Kache Ele  (1999) - Director: Jayanta Bhattacharya; Costarring Prasenjit Chatterjee, Varsha Usgaonkar
Sesh Ashroy  (2001) - Director: Ajit Ganguly; Costarring Indrani Haldar
Siraj  (1999) - Director: Ranen Modak; Costarring Rituparna Sengupta
Swapno Niye  (1999) - Director: Bishnu Pal Chowdhury; Costarring Indrani Dutta, Sanjib Dasgupta
Thikana  (1991) - Director: Indar Sen; Costarring Debashree Roy, Dipankar Dey
Tok Jhal Misti  (2002) - Director: Basu Chatterjee; Costarring Firdaus, Priyanka Trivedi
Tollylights  (2008) - Director: Arjun Chakraborty; Costarring Sreelekha Mitra, Abhishek Chatterjee
Tridhara  (1996) - Director: Prashant Nanda; Costarring Chiranjeet, Satabdi Roy
Wheel Chair  (1994) - Director: Tapan Sinha; Costarring Soumitra Chatterjee, Laboni Sarkar
Zehad  (2003) - Director: Bikash Banerjee; Costarring Nayana Das

Interview Host and Article: Bidisha, WBRi, Michigan, USA
Guest: Arjun Chakraborty, Kolkata
Recording / Editing: Supratim Sanyal, WBRi, Washington DC, USA