Actors Arpita and Tnusree talk about friendship and their film, Abar Bochhor Koori Pore
Actors Arpita Chatterjee and Tnusree talk about friendship and more before their first release of the year, Abar Bochhor Koori Pore
We make friends at all stages of our lives. Some friendships wane, while others flourish, but the ones we make at school are perhaps the most unadulterated ones. There are probably many of us who have lost touch with several friends after school and college got over and often actually wondered what they might be doing in life. Debutant filmmaker Srimanta Sengupta’s film Abar Bochhor Koori Pore is one such heart-warming tale of reunion with a stellar cast comprising Arpita Chatterjee, Tnusree Chakraborty, Abir Chatterjee and Rudranil Ghosh among others. We had a free-wheeling chat with the leading ladies Arpita and Tnusree about the film, what friendship means to them and how they define friends. Excerpts from the chat:
Abar Bochhor Koori Pore has an ensemble cast. What made you choose the film?
Tnusree: Being a part of an ensemble cast has never been an issue for me. What matters to me more is the content. The story's simple charm drew me to the film.
Arpita: I always go for the story, character, and the filmmaker and for this particular film the stellar cast of characters has been an added attraction. When you get a good set of co-actors, it offers a healthy competitive environment where you are motivated to give your best. Also, the script has a simple and spontaneous narrative that I loved.
Tell us about your roles?
Tnusree: I play Neela, who was a tomboy during her schooldays but with time she has transformed into a family-oriented woman, happily bidding adieu to her own identity. What happens when she meets her friends at this reunion plays a crucial role in her life.
Arpita: I play Bonnie, who hails from an upper-class family. She is beautiful, smart and intelligent and was the leader of the group. She got married to one of her school friends, Arun (played by Abir), and she is a dentist by profession. The film shows where their marriage stands in these 20 years.
I always try to understand what the director wants out of my character to emote better. Also, I keep observing all kinds of people around me, I simply devour their mannerisms and store them somewhere deep in my mind. I always believe that content is a reflection of our society and times and these little observations help a lot to bring out the right emotions while acting.
Tnusree: I also like to read the script thoroughly and what makes this particular film special is that there’s a lot of time travelling which is very intelligently treated by Srimanta.
Are you happy with the way things are shaping up for female actors in Tollywood? There's hardly any female-oriented content unlike in Bollywood.
Tnusree: I am definitely not happy with the kind of work offered to female actors here. But I also feel that we are living in a world where patriarchy is still very much a reality, and though things are changing, it’s a slow process. The audience and the filmmakers are also a part of this very society and financiers are at most times in two minds if a film led by a female actor would work in the box office or not. I think in Bollywood too heroism is still a reality and good content is creating a space for female actors just as it is creating a space for male actors like Ayushman Khurrana or Rajkummar Rao.
Arpita: Content creation is to a great extent dependent on the kind of profit it generates. Ultimately it boils down to business and profitability. Here we don't have even a fraction of the market that Bollywood covers and there is a bottleneck in terms of finance, distribution and other related issues that need to be addressed.
Tnusree: If we can leverage our good terms with the Bangladeshi film industry and tap the huge Bengali population spread across the globe, it would definitely give a good push to the industry.
Have you two ever gone for any school or college reunion?
Tnusree: I went twice for reunions. Once I met a few school friends at an occasion and there was a big reunion with college friends and I'm in touch with a few of them. I lead a very unpretentious and regular life otherwise and the number of friends in my life has never gone down or increased rapidly. I don’t keep changing or making new friends and I feel at least a few of them still treat me the same way they did in school.
Arpita: I had never gone for any such reunions and I am not in touch with any of my school or college friends, that chapter doesn’t exist for me. But I have no regret since I am the kind of person who likes looking forward and accepting the facts of life as they are. I accept things as they are and move ahead with whatever I have.
Can two actors be good friends in real life too?
Tnusree: It’s not that it can’t be, but I have never tried to make best friends in the industry. But I definitely have a few friends from my modelling days.
Arpita: Do you think colleagues can be friends? I would like to ask you that. I think the answer to your question lies there.
Do you think we get friendless as we rise up the ladder?
Tnusree: Yeah. I used to feel that and had doubts about whether friends change with time. I also felt if it was right on my part to not take initiatives to be in touch with some friends and forget about many of them while chasing a busy and demanding career.
Arpita: The term friendship is often used loosely. It’s a very deep relationship and getting a true friend is difficult. There are so many people who spend their entire lives without getting one true friend.
Since you both hail from the glamour industry, how do you know who’s a real friend and who’s faking it?
Arpita: I start from a very neutral point and then start sleuthing like Feluda or Byomkesh. It’s an industry where you have to either bite or be bitten, so, to protect me, I at times study patterns in a person and analyse them by talking with them a lot. At times, to know how trustworthy he or she is, I tell them a secret and tell four others too. If the words come back, I get to know who can be trusted. Besides being an actor, I run a company too and there you have to be discreet about whom to trust and whom not to.
Tnusree: I like to trust people very easily and most of the times I have not been proven wrong. I am organically a very trusting person and I feel it’s a great quality in me that I never lose trust in human goodness.
What are the qualities you look for in a friend?
Tnusree: He or she has to be an interesting person and there should be a connection.
Arpita: There should be no equations or pre-conditions in a friendship and one shouldn’t be judgemental either.
With so many actors like Parambrata, Jisshu and Abir bagging roles in national projects, are you also trying for national OTT projects?
Tnusree: Not right now, because I have a few prior work commitments here that need to be completed.
Arpita: I haven't yet made any effort. The OTT platforms follow a systematic process of which audtions are an integral part. I guess my biggest drawback is that I have inertia towards auditioning, I can’t emote out of context for 5-10 minutes without any get-up or ambience and not knowing anything about the character. That mostly keeps me away from any auditions.
Your debut solo stage performance My Name is Jaan last year was a hit. Will we see more of you on stage, Arpita?
An urge to be on stage brought me back after a long spell and I would definitely like to do more plays. Stage is the only place where you can hone your acting skills and get honest reaction from the audience.
We also saw some brilliant vocal renditions. When will Arpita, the singer, debut?
Arpita: After My Name is Jaan many are asking me this question. In fact, Ranajoy Bhattacharjee, who is also the composer for this film, has been telling me this for a long time. I regularly practise singing but there are no concrete plans as yet.
Your upcoming projects?
Tnusree: I just completed filming for Ravan with Jeet. There’s Raajhorshee De’s Abar Kanchenjunga and Maya and I will be shooting for a romantic family drama Chirosokha He besides Manish Basu’s Gu Kaku The Potty Uncle.
Arpita: I have two more releases, Abar Kanchenjunga and Hridpindo.
Abar Bochhor Koori Pore released in theatres today