I felt like a child who was being prepared for a recitation competition: Susmita Sen

Susmita Sen debuts in Bengali film with Srijit Mukherjee’s Nirbaak. The elegant lady who entered Bollywood after being crowned Miss universe in 1994 is Bengali by birth but it took her over two decades to do a movie in her Mother language. But it is always better late than never. Susmita Sen spoke to Washington Bangla Radio correspondent. Jyoti Prakash Mandal during the press conference of Nirbaak which was recently held at Oberoi Grand Hotel in Kolkata. Excerpts:

                             Susmita Sen at Nirbaak press conference

WBRi: So at last you are going to have a Bengali film in your filmography…

Susmita:  Yes I am so happy that I have done a Bengali film at last which was a dream of my father. All credit goes to my director Srijit Mukherjee who kept at bay the factor which I feared about doing a Bengali move, i.e. the language. I am not too good at speaking Bengali. But in this film I have to speak absolutely nothing. (she laughs).

WBRi: You have dubbed yourself in this film. How was that experience?

Susmita: Yes I have dubbed myself in Bengali.I dubbed in a studio in Mumbai and Srijit sat beside me all through it making sure that I make no mistake. I was feeling like a child who was being prepared for a poetry recitation. Srijit had told me that every single word should be pronounced like a ‘khati Bengali’ (Native Bengali). I just did like that and I think I have not disappointed my director at the end of the day.

WBRi: How was the experience of working with cast and crew from this film Industry?

Susmita: It was a privilege to work with such a talented team. I was honoured to act with some of the finest actors in the trade like Anjan Dutta, Ritwick and Jishu.  They get into the skin of their characters so easily. They are like clay which is always ready to be moulded into any shape the director wish to.  It is a delight to watch these wonderful performers and a honour to work with them. Also the other crew members, the music department and the producers are very passionate about their part in this project. I loved working with them so much that I will again like to come back and work here.

WBRi: How you felt when you first read the script?

Susmita: When I read any script I put a question mark in those parts I fail to understand. In this case I put a question mark at the end of the script as I could not understand any part of it. But later when I was explained I realised that it is not about what is written in the script but it is what not written in it. Everyone told me that the man who is going to make the film matters. One has to silently trust Srijit Mukherjee even if you don’t understand the script.

WBRi: Tell something about your character in Nirbaak.

Susmita: Nirbaak is about four love stories which have one common character i.e. silence. Whenever we hear about a love story we imagine it is about a boy and a girl or in modern times a boy and a boy or a girl and a girl. But we cannot love imagine a love story between a tree and a woman, a bitch and her master, a man who is in love with himself and a man working at the morgue in love with a corpse. We humans can express love very easily by telling things like, “I love you” and all. But to be in a situation where you cannot express is painful. And love is not only a human experience. I am there in all the four stories as a link. But two of the stories have me as a major character. I play the girl in which the tree is in love with. I also play the corpse the morgue attendant is in love with.

WBRi: You have said before that it was your father’s biggest dream that you do a Bengali movie. How he reacted after you signed Nirbaak?

Susmita: He was ecstatic when he heard that I am going to do Nirbaak. He had seen all of Srijit’s movie before and when he heard this news he literally started jumping in joy.

WBRi: How is the way of working in Kolkata differs from Mumbai according to your perception?
Susmita: One thing is common between both the industries, that is everyone is very hardworking. But Bollywood is huge in respect of budget and sketching of schedule. I was asked for only 22 days in this film in spite of being the lead character. This is unthinkable in Mumbai. For this reason the scope of making mistake is very less here as the work has to be completed within a specific time. This makes the cast and crew here very perfect. But still this never stops Bengali films having some wonderful frames and careful execution.