Jisshu Sengupta shares his experience of playing Vidya Balan’s screen husband in Shakuntala Devi

The Bengali actor is now busy doing a lot of Hindi films and web series
Jisshu Sengupta
Jisshu Sengupta

Though COVID-19 Pandemic and the subsequent lockdown spelt doom for most, it provided actor Jisshu Sengupta with the much-needed opportunity to spend time with his two daughters, Sara and Zara. “Thankfully I could be here in Kolkata during the lockdown since I returned from shooting in Bhopal just before the pandemic broke out to shoot for a Bengali film. Since most of the time I am away in Mumbai I could hardly spend much time with my children. I tried to make up for the same during the lockdown,” tells the busy actor, who also tried his hands in cooking during this time.

The actor, last seen in Aparna Sen's Ghawre Bairey Aaj, will be playing Vidya Balan’s screen husband in the upcoming movie Shakuntala Devi, that’s slated for July 31 release on Amazon Prime. We had a chat with the actor about his role and more. Excerpts:

Mardaani 2, Typewriter and Manikarnika in 2019 and Shakuntala Devi, Sadak 2 and two other Telugu films slated for 2020 release. Are you concentrating more on Bollywood and South than Tollywood nowadays?

That’s not a conscious decision. It’s all about the projects and dates that have been distributed that way. As we speak right now, I am shooting for a Bengali film Abhijaan, which is a Soumitra Chatterjee biopic directed by Parambrata Chatterjee. But yes, I have shifted to Mumbai and I stay there more than I stay in Kolkata right now.

<em>Jisshu Sengupta with Vidya Balan in Shakuntala Devi</em>
Jisshu Sengupta with Vidya Balan in Shakuntala Devi

Tell us about your character in Shakuntala Devi?

I play Vidya Balan’s screen husband, Paritosh Banerjee but I won’t be able to tell you much because I would be giving away the film. All I can say is that Paritosh had a love-hate relationship with his wife, and it’s a beautiful relationship though a little different than the usual husband-wife equation.

How was it working with Vidya for the second time?

She is such a lovely human being and I am a huge fan of her work. I was initially a little quiet and in awe of Vidya but she behaved as if we knew each other for years. She is extremely grounded and a prankster too.

How is Anu Menon as a filmmaker?

She is so clear with what she wants and it seemed she had already seen the film before she shot it. It makes things easier for an actor when the director knows exactly what he or she wants.

You have worked with almost all the leading ladies of Bollywood, including Rani Mukherjee, Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut and Vidya Balan. Who’s the most fascinating?

Vidya, and there’s no two-way about it since she is my all-time favourite actor. We also bonded very well since she’s very warm and caring.

<em>Jisshu Sengupta and Vidya Balan in Shakuntala Devi</em>
Jisshu Sengupta and Vidya Balan in Shakuntala Devi

What are your upcoming projects?

Apart from Abhijaan, there’s the Hindi film Durgavati and one Hindi web series.

Where do you see the industry heading post-pandemic? Will OTTs be the future?

It’s a difficult time for the industry since acting deals with emotions and the new normal doesn’t allow us to emote the way we want to. I don’t know how things are going to pan out in the next few months but as of now, it looks difficult.

I always felt OTT platforms held the future. But films will start releasing on theatres sooner or later since that experience cannot be mimicked on cell phones, tabs or television. But at the same time, people have got used to OTTs in the past few months, so they will also not mind watching a film within the safe confines of their homes.

sharmishtha.g @newindianexpress.com


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