Interview: Koel Mallick chases elephant poachers in Jongole Mitin Mashi
The film is a family entertainer and sees Koel in some riveting action stunts
Detective thrillers and whodunnits are time-tested content that works for films across languages and in Bengal more so, where the audiences have grown up reading about iconic sleuths like Feluda, Byomkesh, Kiriti, Kakababu among others. But most of the celebrated detective novels feature women as a sidekick or at best an intelligent partner who helps with deciphering clues. This is where Mitin Mashi, the celebrated woman sleuth created by author Suchitra Bhattacharya, created a difference. Played to perfection by Tollywood’s reigning female superstar Koel Mallick, Mitin Mashi the film that was released in 2019 Puja, won the hearts of all and was a bumper box office hit despite still competition from other formidable releases.
This year too, the female detective franchise is back with Jongole Mitin Mashi and Koel takes the audience along with her into the depths of the jungles to unravel a sinister poaching cartel. We chatted with her about the same and more.
You are back with Jongole Mitin Mashi this Pujas. How excited are you?
I am enormously thrilled because I think I got a lot of confidence from Mitin Mashi’s success which released with many other amazing films but went on to win the hearts of the audience and hence I got the confidence to do it again. It’s an absolute novel-based story and what is more challenging about playing Mitin is that lots of Bengali readers’ sentiments are attached to Mitin and the way she is portrayed. The most important thing about Mitin is her strength of emotion and her sense of justice. She only believes in what is right and the truth and has an indomitable spirit being fearless. Mitin is more of an emotion for me.
When I re-read the novel Surrender Shoitan to portray Mitin correctly, I kept in mind all that. This time in Jongole Mitin Mashi, sees Mitin fighting the poachers. She is way more aggressive when it comes to criminals though she is otherwise compassionate kind and family-oriented. What I like about Mitin is that she is just not an investigator but also a housewife. On the field, she is a tigress who has no other choice but to win.
The film sees her fighting against the poachers with a lot of aggression and for a bigger cause. The world is becoming unkind for such people and dangerous for animals and this film shows how Mitin chases the elephant poachers and unravels a nexus.
There are many sleuths in Bengali content but none not many of them are female. How special is Mitin to you from that angle?
All sleuths have their places including Feluda, Byomkesh, Shabar or Kiriti. What I love about Mitin Mashi is that she is a multitasking woman with great instincts and strong intuition. I have seen Mitin Mashi all around me, it transcends gender and becomes good versus evil, so, she is more of an emotion to me.
What are the key attractions in Jongole Mitin Mashi?
The key attraction is that it’s for family viewing. That’s a must during the festive season because Pujas are meant for family gatherings and watching films together. I can’t think about anything else but family when Pujas arrive. This film has adventure, thrill, strong social message about the conservation of wildlife and is an out-and-out entertainer.
We Bengalis love food and travel and during Pujas some of us hesitate to go for holidays and stay back to enjoy the Pujas. Mitin Mashi will take such wanderlusts on another journey into the jungle. They will also go for a jungle picnic and unravel the truth along with her.
This time too there are four Bengali films altogether releasing during the Pujas…
I feel it’s a happy mix since all films are different in genre and is a great mix for cine-goers with 4 different films to watch during the four days of the Pujas.
Will we see you debuting on the web soon?
I am being asked this by many. I was stuck with family, raising my newborn child since that time is priceless and I will never get it back later. Now, I am getting back to work and this is my first film I don’t know how much time I will be able to take out for OTT projects right now. But I am doing a lot of behind-the-scenes and behind-the-camera work for our OTT platform Addatimes. I am listening to a lot of scripts and learning a lot in that space.
Many of your contemporaries are doing good work in Mumbai. Have you ever thought of working in Hindi?
Never, it never crossed my mind and I generally never plan. I believe that the biggest planner is up there and he plans for me.
What are your upcoming projects?
I will start shooting for Sayantan Ghoshal’s Sonar Kellar Jawker Dhon and a few other stories too are in the pipeline.