Tollywood's Anirban Bhattacharya believes his best time as an actor is yet to come
Actor Anirban Bhattacharya is among those few new-age actors who are quietly making a mark in Tollywood. Be it as the religious Hindu neighbour in Uma, the over-protective and revengeful brother in Ek Je Chhilo Raja, or the spoilt rich son of an industrialist in Shah Jahan Regency, Anirban’s brilliance as an actor has shone through all these films. His latest act as a hot-headed police officer, named Bijoy Poddar, in Srijit Mukherji's superhit Vinci Da — which is still running to full houses in theatres — has earned him accolades from one and all.
This stands in comparison to his portrayal of the truth-seeker in Season 4 of the Hoichoi web series Byomkesh, which is considered to be one of the best portrayals of the sleuth so far. He will be seen in a Hoichoi web film, Manbhanjan, opposite Sohini Sarkar on May 31. The 32-year-old, soft-spoken actor sat down for a chat with Indulge to speak about his future projects, and why he still doesn’t feel that he’s going through his best phase as an actor. Excerpts:
In the past two years, we have seen you in very different roles. Do you consciously choose them?
Yes, I consciously choose the roles I play. But it’s equally true that the filmmakers have also explored my versatility as an actor. I still believe this is just net practice, and my best times as an actor are yet to come. I think it requires enormous practice rendering an extraordinary performance as an actor.
Your act as Byomkesh was praised by everyone, including a few renowned directors, who feel you surpassed all who have ever played the truth-seeker so far, including Abir Chatterjee. How difficult was it to reprise a done-to-death role?
I didn’t take the pressure to live up to the expectation, and made it a point not to watch, or get affected by how Uttam Kumar, Jisshu or Abir have played the part. I focussed on bringing alive the nuances of the era in which Byomkesh belonged, by capturing the times and the way people were. So, Byomkesh was not just a portrayal of character for me, it was also about that time period in which he existed. Hence, my Byomkesh is a chauvinist, judgmental and at times, and a generous man, who is too full of himself. In each season, I have tried to bring a different facet of Byomkesh to the forefront.
You will also be seen in Birsa Dasgupta’s Bibaho Obhijaan...
For the first time, I will be acting in a rural commercial movie. The film revolves around three couples, and I am one of them, with Priyanka Sarkar opposite me. I call myself Bullet Singh, since I imagine I am a dacoit. I have never played such a role before, and I am sure the audience will be in splits after watching this film.
You will also be seen in Aparna Sen’s upcoming movie, Ghare Baire Aaj.
Yes, it’s a fascinating political film, and there has been no deviation from Tagore’s story, except adapting it to the current context. Working under Aparna Sen is like going back to school. She will not spare you till you satisfy her.
What about your first love, theatre?
I will be directing a new play called Pontu Laha 2.0, adapted from Bertolt Brecht’s Herr Puntila, for our group Hatibagan Sangharam, which will be staged in September. In July, there is Joyraj Bhattacharjee’s play based on Utpal Dutt’s Titumir, where I will be playing Titumir.
How have you grown as an actor over the years?
I don’t believe there’s a summit in an acting career. I love playing all kinds of roles, big or small. I even acted in scenes involving BDSM and graphic nudity for an underground film, Ghya Chang Fou, by Joyraj Bhattacharjee, and at the same time, I have been a part of comedy shows too.