Acting in her genes

Acting in her genes

A fine balance

Acting in her genes

Actor Raima Sen Dev Burman is setting a record of sorts with her balancing act between Bollywood and Kolkata. Where does she find her comfort zone? How does she pick and choose her films? After her the recent release of her Hindi film Bollywood Diaries, the doe-eyed beauty talks about her career. Here are the excerpts:

Why does one see you less frequently in Bollywood films than in Bengali films where you often have back-to-back releases?

There are many reasons. I do not care for auditions and never go for them. I do not have a PR person, a manager or even a secretary that is mandatory if you are working in Mumbai. I am not a go-getter. Basically, I am lazy.

What kind of actor would you say you are — a spontaneous one, a director’s actor or a trained professional?

I am a director’s actor. I need the director to guide me. My work shows excellent results with good directors. Fortunately, I have worked with some of the best directors both in Mumbai and in Kolkata ranging from Rituparno Ghosh through Vinay Shukla, Aniruddha Roy Choudhury, Anjan Dutt, Sandip Ray, Srijit Mukherjee, Koushik Ganguly, Reema Kagti and Kalpana Lajmi. I have learnt from each of them. I really work well if there is a good director who knows how to get the best out of me.

You have played a prostitute in Bollywood Diaries. What was the experience like?

It was a lovely role because it was full of hope. The red-light area does not feature in the film. Sonagachi, the famous red-light area in Kolkata, is the backdrop I belong to, and this is just a frame of reference. I loved working with K D Satyam and I also loved the story. Bollywood Diaries chronicles three separate stories about three different individuals who never meet. What they have in common is this desperate desire to make it big in Bollywood. The character I play is ready to bend every rule in the book to find her place in Bollywood.

How do you react to comparisons with your grandmother Suchitra Sen?

I consider it a great honour when people point out how closely I resemble her. So far as comparison in acting styles go, I do not feel any pressure, or take it either as an
advantage or as a disadvantage, because things are different now in terms of the kind of films that are made, the kind of acting these films demand, the directors who make
different kinds of films and their approaches, etc. So there is no point in comparisons.

Which of your grandmother’s 60-and-odd films do you love watching?

Harano Sur (Bengali), Aandhi (Hindi) and Saat Pake Bandha (Bengali). The films are eternal and incurably romantic.

How do you choose your films?

The role is the top criterion and the rest come later. The character must be significant. An intelligent director and a good script come next. An intelligent director can work ideally with the script and can draw the best out of his actors.

Which are your favourites from the films you have done so far?
Among my Bengali films, my favourites are — Chokher Bali and Noukadubi directed by Rituparno Ghosh, Bastushaap and Shobdo directed by Koushik Ganguly, The Japanese Wife directed by Aparna Sen and Abby Sen directed by Atanu Ghosh. As far as my Bollywood films go, I would pick Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd directed by Rima Kagti, Mirch, directed by Vinay Shukla, Children of War directed by Mrityunjay Devrat, Parineeta directed by Pradeep Sarkar, and Bollywood Diaries.

What are your current assignments in Mumbai?

One is called 3 Days, with a multi-star cast with Kunal Roy Kapoor, Ravi Dubey, Karan Grover, Tisca Chopra, Kay Kay Menon and Prosenjit. It is scheduled for a May release. Another film which marks the directorial debut of Rana Bhatia called Ishq Kabhi Kariyo Naa, in which I have a significant role.

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