Actor Abir Chatterjee on his twin Puja releases, Monojder Odbhut Bari and Byomkesh Gotro
Actor Abir Chatterjee on his upcoming films Monojder Odbhut Bari and Byomkesh Gortro, favourite director and more
Interviewing Abir Chatterjee, the ‘good boy’ of Tollywood is not always an easy task. Not a man to waste words, he keeps a placid face throughout the interaction, making it all the more difficult for the reporter to guess what he is actually thinking.
A devoted husband and a doting father, Chatterjee, who has a great female following, is the only actor to have reprised the roles of Bengal’s two most famous sleuths, Feluda and Byomkesh Bakshi. Chatterjee is on a roll this year – all his four movies that have released so far are garnering praises from critics and fans.
Besides, this year is going to see the release of three more films of his, Monojder Odbhut Bari, a favourite work of fiction of numerous Bengalis, and Byomkesh Gotro, both having Puja release, followed by Srijit Mukherji’s Shah Jahan Regencyaround Christmas.
Looking dapper in a black full-sleeve tee, the soft spoken man sits down for a short interview. Excerpts:
Your latest film Flat No 609 is getting good reviews. This is your second horror act, right?
I am really happy that the audience and critics alike have appreciated the film. Last year I did Birsa Dasgupta’s Shob Bhuturey, an out and out horror flick, which was equally appreciated. But Flat No 609 is a bit different. It’s a mix of horror and thriller, and there is an element of suspense that builds up the eeriness in the movie. The twist in the second half is something that has caught the audience unawares, and it’s a commendable job on part of the team to have successfully kept the twist under wraps till the film’s release. Even film reviewers have chosen not to disclose much, which is also dragging the audience to the movie halls.
This year has seen a lot of Abir Chatterjee on screen. You must be very happy?
Of course, it feels great when you have so many films releasing in the same year and making the right noise. The year started on a good note with Ami Joy Chatterjee, followed by Guptadhaner Sandhane in April that did good business in the Box Office. Debaloy Bhattacharya’s Bidaay Byomkesh was a hit and Flat No 609 is running successfully. And now, I am gearing up for Byomkesh Gotro and Monojder Odhbut Bari, which are slated for a Puja release.
You have omitted Srijit Mukherji’s Shah Jahan Regency that will hit the screen in December.
Oh yes. We just finished shooting the movie. It’s great to be a part of an adaptation of such a popular novel. I don’t want to disclose much about my role or the film at this moment, but all I can say is that it will be a very different take, much different from the cult film Chowringhee, based on the same novel.
Tell us about Monojder Odhbhut Bari. It seems you play the lost prince?
I have a very small role but it is going to be the surprise package of the film, hence I am not going to elaborate any further. I was happy that the film’s director Anindya Chatterjee thought of casting me.
I had read the story long back, during my school days. It’s an iconic book and one of the best cult stories ever written in Bengali. Anindya has managed to successfully recreate the nostalgia and the magic realism of the book, and I am pretty sure that today’s generation would love to go back to a lost era and feel good about it.
But I would like the audience to first watch Byomkesh Gotro and then go for Monojder Odbhut Bari with their family (laughs).
Why such partiality?
No it’s not that, actually Byomkesh films are very close to my heart and this will be the first time that Byomkesh will have a Puja release. So, stakes are higher and I am a bit superstitious.
You have played Byomkesh in both Anjan Dutt's and Arindam Sil’s movies. Who, according to you, is better as a director of Byomkesh movies?
I think Arindam Sil’s movies on Byomkesh are more cinematic, more between the lines and have an underlined chemistry. He portrays the politics of the time more pertinently and is more detailed in work.
But I will be always indebted to Anjan Dutt for finding the Byomkesh in me. He offered the role when I was only one movie old. The kind of conviction and faith he reposed in a rookie was incredible.
You are back working with Srijit Mukherji after a long gap. How was it shooting for Shah Jahan Regency?
We had openly fought on many an occasion but all that has been over good work. It was absolutely fantastic working in Shah Jahan Regency. Srijit was completely in his elements, and it is also his first film as a producer. I feel the kind of movies he is doing now is what the audience expects from him as a filmmaker.
What are the other movies you are working in?
Well, I am reading a few interesting scripts. I have also worked in Manoj Michigan’s Tritiya Odhyay. It’s a matured love story, where Paoli Dam plays my love interest.