Filmmaker Raj Chakraborty and actor Subhashree get candid about their film, Parineeta
Filmmaker Raj Chakraborty and his actor wife Subhashree Ganguly are as entertaining in real life as their films are. Bubbly, effervescent and much-in-love, the couple is honest in their replies and have strong reservations against such categorisation of cinema into mainstream commercial and urban content-driven films. The director’s latest film Parineeta, that’s ready for release on September 6, will be Subhashree’s first release post-marriage. “But I have objections to such phrases as ‘first release post-marriage’. Such things are never said about men,” wonders the beautiful actor in a yellow and blue checked shirt and a pair of ankle-length blue denim, looking fresh in her new short hairstyle. “Parineeta is a very different kind of love story that all of us will be able to relate to,” says Raj. We caught up with the fun-loving couple on a busy weekday afternoon at their office for a quick chat on the movie and more. Excerpts:
What was it like working with Raj in Parineeta?
Subhashree Ganguly: It’s always good.
Raj Chakraborty: When it comes to working, it’s not the wife that I am casting, it’s the actor Subhashree that I am thinking of and she is brilliant.
SG: It was a huge opportunity for me to showcase my acting skills and while doing it the entire experience was amazing. It has been a great learning process.
Was she the first choice for Parineeta?
RC: In fact, she chose me to direct it. Her sister discovered this beautiful story in Atma Prakash, a storytelling platform on a social media site. In fact, the name Parineeta has also been given by its authors Priyanka and Arnad, who later developed it further. I loved the story and together with Padmanabha, we turned it into a beautiful script. So, Subhashree’s contribution is much bigger than mine in this case.
We are seeing that commercial movies are now casting many serious actors in the main role rather than stars. In Parineeta too, Ritwick is in the lead...
RC: It’s not the first time that I am casting Ritwick in my films, I had cast him nine years ago in Le Chakka, too.
But Dev was in the lead in that film...
RC: Doesn’t matter. And I don’t think we have any division like commercial and content-driven cinema. What’s the difference, you tell me? It’s mainly created by the media. How many people know that most urban directors make a beeline to sign up Dev or Jeet in their films? See, what a director wants is a good story to make a film.
SG: Kabir Singh is one of the biggest hits this year, which genre would you put it in? Everything is commercial, all movies are made for business, isn’t it?
RC: The media create all these divisions. Who said a mainstream hero or a heroine can’t act? I would ask anyone to go and watch Parineeta and see what a mainstream heroine is capable of. Time and again we have seen mainstream actors being cast in urban cinema, be it Srijit Mukherji’s debut film, Autograph, or Atanu Ghosh’s Mayurakshi (Prosenjit Chatterjee acted in both) or Nusrat in Srijit’s Zulfikar and Mimi Chakraborty in Shiboporsad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy’s Posto.
Tell us about your role in Parineeta?
SG: It is absolutely different from my other films. Mehul’s character has many layers, at times she is a school-going girl, who is madly in love with the neighbourhood boy, Babai, from whom she takes tuition. It’s her journey of life that the film captures — how she transforms from a bubbly innocent girl to a woman. I didn’t want anyone to see the star Subhashree on screen. To that end, I ensured that my character was credible and did workshops with thespian Sohini Sengupta, apart from sitting through all the script sessions. In fact, I learnt the entire script by heart to get close to Mehul and I have no make-up on me in Parineeta.
RC: Every girl has a first crush when she grows up, be it her teacher, the neighbourhood guy or school mate and she tries to get his attention and tries to understand whether he too has the same feelings or not. There’s so much innocence there. Parineeta’s story is also about such a girl. And she loses Babai. What happens next is also the story. It’s a different kind of love story, urban cinema from a commercial director (laughs).
Subhashree, did you have any such crush in your teenage years?
SG: No, but many had a crush on me.
RC: I always looked forward to a crush during my school and college life but it never happened until I watched Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon Na.
And how was it working with Ritwick for the first time?
SG: He is a brilliant co-actor and very down-to-earth.
RC: I know Ritwick for a long time now, and as a person too he is a good man and that goodness comes through on the screen as well.
Any other movies that you are planning?
RC: We will start shooting for my new film Hey Gorbodharini starring Ritiwick and Subhashree again apart from Soham Chakraborty, Parno Mittra and Swatilekha Sengupta.