Interview: Actor Mainak Banerjee (It's Bashonto)

By J P Mandal, WBRINN (newsdesk.kolkata@washingtonbanglaradio.com)

Ritabhari Chakrabarty and Mainak Banerjee in IT'S BOSONTO
Ritabhari Chakrabarty and Mainak Banerjee in IT'S BOSHONTO (Bengali, 2016)

Kolkata, June 4 - Actor Mainak Banerjee, one of the versatile actors among the young brigade of Tollywood , has been working in film industry for nearly a decade. Though he started his career as a protagonist, his most talked about act came as an antagonist when he played the villain in Raj Chakraborty’s ‘Borbaad’. Mainak's new Bangla movie release It's Basanto hit the theaters on 3rd June. Recently the actor engaged in a candid chat with Washington Bangla Radio correspondent J.P. Mandal to talk about his role in It's Bashonto and more.

Related: WBRi Interview: ADITYA ROY BANERJEE - director, "IT’S BOSHONTO" (2016) Bengali Movie

WBRi: Please tell us about your role in It's Boshonto

Mainak: In It's Bosonto I am playing the role of the younger self of Paran Bandhopadhaya in the film. I will be seen as a college guy who falls in love with a girl named Kalyani played by Ritabhari Chakrabarti. Therefore the parts I and Ritabhari play in Its Basanto can be called a period part of the film.

WBRi:  In which time period is your character placed?

Mainak: Paran Bandhopadhaya plays an old man in his seventies. As I play a college goer, my character is placed around fifty years back from present day.

WBRi: How did you research about college going guys in that time era?

Mainak: My main reference points were films from that era which have college-going characters. In addition to that I got to see some old pictures which helped me to get into the skin of the character.

WBRi:  Paran Bandhopadhaya is such an iconic figure in Bengali film industry and known for his unique body language and mannerism. How challenging was it to step in to the shoes of his younger self?

Mainak:  Stepping into the shoes of Paran Bandhopadhaya was really a huge challenge. When I was first offered the role I refused it for this very reason. My role will be judged on the same scale as that of Paran Bandhopadhaya. Later Aditya convinced me to do the role but all the time I felt a bit nervous as I was portraying Paran Bandhopadhaya. Overcoming that intimidating thought and doing the role was a challenge itself.

WBRi: How much did Paran Bandhopadhaya himself help you get into the skin of his younger self?

Mainak: Yes, I talked to him and asked for suggestions. He told me to do the role just in the way I feel best. I had also asked him if he is keeping any particular mannerism which I should keep too. He said that he had no uncommon traits in his character and I can go with normal portrayal of the character.

WBRi:  How was the experience of working with debutant director Aditya Roy Banerjee?

Mainak: Aditya is completely new to the world of cinema. He actually comes from an engineering background. But still he has a lot of passion for cinema. What I liked most is his choice of subject. He has selected a different kind of story which is really admirable. It would be unfair to judge him technically in his debut. But what amazed me is the fact that he has not also assisted anyone before and still has a considerable sense of the technical aspects of movie making.

WBRi: What is your take on the title of the film ‘It's Basanto’ which a combination of a Bengali and a English term?

Mainak: I too had the same question about such title which is made of two words from two different languages. But later I was told that initially the film was titled ‘Abar Basanto’ but later they felt that ‘It's Basanto’ will be catchier to hear.

WBRi: Which moments of your life make you say, “It's basanto”?

Mainak: Of course the season Basanto (Spring). Apart from that I feel like that whenever I am in love. Whenever you are in love you will feel that its spring time.

WBRi: What is going to be the USP of this film?

Mainak: The USP of the movie is Paran Bandhopadhaya and only Paran Bandhopadhaya. It is hard to believe that someone of his age can be the hero of a film. Apart from him I must mention that every other actor has given their best and the story is also very unique which makes the film a good watch.

WBRi: Share some memorable moments during the shoot.

Mainak: I had just a few days of shoot which did not really given me extraordinary moments. But one thing I must share is that I got very nostalgic when I reached the shooting spot. It was the same spot where I went to shoot my first ever short film around a decade back. It was so wonderful to be there again.

WBRi: What do you look for in as script before saying yes to it?

Mainak: When I read a script I try to find out what impact my character is going to have in the script. If I find that my character has a considerable impact I go ahead with it.

WBRi: You have done a lot of roles over the years and have tried to be different in every one of them. Are you afraid of getting type-casted?

Mainak: Yes, in Bengali film industry actors often get type-casted which doesn’t happen in Mumbai. After I did a negative role in Borbaad, I was being offered  negative roles only. This never happens in Bollywood. Even biggest actors like Amitabh Bachchan , Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn have done negative roles and went back to positive roles. People in Tollywood should learn from that.

WBRi: Apart from It's Basanto what are in pipeline for you?

I am doing Nilanjana which is being directed by Orko Sinha. I play an obsessed lover in it. This role is also very challenging. Apart from that I am doing the lead role in Raj Mukherjee’s next titled ‘Phaans’. I will be seen as a Police officer in it.