I need my audience to remember my characters: Swastika Mukherjee

Actor Swastika Mukherjee, who was in the city for a Bengali film festival, speaks about how OTT platforms have changed the scape of the movie industry and the increasing interest in regional content
Swastika Mukherjee in Guldasta
Swastika Mukherjee in Guldasta

It is true that getting to the top of the game is not easy but what is equally difficult is to leave your comfort zone and start your second innings from scratch. A well-respected name in the Bengali movie industry, actor Swastika Mukherjee took that risk of entering the Hindi film industry which has now paid off. Mukherjee, who was in Bengaluru for Kolaj Bengali Film Festival, was seen in critically-acclaimed series like Paatal Lok on Amazon Prime Video and Sushant Singh Rajput’s last movie Dil Bechara, based on author John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars.

“I do believe it is my second innings. Having worked in Bengali cinema for 20-odd years, I got the feeling that my directors were happy with whatever I had to offer. Nobody was pushing me to do something that was challenging although I was consistently choosing roles that could push my boundaries further,” says Mukherjee, whose movie Guldasta was screened at the film festival. 

Known for picking experimental roles, Mukherjee’s roles in Hindi projects have been strong-yet-small in terms of screen time. The 41-year-old actor, however, says it is a conscious decision. “I need my audience to remember Dolly Mehra once they watch Paatal Lok,” says Mukherjee, adding that she wants her audience to remember her character long after the show concludes. 

However, she is quite happy with the OTT option coming up, since it has exposed movie lovers to various regional films. And personally for her, it has opened up avenues to do a variety of roles. “If you work in films of other languages, it opens up many more opportunities. I just finished working on a Netflix original film where I play a character from Himachal Pradesh. If I am only sticking to Bengali cinema, the characters become similar,” says Mukherjee, who usually approaches a character by observing people from real life.

Though fans have seen her in different avatars on screen, Mukherjee loves binge-watching crime series and doesn’t consider herself as a rom-com person. “I watch a lot of Scandinavian shows because I think they have broken that myth that women have to be of a certain shape or size,” says Mukherjee. 

This was definitely not her first visit to the city, but the actor says she was looking forward to the trip since she has been busy in the last couple of months, shooting for various projects for Disney + Hotstar and for Netflix. “I am going to spend some time with friends...My daughter has also flown down from Mumbai to be with me since I don’t get to see her much,” says Mukherjee, who flew down from Delhi for the festival in Bengaluru. 

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