Actor Ushasi Ray on life after the web series Chhotolok

The bubbly and talented actor believes Chhotolok will be one of her performances for which people will remember her
Ushasi Ray
Ushasi Ray

She is bubbly, beautiful and everything in between. But given a chance actress Ushasi Ray can be all that and more. The actress -- who shot to fame with the lead act in television serial Bokul Kotha and left her mark in series like Sundarbaner Vidyasagar and Kumudini Bhaban-- has pleasantly shocked the audiences with a stellar performance as Rupsha in the superhit web series Chhotolok. Coy, demure, intriguing, and uttering profanities effortlessly, Ushasi played the role of an aspiring smalltown girl to perfection. Perhaps the most challenging performance in her career so far, Chhotolok, can be a gamechanger for this bundle of talent and we speak with her about the road ahead in 2024.

How challenging was Rupsha as a role for you?

It’s a milestone in my career and I didn’t expect such reactions. Initially I was reluctant because the character was much bolder and there were many bold scenes. It terrified me as I never explored such a role before and I rejected the offer. Then Daminee Benny Basu, who prepared us for the roles, convinced me that I should experiment and I went to my parents for approval, who had no problem with it. I never expected such a public reaction with friends and family appreciating my work rather than judging me for my bold work.

Through the entire process of script reading, workshop, look set, shooting and dubbing I realised this was a lifetime experience and if I hadn’t done this, I would have missed something great.

<em>Ushasi Ray</em>
Ushasi Ray

How did you prepare for the role?

Daminee made me understand and internalise the character as did filmmaker Indranil. Rupsha is absolutely opposite to what I am in real life. I have been brought up by loving parents in a secure environment. Rupsha hails from a small town and is struggling in Kolkata.

I had to get into her thought process, perception of the society and workshop with Daminee along with whatever little experience I had of seeing such people around me, helped in forming Rupsha.

How has the struggle been as an actor?

It’s always there and will be there till I hang my boots. I feel, in an actor’s oeuvre all work can’t be equally good. We put all our dedication and passion into building a character but not all work with the audience. There will always be those one or two stellar performances for which you will be remembered forever. People still remember me for Bokul Kotha but that doesn’t mean that I performed badly in the other two serials. I take up new roles and will keep on doing that and Chhotolok is a part of that process.

<em>Ushasi Ray</em>
Ushasi Ray

You will be playing Kusum in the web series Adarsha Hindu Hotel based on the eponymous book by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. Tell us about that.

Yes, filmmaker Arindam Sil selected me as Kusum. I got introduced to him at a formal meeting and he's not the one to give you work instantly. He studies a person’s depth and how they can enact things. Once he asked me to recite Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Tetrish Bochor and I think because I did that well then, I got this role now.

I have read the book, and as a student of history, I have always been interested in people from those times and the social upheavals, condition of women and how society used to see them. So, I am looking forward to playing Kusum.

<em>Ushasi Ray</em>
Ushasi Ray

How do you develop yourself as an actor and what kind of roles interests you?

I recently watched Napoleon and Oppenheimer. Any good work inspires me profusely -- it can be a song, theatre, or a book, it can be anything actually.

My acting process is a mix of preparation and spontaneity, it’s a journey that I discover every day.

I look out for impactful roles. More than the role’s length, it’s the contribution that the character has in the advancement of the story that matters to me.

I would love to do a romantic comedy.


 Your upcoming projects?

Web series Petni recently released on Addatimes and

too will release on Hoichoi.

Your coping mechanisms during low phases?

I try to divert my mind by taking care of myself. When I feel low, I go to a parlour for a hair spa or run or cook. I don’t watch something dark -- it pulls me down further. At times, I also do some retail therapy or call a friend from outside the industry for a refreshing chat.

Your 2024 goals?

I have to be more cool-headed, calm, and think less. I am an overthinker.

CREDITS: Pictures: Debarshi Sarkar / Hair and makeup: Abhijit Paul / Styling: Poulami Gupta / Outfits: Verb by Pallavi Singhee / Jewellery: Adros Creations / Location: Drunken Teddy

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