Interview | Actor SAYAN MUNSHI (EKTI TARAR KHONJE, Bong Connection, Jhankar Beats, My Brother Nikhil) talks to WBRi

Actor Sayan Munshi talks to Subhomay Mukherjee of Washington Bangla Radio in this wide-ranging intimate interview about his experience, career and films Jhankar Beats, My Brother Nikhil, Bong Connection and of course Ekti Tarar Khonje.

‘Ekti Tarar Khonje’ (English title Stars Never Sleep) is all about Abhi, the lead character played by Shayan Munshi, a young guy who comes to Kolkata from Chandernagore to make his dreams come true.

EKTI TARAR KHONJE Bengali Film PosterThe film is all about love, betrayal and crime. It is very difficult to categorize the film because though it is being termed as a crime thriller, yet it is not a crime thriller in true sense and it does have it’s share of drama and moments between Abhi and Rani. Abhi is someone who dreams of becoming a star, has stars in his eyes and so lands up in Kolkata to make his dreams come true. He stays at a rented place, has an eccentric landlord who stays indoors the entire day, plays the Esraj, knows his Shakespeare well and goes out at night. He is sin love with the landlord’s niece Rani. He gets trapped in the big bad world of crime unknowingly and from there, it is a point of no return. At the same time he also gets a role as a second lead in a Bengali film. This is where Shayan has acted well where he as Abhi is shown to be in a dilemma. He is at a crossroad and he just can not see a straight path. Therefore all he can do is to depend on his lady love There is a blast at the building from where the gang operates and Abhi’s boss dies along with other gang members. Abhi is at peace at last. What is important is the handling of the film. The suspense remains till the end and one has to see the film to know the real identity of Abhi’s boss.

Note: The audio quality of the interview is as incoming - the interview is transcribed and translated into English below for the benefit of our readers who may have difficulty with the audio quality.

WBRi: Good Evening Sayan, Welcome to “Subhor sathe Kichukshan adda” at Washington Bangla Radio. Sayan, you are from a family of renowned doctors. How did your family react to your decision to take up modeling and acting as a career ?

Sayan: My family, especially my father and mother, have always supported and encouraged me. I also get support from my sister who is still working in fashion and artistic field at New York.

WBRi: You were pretty good at sports, particularly Lawn Tennis and Swimming. Did you ever consider a career as a sports person?

Sayan: I always wanted to be a sportsman, I was sports crazy, but somehow I entered the modeling field and thereafter in film where I am getting the opportunity to work in good projects with good directors.

WBRi: When did you start your career in modeling ?

Sayan: I started my modeling career in Kolkata at the age of 15. I moved to Mumbai when I was 20 years old and in 1999, I started my career there as model. But for the last two years I am concentrating on cinema and have stopped modeling for last two years.

WBRi: Your debut feature film is Jhankar Beats (DVD Release) that released in 2003. Tell us about your experience in that project as one of the three male lead actors working with established popular actresses like Juhi Chawla.

Sayan: As I was a known figure in modeling and was keen on  acting  - and I was acting in Music videos - I got the opportunity. At that time I was busy in modeling too, so I stopped that to work in the film - I had a lot of fun working with that film, and then I returned to my modeling career in the international arena and worked in London for one year.

WBRi: Tell is about your film My Brother Nikhil (DVD) - a milestone in Indian cinema with a very sensitively portrayed story about a gay relationship?

Sayan: Onir, the director is a friend of Jhankar director Sujoy and the cast of My Brother included Juhi and Sanjay. Sanjay is a very good friend of mine. As I was good in swimming and my role in Jhankar was well appreciated, Onir and Sanjay approached me for the role.

WBRi: Since your character and the subject of the internationally acclaimed film My Brother Nikhil were bit different from the usual Bollywood flick - tell us about how the film effected you while you were working with it.

Sayan: At the time of working with the film I did not feel anything - I was with my friends, so everything was very friendly, it was only when watching the film later that it struck me at the emotional level.

WBRi: After My Brother Nikhil you were offered a role in the Bengali film BONG CONNECTION (buy DVD) by Anjan Dutta …

Sayan: After completing My Brother I took a short  break to spend some time with my family in Kolkata. Anjanda got that news and called me and showed me the script. The idea was so unique and interesting and the role was so good that I  agreed to do that film immediately.

WBRi: Bong Connection brought you popularity and recognition in Bengali cinema as well - but still you took four years to give your nod for another Bengali venture, Ekti Tarar Khoje - why?

Sayan: After Bong Connection I did a Hindi film Morning Walk and prior to that completed a few modeling assignments. Then I received offers for Ekti Tarar Khoje by Abhik Mukhopadhyay as well as Banshiwala by Anjan Das. Since both the films are by renowned people and stories are excellent, I came back to Bengali film Industry again.

WBRi: All your projects are off-beat and unusual in nature - urban cosmopolitan - and films by directors who like to work on something new with constructive story lines. Can we say that you are reluctant to work in stereotypical love stories and pretty selective in the roles that you choose to play ?

Sayan:Yes, I am choosy but I am open to work in all kinds of films - but the story should be interesting and meaningful and the role should suit me.

WBRi: Tell us about the role your wife Piya (who also acted in Bong Connection) plays in supporting and inspiring you ?

Sayan: Piya is not acting now and busy with her dance programs - she is the biggest support for me.

WBRi: Your upcoming projects ?

Sayan: In September, 2010 my next film Banshiwala by Anjan Das will be released for which I have done outdoor shooting at Bolpur and worked hard. Right now I am returning to Mumbai to work on a few pending projects there.

WBRi: Your words for aspiring youngsters who wish to take up acting and modeling as a career ?

Sayan: They should be hard working and focused and have tenacity to see challenges through. They should be ready to struggle and spend a lot of effort. Only then they can  become drivers of their own careers.

WBRi: What is your experience with “Ekti Tarar Khoje” which has released already all over India and the DVD will be released on 10th July, 2010 in North America (USA and Canada) ?

Sayan: Ekti Tara is from good producer and sensible director , it has a great story line, good music and excellent cast - so I expect huge success for the project. The entire shooting was great fun to me.

WBRi: How did you prepare for the challenging role of Abhishek in Ekti Tarar Khoje ?

Sayan: As the role was bit difficult to portray and different from the person I am in reality, I worked very hard, thought deeply about the character and attended workshops regularly.

WBRi: Please share your experience about working with Arpita Pal, a veteran , Prasenjit’s wife and Rituparno Ghosh’s heroine, coming back in Tollywood after eight years with “Ekti Tarar Khoje”

Sayan: Arpita is very caring, friendly, helpful and professional and we also became very good friends so it was my pleasure to work with her.

WBRi: All the best, thank you, Good night, See you again!

Sayan: Sure. Thank you. Good Night.