Dev and Sweta Bhattacharya open up about their film Projapati
Projapati, starring Dev, Mithun Chakraborty, Sweta Bhattacharya, Mamata Shankar and others, directed by Avijit Sen, releases today at the theatres.
Like last year, this Christmas too, director Avijit Sen and actor Dev have paired up for Projapati, a simple and easy-to-relate story of a father and son. The audience will witness the amazing chemistry between Mithun Chakraborty and Dev for the first time, playing middle-class father and son. The film will also see actress and danseuse Mamata Shankar sharing screen space with Mithun after 46 years since Mrigaya. Sweta Bhattacharya, a familiar face on television, too debuts in Tollywood with this film
playing Mala, opposite Dev. We had a chat with the lead pair, Dev and Sweta. Excerpts:
Congratulations to you Sweta. How was the shooting experience?
Sweta: Everything was so good.
Dev: Can she say anything bad about me? (laughs)
Sweta: No, seriously everything was so good, all memories to be cherished. Moreover, this is my first film and I got so many stalwarts to work with. I feel extremely honoured and Dev is an amazing human being and co-star to work with.
Dev: Working with Mithun was truly splendid. Not just on screen, but even off-screen, we gel very well. He adores me and is almost like my father. I can discuss anything under the sun with him. Projapati is such a film that everyone will relate to and the chemistry that I have with him has been very well utilised. When we cracked jokes or fought on camera, it sometimes continued even after the director had said ‘cut’... it was that real. We never felt that we were playing roles that the script demanded. Moreover, when you work with such brilliant and senior performers, you too grow as an actor.
From a hardcore, commercial romantic hero, to playing boy-next-door characters — how are you enjoying the change?
Dev: As an actor, I am trying to make sure that there are a variety of characters that I play. I will play
Baghajatin, the freedom fighter, next. I will get bored if I keep playing similar characters, but sometimes you also need to trust something that the audience is enjoying. I wanted to try my luck too to get away from being typecast. I am trying to keep a variety, so that people trying to make a film would at least say, “Oh, Dev can be moulded easily into characters, let’s try him out for this role. He may have shortcomings, but he’s hard-working and convincing.” We may not realise it today, but 10 years down the line I am sure, people won’t just consider me as Khokababu but also relate to me as Baghajatin or
When you look back, are there any regrets?
Dev: I feel lucky that even after having so many shortcomings, I am still there in the industry doing pretty well and have been showered with so much love and respect and very few people have been able to reach here. I will try to hold on to it, so that even years later people remember me for the person I was and am.
Sweta, your mega serial just released and your debut film is releasing today. Which one is your priority now?
It’s very difficult to choose between the two. While a new production is always very dear, a debut film
remains special forever. And when you get a chance to share the screen with such respectable artistes, you just consider yourself blessed.
Dev, you’re an actor, producer, politician and a judge on a reality show. How do you juggle these different roles?
There’s only one mantra, you have to be a good human being. I do not think about personal gains, but rather concentrate on the responsibility that I have. While judging the reality show I keep thinking that
no kid’s career should be ruined for a single decision of mine and that the deserving candidate should
win. As an actor, I try not to repeat myself and as a politician, I try to keep myself available for the
people in my constituency. I should be there whenever they need some assistance. And finally, as a pro-
ducer, I try to bring movies based on varied subjects to the audiences. I cater to every role differently.
How has the Tollywood industry evolved over the last 10-15 years?
Dev: Cinema is an ever-changing medium and it depends upon what the audience wants to see. While
there was a craze around masala movies a few years ago, the taste has changed now, and I am sure, it
will change again in a few years. And we have to go with the flow...grow and change according to the
demands of the audience. Only those who can adapt will survive.
If we compare Bengali movies with other regional movies, do you feel it lacks somewhere?
Dev: I think there’s still a lack of great stories, or you know... something revolutionary. If someone comes up with stories like Pushpa or Kantara, we are always there to push and support it... be it Jeet, Ankush, Abir, Ankush or I. But we indeed need a path-breaking story.