Meet ghostbusters Soham, Bonny and Gaurav from the film Bhootchakro Private Limited
Be it Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Goynar Baksho, Bhooter Bhobishyot or Bhobishyoter Bhoot, ghosts have always been popular with cine-lovers in Bengal. After the friendly ghost Chhayamoy in 2013, filmmaker Haranath Chakraborty is back with Bhootchakro Private Limited, which releases today. Starring Soham Chakraborty, Bonny Sengupta and Gaurav Chakrabarty, the movie revolves around three jobless friends who accidentally discover an old ghosthunting machine and falsely claim that they can communicate with spirits. Prior to the release of this horror-comedy, we sat down for a fun chat with the three actors of the film at Oudh 1590 over biryani and galawati kebabs. Excerpts:
Bonny, this is your first ghost movie and Gaurav, your second. What made you go for it?
Bonny Sengupta: When Rane (Nispal Singh, producer of the film) told me that all three of us will be doing a film together, I didn’t know the script until then, but when I read it I said yes, simply because this is an original story. I am tired of the perception that Bonny means ‘remake films’. Also, the role that I am essaying is so different than the ones that I usually play.
Gaurav Chakrabarty: I did Chhayamoy with Haranath before and I really had a wonderful experience and I lapped up this offer because it was very unique. I am playing Nemai Bose, and since the name has a rural intonation, and deemed uncool, he likes to call himself Nemo. It’s a very wannabe character — the way Nemo dresses and the kind of jewellery he wears, all of that makes him funnier. He tries to be very cool but almost always ends up making a fool of himself since he is actually very timid by nature. I have always played dependable, romantic or serious characters and was a little bored of doing similar roles—hence, this came as a breath of fresh air.
BS: Yeah, imagining Gaurav in a role like this is really tough.
Soham Chakraborty: In fact, when the cast was announced, I just couldn’t picture Gaurav in such a role, but he did such a splendid job.
Soham, you had done some real horror thrillers like Golpo Holeo Sotti. This will be your second release in 2019 after the family-drama, Googly...
SC: I loved it because the plot is so unique and hilarious. Googly was a serious film. This is a thriller but with a lot of fun moments. Once again, I’m paired opposite Sarbanti here.
And you two?
BS: I am opposite Rittika, but unfortunately Gaurav’s character has no girlfriend.
GC: Bonny is the casanova, he plays the ladies’ man but he is scared of ghosts (everyone laughs)
BS: I guess our first-day shoot at a morgue brought out our real selves...(laughs)
It seems you all had a wonderful time together during the shoot...
SC: Definitely. I knew Bonny because we worked together in the past and he is the most chilled out guy around. But, I am working for the first time with Gaurav and I never knew that he is such a typical ‘good boy’.
BS: Yeah! Not even once did we see Gaurav getting angry or abusing anyone.
GC: In a word, very boring! What about Soham?
BS: Soham is the nicest chap around and I am a big liar (laughs). He is the naughtiest prankster.
GC: With Soham around, we never had a dull moment and he seems like a resident of North Pole.
BS: If the AC remote had a minus 20°C temperature button, then he would have been the happiest. His room is freezing all the time.
SC: I cannot tolerate heat.
BS: We also had a blast eating out. Can you imagine anyone having biryani at 5 pm? Soham does that.
SC: We were shooting near Barrackpore and how can you miss Dada Boudi’s famous biryani?
What do you think is going wrong with commercial movies in the Bengali film industry?
GC: I think commercial movies have always remained relevant and are still so. But, I think that the packaging is going through a sea of change.
BS: I feel that the audience is typecasting movies and prefer to watch content-driven cinema. I think we actors need to be more conscious of the scripts.
Gaurav, you have always been choosy about films. Is lack of good scripts the reason?
GC: An actor of my stature at the moment cannot have the luxury of being very selective because you have to work and earn. Yet, over the last few years, I have had the chance to be a bit selective and got tested as an actor in certain ways. I have always tried to be a part of films I would personally like to watch in a theatre. I need to be convinced of the film first.
Do you believe in ghosts?
GC: I don’t, because I have never encountered one in my life, though I’d like to.
SC: I very much do, because I had many an encounter with spirits. I saw and felt spirits around me a lot of times, in our old house and in Purulia where we went for shooting. Once, I saw a spooky shadow that swirled around right outside my balcony. I was zapped.
BS: I believe in ghosts too. I had a very scary encounter at a hotel in Kalimpong — when I opened a box I was told not to, inside my room. I suddenly fell ill and saw a spooky shadow moving around. That left me in a state of shock for quite some time.
What are your favourite horror movies?
SC: The Conjuring.
BS: House Next Door.
GC: I used to watch a lot of horror movies, but my wife Riddhima is so terrified of ghosts that it’s been a really long time since I watched one.
Have you ever watched any horror movie alone?
GC: Yeah, I watched this Thai horror-thriller Shutter, alone in my hostel room, but after that I was really scared for a long time.
Was anyone of you brave enough to try planchet when you were teenagers?
SC: No way! Why rub them the wrong way and coerce them into action? Let sleeping dogs lie.
So, what are your next projects?
SC: I have a few more releases this year — Rajib Kumar’s action thriller Protighat opposite Priyanka Roy, Raja Chanda’s next yet-to-be-titled film, Ravi Kinagi’s drama, Missed Call, and 17 September, opposite Arunima Ghosh, which is a very different story on relationship crises.
GC: After Bhootchakro, my movie Sagardwipey Jawker Dhan will release. Then, there’s Raj Chakraborty’s Parineeta, where I play the owner of a real estate company where Shubhasree is working. Ritwik Chakraborty is also there.
BS: I have Jaanbaaz opposite Koushani and it’s an original movie (laughs). Then there’s Love Story.
Gaurav, you recently did a web series. What do you all think about the web as a platform in Bengali?
GC: I recently did Voot’s first Bengali web series Kanyakumari. But there are certain categories of web series that are very sleazy. I am not comfortable with that. Interestingly, Zee5 is coming up with a series on the police force and I am thrilled about being a part of that.
BS: Amazon Prime approached me for an audition of a series produced by Aamir Khan, but I, unfortunately, missed it since I was shooting in Ranchi then. However, I am open to good offers.
SC: I too would love to work if I get good offers.
Any favourite web series?
GC: I love Stranger Things and Peaky Blinders.
BS: I recently watched Umbrella Academy and I also loved Mirzapur and Sacred Games.
SC: I haven’t watched any of them till now.
Bonny, when are you tying the knot with Koushani?
BS: Marriage will take time because I want to settle down career-wise first.
Any tips from the two of you about marriage for him?
GC: If you remain good friends even after marriage then nothing better than that.
SC: Sometimes wives complain that you are not the same old guy, that’s because you become more responsible. Always listen to your wife and let her rule the roost (laughs).