Interview: Tolly superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee on Robibaar and his plans for 2020
The real challenge for Prosenjit Chatterjee, who has been reigning over Tollywood for 34 years now, is to find a role that would challenge his acting prowess, or a movie with a unique storyline. From being the ruling star of Bengali celluloid, who would bash up the villains and dance with the heroines, Chatterjee has come a long way as an actor, and intends to mould his acting skills further.
“Getting challenging roles is what gives me a kick now. There’s so much dearth of mature content nowadays. Unlike Hollywood, sadly, there are no mature love stories made here. If I have to do a romantic film, it has to be different, it has to be mature,” says the actor. His upcoming film, Robibaar, does appear to have all the ingredients of a mature love story.
Slated for a December 27 release, the film, directed by National Award-winning filmmaker Atanu Ghosh, stars Prosenjit and Bangladeshi actor Jaya Ahsan and traces the relationship of Ashimava and Sayani, who meet after a gap of over 15 years. The actor sat down for a chat with Indulge on Robibaar, his other upcoming films, son Mishuk and more, on a chilly afternoon. Excerpts from the interview:
2019 went pretty well for you. First, Jyesthoputra, then Gumnaami and now, Robibaar...
Yes, it was a good year. Gumnaami was very important for me since I was playing Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, which wasn’t easy at all. I was extremely apprehensive about how people will accept me as Netaji, since he is very close to every Bengali’s heart. I felt relieved as an actor when it became a hit.
Personally, how has 2019 been?
It was equally good. My son Mishuk (Trishanjit) is a passionate soccer player. I always wanted to send him abroad, so that he could concentrate on playing besides studies. Finally, we have sent him to a school in the UK, which was a very big decision for me and Arpita.
Tell us about Robibaar, your second outing with filmmaker Atanu Ghosh?
After Mayurakshi, this is another very important film for me. His films are always something different, sensible and offbeat. He deals with moments, and has his own way of narration. He is a rare director who hasn’t succumbed to demands of the market, and yet manages to make films that become popular. The way he has written Robibaar, Indian cinema hasn’t seen characters of this dimension before. To a great extent, his style is similar to that of the late Rituparno Ghosh — very cerebral and sensitive.
Tell us about your character?
I play Ashimava, who is extremely crude, and ruthless, but he is a magician. He is not a bad man, but he is a bohemian who believes in his own ideology. On the other hand, Sayoni (played by Jaya) is highly qualified and sorted. I’ve never done a character like this before, which is so relatable.
How much can you relate with Ashimava?
We all went through a lot of relationships — some happened in our 20s, some in our 30s, and some well past our 40s. And, all these relationships have given me a lot of experience, through which I can very well define Ashimava. There’s so much violence, lies, love and ego in this man. The characters are madly in love with each other, but at the same time, there is so much resentment and so many grievances and such pent-up anger. Robibaar has those elements of unpredictability and romance that will keep the audience on tenterhooks.
It will be great to see you and Jaya in the movie. Jaya said you helped elevate her part in Robibaar...
Yes, people loved us in the trailer and are talking about the movie. Jaya used to ‘nag’ for a long time that we both should do a good film together. But I always told her that it had to be something unique for me, to do a romantic film. Which filmmakers after Rituparno could give you a good romantic film? I really can’t recollect a good romantic film of mine in the past decade. To a little extent, Aparajito Tumi came closer to Dosar or Sob Choritro Kalponik. And now, with Robibaar, I am sure people will love it.
So, what’s up for 2020?
2020 is more or less sorted. I will be seen in a film by Kaushik Ganguly, then there is a film in the Kakababu series with Srijit Mukherji, and another one with Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy, which is a spin-off from their superhit film, Haami. I will also be shooting for a Hindi web series by Vikramaditya Motwane for Amazon Prime, based on true stories, which will be shot in Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai, but I can’t tell anything further.