Chandan: I give my 100 per cent each time

Chandan: I give my 100 per cent each time

The ‘Rang De Basanti’ actor is excited to be directed by Prakash Jha in ‘Aashram’, just out on MX Player

Chandan Roy Sanyal has always delivered a punch regardless of the role, medium and platform.

Having worked with an array of celebrated filmmakers, Chandan Roy Sanyal has given one of the most hard-hitting essays of his career, which began with a cameo in ‘Rang De Basanti’ (2006) and a featured role in ‘Kaminey’ (2009), in the recently-released Prakash Jha series ‘Aashram’.

As Bhopa Swami, the vicious executive and crony of Baba Nirala, who masterminds all his nefarious activities, Chandan’s villainy is no run-of-the-mill act but all the more chilling due to his subtlety.

Chandan appreciates Showtime’s compliments and says, “Working with Prakash Jha was fantastic. I learnt so much from him. I aspire to be a filmmaker one day and it’s great to work with such directors. He shoots a scene keeping the edits in mind, and I really enjoy that. He always told me to do less, and I followed his advice. That’s why it has turned out so convincing on screen. Prakash sir has a huge vision. He is an all-rounder and he can even direct the camera and be a director of photography.”

Of an early sequence in the series where his character, Bhopa, kills a girl and his facial expression changes to that of a cold-blooded murderer, he says, “I have been a stage artiste, and there, it is all about the actor and how powerful he is. However, on the screen, performance is based on how a character is created. The writing, direction, clothes, camerawork and music create the aura and the atmosphere for my performance to come across the way it does. Those are the unseen hands that create the impact.” Most of Chandan’s films, sadly, have been unsuccessful, though he has done a spectrum of roles from good guy to villain to comic relief.

So, as an artiste, would he want to single out or mention one or more movies where his efforts went unappreciated because of the fates of the films?

“Dekhiye, it’s like this,” he replies coolly, “I give my 100 per cent each time, but there are no expectations from my side, and no thoughts about what will happen later to the film, since I know that all those things are not in my hands. In ‘Manto’, for example, I only had a small part. In ‘Aashram’, I am there throughout. Yes, there was a small film named ‘Prague’, which I wished had got greater exposure. My performance in that needed to be seen more.”

What’s his first film?

Despite ‘Rang De Basanti’, why does he always mention ‘Kaminey’, which was not even commercially successful, as his first film?

“I did not have much to do in ‘Rang De Basanti’. I only knew then what acting was, but I knew nothing about the camera, or anything else in cinema. I accepted the film because I gave an audition and they approved me. An additional motivation was that there were big artistes with whom I would get a chance to work, like Waheeda Rehman-ji and Aamir Khan. But it was ‘Kaminey’ that really got me attention.”

Acting, for Chandan, is a spiritual journey that is a constant process of learning.

“Ten years ago, I would have done ‘Aashram’ differently. All actors improve with time. You will notice the difference between the earlier films of an actor and the later films. Look at the way Sanjeev Kumar performed earlier and his later performances.”

Prod him, and Chandan admits that in Hindi cinema, Sanjeev Kumar, Balraj Sahni and Guru Dutt are his idols.

But he has a special place for Raj Kapoor and Manoj Kumar because they also starred in films they also directed.

“They could be great directors and also act in their own films,” he points out. And how did his passion for what he does now originate?

“From college days, when I used to take part in skits and plays, as everyone does, some of my friends said I am a natural,” he says with a laugh.

“I had an ambition to get into IIT, but could not manage to do so. So I became an actor, and now when I do my work it is for the love of the art, not for fame. I like it this way.”

Is that why he has done very little work for someone who has been in the industry for 12 years?

“You could put it that way,” he responds with a laugh.