'You have to choose your role'

Upcoming biopic

Actress Rituparna Sengupta will play the lead role in an upcoming biopic of famous cabaret dancer of the 70s in Kolkata, Miss Shefali.Titled, Tadonto, the movie will be directed by Bollywood art director-turned-filmmaker Nitish Roy.

“The movie is based on the life of Miss Shefali who kept to her profession surviving through exploitation and betrayal of a society in which women play secondary role. It is true in every age,” Sengupta told PTI on the film’s set.

The 43-year-old prolific actress said Miss Shefali’s life should be properly explored in detail in a documentary film, bringing out the full story of her life, warts and all.
Miss Shefali, nee Arati Das, regularly appeared in cabaret dance sequences in many
Bengali theatres apart from being a regular at the bars of established hotels.

“My fictional character in the film comes in contact with two men and the script brings out her sorrow, betrayal, happy memories, torture - everything,” Sengupta said.

“It talks about the exploitation of women from Shefali to a modern girl.”
The actress is ecstatic about sharing screen space with the formidable troika of the stage, Goutam Halder, the bar pimp, Deb Shankar Halder, who plays
a police investigator that frequents the place, and Kaushik Sen.

“I had earlier worked with Deb Shankar in Muktodhara and Aleek Sukh. Being from a non-theatre background, it was a different experience but he is equally versatile in both films and stage,” she said.

Asked if she was more comfortable with ensemble cast films packed with powerful actors, Sengupta said, “Ensemble or not, what matters to me is if I am the pivotal character in the film. You have to choose your role – ensemble or not – that is most important.”

Roy said the protagonist embodied the suffering of a woman in the patriarchal system of society.

“It can’t be the tale of a singular bar singer of a particular time though I have referred to the 70s-80s. Such characters exist in every age, every city and every society,” Roy said.

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