Actor Debopriyo Mukherjee talks about his lockdown short, Me, Myself & Quarantine
Though the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has put many film and theatre projects to the backburner, the artistes' fraternity in both the industries has put the futile period into use to come up with some brilliant collaborative efforts. And the four episodes of #QuaranTales, a series of shorts from classic theatre pieces, conceived by Whole 9 Yards and shot by individual member artistes at the confinements of their homes, definitely count among them.
Me, Myself and Quarantine, a part of the #QuaranTales project, that released on June 21 has been widely praised by the Tolly fraternity, catching the attention of celebs including Srijit Mukherji, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Indrasis Acharya and Manjo Michigan, for the convincing act put up by young artiste Debopriyo Mukherjee.
The short, that primarily deals with the various psychological issues that have surfaced due to the prolonged lockdown and Bairey Aaj social distancing, shows the dilemma and the urge of a young individual -- who suffers from multiple personality disorder and is almost on the verge of a mental breakdown -- to survive the calamity that faces him from within and without. Cooped up in his apartment and isolated from his friends and family, the man who's also shown to have contracted COVID-19 is seen talking to his two alter-egos, all three played to perfection by Debopriyo.
The reticent and polite actor, who has been a part of hit films including Dhananjay, Yeti Obhijaan, Zulfiqar, and Ghawre Bairey Aaj had a chat with Indulge about his short film, playing Gandhi in the ongoing TV series, Netaji and being a part of the first digital musical play The Post Office. Excerpts:
How did the idea of such short occur to you?
When Abhrajit Sen (founder and director of Whole 9 Yards) asked me to be a part of the #QuaranTales, I told him about this concept that was brewing in my head for a while. He immediately asked me to script and shoot it and send it to him. I lost my dad last May but since I had to resume shoot due to prior commitments, I didn't even get the time to grieve him properly. This lockdown, with plenty of idle time at hand and with no friends around, locked up in my room, I could very palpably feel the absence of my dad. II also started wondering about what others, who are similarly locked inside their homes are going through across the world. hence the idea of this short was conceived.
How are you dealing with post-lockdown times?
I am in sheer fear, to be honest. I have just resumed shooting for Netaji, where I play Gandhiji. The way we used to shoot serials has changed completely. The fun days are a thing of past now, with each cooped up in their own make-up rooms. We are no longer huddling together or chatting for long and the floor time has been cut down drastically. Apart from the mandatory temperature checks and sanitisation process, we are also encouraged to carry our own make-up kits to prevent infection.
Did you always want to be an actor?
Always. I have been acting in theatres since my schooldays and have acted in plays including Avisek Arora's Night and Fog, and Anjna Dutt's Medha, till I joined Abhrajit's Whole 9 Yards since 2017. In fact, on this Sunday we are presenting The Post Office, an adapted version of Tagore's Daakghar as a musical play digitally.
What are the other projects that we will see you in?
There were a few projects in the pre-production stage including Arindam Sil's next thriller Khela Jokhon and we are also planning for a web series, the shooting of which will start once we get permissions.
The short film is available for view on YouTube