Srijit Mukherji on his cameo in Chaplin (Bengali, 2011) - Interview

By Shoma A Chatterji

Editor's Note: The award-winning writer chats up Srijit about his acting role in Chaplin. Also do not miss Srijit Mukherji's audio interview with us about his 2nd directorial venture Baishe Srabon that you can listen to online in this interview-feature. We also spoke to Srijit last year when his landmark Autograph was in post-production - listen to that interview-feature here.

Srijit MukherjiKolkata, Aug 17, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Databazaar Media) Srijit Mukherjee is the hot-shot director who achieved overnight fame with his directorial debut Autograph acquired by Databazaar Media Ventures for screening, streaming and distribution across North America and Canada. Few however, are aware that he has a background in theatre. He began his foray as a stage actor. Recently, he made a brief appearance in Iti Mrinalini, also a Databazaar Media Ventures acquisition and will soon be seen in another acting role in Chaplin, supported by Databazaar for screening, telecasting and streaming in N.A. and Canada.

Let us hear about your background in theatre.

I was actively involved with the English professional theatre circuit in Bangalore. Prominent plays I acted in are Madness adapted from Paulo Coelho's Veronica Decides To Die, Manoj Mitra's The Orchard of Banchharam, Badal Sircar's The Other Side of History, Sunil Ganguly's Pratidwandi – The Adversary and Lucknow 76. I wrote and directed Mindgame, an Indian adaptation of Reginald Rose's Twelve Angry Men, at the Alliance Francaise De Bangalore in 2006. In April 2008, I wrote, directed and acted in Feluda Pherot! at Rangashankara It was a runaway success. It was the first ever non-canonical, dramatization of Satyajit Ray’s sleuth Feluda. Barun Chanda, Ray’s leading man in Seemabodhho, and Parambrata Chatterjee acted in this production.

When did you come into films?

Around 2008, I shifted base to Kolkata, wrote, directed and acted in Checkmate, an English play and a non-canonical account of Byomkesh Bakshi’s last case. I was an assistant director, lyricist and actor in Anjan Dutt's Madly Bengali in 2009. In 2010, I got my big break with Autograph. My background in films is quite negligible.

What is your own reaction to your performance in Iti Mrinalini?

It is contrary to what I had felt it would be when Rina-di asked me to step in as Mrinalini’s brother settled in the US and adopts her daughter Sohini. But as shooting progressed I felt the character was not quite ‘there’ if you know what I mean. I am not happy about my character in the film. I think performance wise too, I am not good in the film.

What role are you playing in Anindo Banerjee’s forthcoming film Chaplin?

The character is an interesting cameo. I play Indra, the producer-director of a television channel who is instrumental in trying to bring about a change in the marginalized life of Bangshi Dutta who earns his livelihood with his Chaplin enactment. I enjoyed it thoroughly because it is a gray character within the spectrum of colours that defines human nature in reality. Indra is instrumental in taking Bangshi to the place he deserves by virtue of his talent. In the film, I am engaged to Rina played by Rachita Chauhan.

How was it sharing screen space with Rudranil who plays the title role of Chaplin?

I shared only a few scenes with him. But even within that limited time and space, I could feel the raw energy in Rudra as an actor. He is one of the best actors in the country today and Chaplin will take him to the level he truly belongs to. The character I play or Rachita plays are like props for the main character, the garnishing on the main plate that is Chaplin. The chemistry between Rudra and Soham who plays his son Nimua is brilliant.

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