"It was Great to be in Rina-di's (Aparna Sen) Film" - Locket Chatterjee

By Shoma A. Chatterji

Actress Locket Chatterjee in Necklace (Bengali, 2011)
Actress Locket Chatterjee Trying Out the Necklace in Necklace (Bengali, 2011)

Editor's note: This interview with Bengali actress Locket Chatterjee was recorded by the author on July 20, 2011, nine days before Iti Mrinalini opened.

Calcutta, August 3, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Bengali actress Locket Chatterjee’s rise to challenging, significant roles in good films under renowned directors came a bit late in the day but she is happy. After two lead roles in Sekhar Das’ (interview) Necklace and Aniket Chatterjee’s (interview) Bye Bye Bangkok, she appears in a brief but important cameo in Aparna Sen’s (interview) Iti Mrinalini. Both Necklace and Iti Mrinalini are Databazaar acquisitions for distribution, telecast and exhibition in North America and Canada and Locket of course, is thrilled about the international exposure Bengali films did not earlier have access to.

Are you happy about your role in Necklace after a long time?

I would give the entire credit to my director Sekhar Das firstly for having picked me to do the lead character of the thief’s wife in Necklace and secondly for my performance coming out the way he did under his directorial command. I am a director’s actress and try to adhere precisely to what the director wants. An actor’s ability to showcase his or her talent is possible only when he/she gets the right platform to do it. Necklace gave me the right platform and that is it. Yes, I am very happy. I would have been happier had the film done well in the theaters but bad marketing spoiled it all.

What character have you portrayed in Iti Mrinalini?

I am Maithili, the wife of noted director Siddhartha Sarkar played by Rajat Kapoor of Mumbai. I play a contented housewife with two kids who likes basking in the glory of her husband’s fame. I learned a lot during my work in the film.

Iti Mrinalini - Trailer

But it is not a big role, is it?

It is not a big role but footage does not influence my choice of film. It was great just to be in Rina-di’s film (Aparna Sen) because she is a great director and I have never worked under her direction before. This film also made me discover how beautiful a human being she is in addition to being one of the best filmmakers in the country. She is a completely grounded person and her passion for film-making is evident wherever and whenever she works.

You have worked under diverse directors from Sudeshna Roy-Anindyo through Aniket Chatterjee to Sekhar Das, and now Aparna Sen? How has the experience been?

Very good because each director has his own approach, treatment and perceptions of film-making so every time I work under a different director, it becomes a learning experience for me.

What about mainstream films?

I love working in mainstream films under the famous Ashok Dhanuka and Shri Venkatesh banners too never mind how miniscule a role I might have in these films. The reason is that their films reach out into every corner of West Bengal to the rural and semi-urban audiences who get to know my name, my work and my films. This exposure is as important as the significant roles one does in off-mainstream films.

What criteria make you accept an assignment?

The character is of prime importance followed by the banner, the director and price comes last. I am not bothered about footage at all.

Name five of your favorite films till date.

Necklace, Chhoye Chhuti, Thyag, Janmadata and Bye Bye Bangkok.

Do you have a hidden wish of working under directors you have never worked with till now?

What a question to ask any actor or actress! Of course I want to act for Rituparno Ghosh, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Gautam Ghose and Anjan Dutt. For mainstream films, I generally bank on big banners because small banners do not have enough funds for marketing and promotion so even if the films are good, they are pulled out of theatres within a week. Right now I am looking forward to the release of Iti Mrinalini.

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