INTERVIEW| 'I am a self-critic': Rocket Boys 2 actor Dibyendu Bhattacharya 

The actor opens up about being an ardent self-critic, how theatre is an inward journey, being a globe-trotter and more.
Dibyendu Bhattacharya
Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Actor Dibyendu Bhattacharya, known for his notable performances in Hindi and Bengali cinema, is always in search of engaging roles. Starting his career with Mira Nair’s BAFTA nominee film Monsoon Wedding in 2001, he has since then appeared in acclaimed movies like Black Friday, Ab Tak Chappan, Maqbool, Lootera, Dev.D and a series like Criminal Justice. This time, he reprises the role of a fictional scientist named Raza Mehdi in the superhit series Rocket Boys 2. It is based on two extraordinary men, Dr Homi J. Bhabha and Dr Vikram Sarabhai, who played a vital role in the scientific development of India during the formative years of Independent India. The story is set against the backdrop of three pivotal decades (1940-60s) in India’s history, depicting the country’s jour ney towards becoming a strong and autonomous state. Dibyendu delivers an exceptional performance as a scientist who challenges his nation’s emerging space program and thus appears as a grey character. We speak to the celebrated actor on his character, coping with “zero confidence” at times and why being disoriented allows him room to explore.

Dibyendu Bhattacharya
Dibyendu Bhattacharya

How did you prepare for Raza Mehdi’s role given it is fictional, unlike other biographical characters?
The role was shaped by my director’s guidance and my imagination. There are pros and cons involved while playing such a character as the lack of any reference material gives an actor room to explore and experiment but without any reference material, it becomes more challenging. One has to build it from the scratch.

How has theatre proved to be an inward journey for you? Any suggestions for grooming actors?
For me, theatre is the mother of acting. I have learnt the intricacies of art from theatre. While performing theatre, I was introduced to artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin and I learnt how art and literature open the door of imagination. When it comes to techniques for budding actors, they can focus more on emotions. Acting is an intimate art form; each actor has his own process that gets refined eventually. You’ve mostly been featured in critically acclaimed shows and movies.

Do you see lines between art house cinema and mainstream cinema blurring now?
Earlier, all films were content-driven. With time, some films focused more on the commercialisation aspect while some stood rooted in content, thus creating the distinction between art houses and mainstream cinema. However, with the evolution of consumption patterns during lockdown and post-lockdown, audiences have got inclined towards more meaningful content. The line has definitely blurred but I feel it’s just a phase.

With the cast of Rocket Boys
With the cast of Rocket Boys

You travel a lot — any place that moved you from within as an individual and an artiste?
I enjoy going outdoors; I prefer driving to places even though they are accessible via flights. I tell people that I can take a chair and cherish nature in the most inaccessible places during outdoor shoots (smiles). Interacting with people from different cultures and understanding the gastronomy of the place excites me. I want to be a globetrotter! While there are many places that inspire me, one place that left me awe-inspired was Turkey. I was astonished by the country’s heritage and its beautiful mosaic art! I am currently shooting at Shantiniketan in Bengal and that place also mesmerises me for its sensorial experience!

Are you critical of your work?
I am an ardent self-critic (smiles). Frankly, my confidence level is zero whenever I go on a set! I let the confidence build in by being consciously relaxed. I feel being self-critical is essential for an actor because when an actor feels disoriented and analyses his work, it allows him to weave ideas into an organic thought. We hear that you cook well… do you have an alternative career in the culinary space in mind? I would have loved to be a chef, maybe (laughs). But honestly, I’ve never thought of becoming something else even in my wildest dreams. Since childhood, I used to play small characters in plays, and after taking up theatre, everything just fell into place naturally!

What are your future projects?
I am currently working on many intriguing projects. One of them stars Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra in the lead. But I have to stay mum on more details.

Rocket Boys 2 is streaming on SonyLIV.
Twitter: @RanaPriyamvada

Related Stories

No stories found.