Pillars of strength: The women-in-action behind the Tollywood celebrities

On International Women's Day, we speak to five women managers, who are the best in their job, handling celebrities. Let's meet them and see how they spill the beans about celebrities.
Happy Women's Day to these pillars of strength to the Tollywood celebrities
Happy Women's Day to these pillars of strength to the Tollywood celebrities

We love to see actors playing multifarious roles, both on and off the screens, and understand for sure the hard work that goes in. But what we often don't see or realise is the effort being given by several people who make sure that the actor looks good, dresses well, and of course, makes it to the news for all the right reasons. And those whom we often don't notice are the managers, standing like pillars of strength to these celebrities. On International Women's Day, we speak to five women managers, who are the best in their job, handling celebrities. Let's meet them and see how they spill the beans about celebrities.

Oindrila Sen, manages Prosenjit Chatterjee

How is Prosenjit as a boss?

Prosenjit Chatterjee is like an elder brother. I'm not saying this because he'll read it and I'll get a scolding, but seriously, once you work with him, it's very difficult to work with someone else. He is that comfortable to work with.

How time-consuming is handling a celeb? Do you find me time?

He's very flexible with the schedules and everything. Handling a celebrity means you have to be on your toes always. When there's work, you might have to go to the office at 5 am, but otherwise, you can even drop in in the evening. He doesn't mind. But yes, I can't plan an impromptu trip or so, but otherwise, I get time for myself.

What is Prosenjit Chatterjee scared of?

He is very scared of fire. We can't even light a lamp (diya) in front of him. Even on bhai phnota, we have to put off the lamp, before the rituals start.

Oindrila and Prosenjit
Oindrila and Prosenjit

Sharmistha Mukherjee, manages Rituparna Sengupta

What is the bond that you share with Rituparna?

We are born with some relationships, and then there are some relationships we form during our lives, and this is one such relationship that has nurtured my inner self to perfection. We share a special kind of love, admiration and respect for each other. Over the long 10 years that I have been working with her, and have been associated with her, we have developed a very precious and inexplicably close bond. It is not only a bond that I share with her but I have a very loving relationship with her family and friends too. We laugh, we cry, we celebrate, and most importantly deep within, each of us knows that we will stand strong by each other through trial and tribulation. She is a great friend, the best travel partner, the caring elder sister and of course, she is an amazing boss! There is so much to learn from her, to be compassionate, humble and to be dignified. What we share is a lot like poetry, rhythmic yet free! We are calm about each other's storms, and that is what makes this bond so special.

One habit of hers that you might want to change?

We all change with time, but she is one soul I have seen who has been able to keep her inner self unchanged for years! I don’t want her to change much because since the day we met for the first time, today, she has been a great influence in my life, and I have evolved as a person personally, professionally and emotionally through these years. I think she is just amazing the way she is.

What's Rituparna Sengupta's most ordered food?

We both love seafood a lot…the most ordered food item is Scallops. 

Rituparna with Sharmistha
Rituparna with Sharmistha

Debanjana Ghosh, manages Arpita Chatterjee

Your bonding with Arpita Chatterjee.

I consider her my mentor and she's like an elder sister to me. She's someone I look up to. There's so much to learn from her. She guides me throughout when we work together but at the same time she also scolds me like an elder sister but that's because she's a very caring person.

How time-consuming is celeb handling? Do you find time for yourself?

Well, as you know there's no fixed timing for the work we do. During shoots, I need to be on several calls throughout the day and while managing and coordinating everything sometimes it gets late but I have no complaints since I love working with her. But yes, everyone needs personal time which she understands and values. She is a person who always maintains a healthy work-life balance and extends the same with me too! So, to answer your question, yes I do get considerable time for myself! 

One gift that Arpita Chatterjee might want to get? 

She always tells me "chhoto ra kokhono boroder gift deyena" (younger ones shouldn't gift anything to their elders) and this shows how caring she is. She will gift or help others selflessly without expecting anything in return. But yes, as far as I know, her likes and dislikes, she would appreciate it if I gave her some good books as she likes to read or maybe a Caravan with a collection of Kishore Kumar/RD Burman songs!

Debanjana with Arpita
Debanjana with Arpita

Shristi Jain, manages Swastika Mukherjee

How easy or difficult is it to handle her?

The question of easy or difficult doesn’t arise with us. We’re a team. She has taught me whatever I know about the industry and its workings and I’m still learning. We both have each other’s back. 

She's always been very straightforward. Do you share vibes with her?

Absolutely. When I’d started working with her, she had once told me, “Don’t let anyone belittle you, misbehave with you or take you for a ride. If you think you’re doing the right thing, give them a piece of your mind without even asking me.” I’m someone who calls a spade a spade, but to hear this from someone who has given her blood and sweat to be where she is, is something else! Now, how often do we meet people like that at work?

What's Swastika's comfort food?

Like a typical bangali- bhaatdal and aloo sheddho.

Shristi and Swastika
Shristi and Swastika

Ankita Chakraborty, manages Jeet

What's the bond that you share with Jeet?

Will fall short of words while summing up this question but simply a teacher-student bond is what I share with him, he is the wisest man I have ever come across. He has taught me so much in life & work obviously. I always look up to him for any difficult situation in my life. 

The bond we share is the reason I enjoy going to work every day.

Does he have mood swings? How easy or difficult is it to handle him?

He doesn’t honestly, even if he does he knows well how to not let others be affected by it. It’s absolutely easy around him, sometimes difficult situations do arise but he is extremely calm and grounded at those times. I am the most hyperactive person during stressful times. So far it’s been a smooth sail. 

How finicky is he about his diet?

He isn't. He has aced his food habits actually, exemplarily well-versed with his diet. Over the years he has adapted so well that it’s set smoothly in his system now. Simply homemade food is what he takes day to day. He also tries to motivate me to follow a healthy diet. 

Jeet and Ankita
Jeet and Ankita

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