A breath of fresh air

A breath of fresh air

His charm and suave personality have swept many off their feet. One of Satyajit Ray’s favourite actors, Victor Banerjee continues to impress the audience with his unconventional style. Metrolife caught up with him when he was in the City recently.

Recounting his experience with Satyajit Ray, he says  that he was more of a
teacher than a director. “Working with Manik da (Ray) transported me back to my school days when I was being taught to act and perform on stage. He brought out my best side,” he says. The veteran actor has worked with several directors, both young and old, like Anjan Dutta and Onir. “They are poles apart. I love Anjan and Onir.

 ‘My Brother Nikhil’ was a great film — the problem of AIDS and the community was handled factually. Anjan is a super-cool director; he once shot an eight-day schedule in two days,” says Victor.

The sudden demise of director Rituparno Ghosh has shocked everyone and he rues the loss of the great artiste as well. “I did not know Rituparno Ghosh personally, but I know enough to be able to say that his passing is going to create a void that no one has the courage to fill. He made extremely sensitive films. His style was aesthetically impeccable and his films dealt with issues with love, sensitivity and tenderness that moved and provoked audiences everywhere,” says Victor.

His films under the James Ivory banner have earned him a lot of popularity and he admits to enjoying working with James Ivory and Ismail Merchant. “Working with them was an experience that I will never forget. The best part of it was probably working with Peggy Ashcroft and meeting the Jodhpur Royal family, who I am still friends with,” he says.

His film ‘Joggers Park’ was different and fresh and he gives all credit for it to his co-star, Perizad Zorabian. “‘Joggers Park’ would have meant nothing had Perizad not been there. Most conventional starlets from Mumbai would have stylised the film and put her own nuances into it. But Perizad came with air of freshness. She was something that Bollywood hadn’t seen before. The story was very good and appealed to both young girls and older people.”

His opinion about the limited reach of Bengali cinema is quite realistic as he feels that films made in a regional languages have limited access. “You can never expect anything in a regional language to reach out to a national audience. But as and when a diamond suddenly appears, it will shine,” he concludes.

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