Actors Sreelekha Mitra and Anusha Viswanathan prefer doing quality work rather than being everywhere
Anik Dutta's upcoming movie, Borunbabur Bondhu is about a scrupulous, upright old man who doesn’t spare even his family when it comes to matters of principle. Played by veteran actor Soumitra Chattopadhyay, the film has an ensemble cast comprising Arpita Chatterjee, Ritwick Chakraborty, Kaushik Sen, Bidipta Chakraborty, Paran Bandyopadhyay, Sreelekha Mitra and Anusha Viswanathan among others. The film, which releases today, has already garnered praise from audiences and critics alike at the Kolkata International Film Festival, held in November last year.
We caught up with actors Sreelekha and Anusha, who play mother and daughter respectively in the film. Sreelekha recently impressed the audience with her performance as an independent and assertive woman in Sweater, and is known for choosing quality films. The 22-year-old Anusha too has done a couple of web series including Water Bottle and Do Not Disturb, apart from the film Dhananjoy. We sat with the bubbly, outspoken actors for a chat at Awadhi fine diner Oudh 1590 over some Galouti kebabs and other delicacies on work and more. Excerpts:
Sreelekha, you recently impressed the audience with your convincing acting in Rainbow Jelly and Sweater. You have a small, but an impressive role in Borunbabur Bondhu. Do you ever consider the length of your role in a film?
Sreelekha Mitra: For me, it has always been about the character in a film. Even in Bhooter Bhobishyot, where I passed out seeing the ghost played by Swastika Mukherjee, I got noticed by the audience in that blink-and-you-miss role. Anik Dutta is one of the few genuine people in the industry, and I have never refused any role that he has offered me so far. Borunbabur Bondhu is no exception.
Anusha Viswanathan: I also loved you in Ashchorjyo Prodeep, you looked great!
SM: Yeah, but sadly, people only remember the last scene, where I was sensually dressed.
AV: You were looking hot!
SM: I survived only on guavas and green tea (laughs). It’s not that I don’t like being slim. I exercise rigorously, but I love food even more than that (laughs).
And Anusha, this is your second movie. Why did you choose the role?
AV: I couldn’t resist the offer of being a part of an ensemble cast with such talented actors. It was an experience to remember.
You both look so convincing as a mother-daughter duo.
SM: I have a 14-year-old daughter, and hence, I am well-versed with this age-group, and their lingo.
AV: We connected from the beginning. Both of us love dogs, and it was not difficult to imagine her as my mother.
SM: Yeah, as your mom is also a dog lover.
In a career that has lasted for more than two decades, why do you think you have not been utilised enough?
SM: That’s for the industry to answer. I don’t believe in begging, and I don’t have any numbers of producers or directors saved on my phone. I know that not mingling beyond work does hamper one’s career, but I don’t have the energy to hang out after work with my colleagues.
Many actors have taken to politics in the absence of good roles. Has that ever been an option?
SM: Never, I could never do that. I’m politically conscious, I think all of us are. But I refuse to be affiliated to any political party.
AV: I believe that any artiste who joins politics loses the right to be a part of the actor’s collective since the constitution states that once a person joins politics, he or she has to leave their jobs. Isn’t acting a job?
SM: I completely agree. But then again, I also don’t understand how gullible the electorate is to run after a face.
What are your future projects?
SM: I am in Aditya Bikram Sengupta’s next untitled movie, which is an experimental film. I play Ela, who is the illegitimate daughter of a cabaret dancer and the owner of a theatre company. It shows how she copes with the realities of her life. She is married, but though her husband is a good man, there is no spark in their relationship. She’s ambitious and also dabbles in acting, though her films don’t work. Aditya creates situations where there are no dialogues at all, making his films even more refined. There’s also Subhrajit Mitra’s Avijatrik, where I play Ranu di. Supratim has done a splendid job as DoP of the film. I am also a part of Indranil Roychowdhury’s next untitled project.
And Anusha, what about you?
AV: I want a character that attracts me. But I am still studying, and I think I have enough time to make choices. Currently, I am doing a play Protyasha, directed by Kheyali Dastidar, and reading a few interesting scripts.
Pictures: Pritam Sarkar