Ace Indian actor Parambrata is now in Bangladesh for the shooting of Fakhrul Arefeen Khan's debut feature film “Bhuban Majhi”. This is the second time Parambrata is working in Bangladesh. On a fine spring afternoon, this correspondent met the actor at Shilaidah in Kushtia -- where he was playing cricket along with other members of the unit. Post the match this correspondent had an exclusive interview with the unassuming Parambrata at a Bungalow with the luminous full moon gazing down on us.
You've been living in Shilaidah for three weeks now, and it seems like you've gelled in well. What's your take on Bangladesh and its film industry?
Parambrata: As the film industry of Bangladesh is in the making, there might be some shortcomings which we don't see in Kolkata or Mumbai. However, after doing two films here, I think there are certain things in Bangladesh that make up for those shortcomings. The warmth that people of Bangladesh show is unparalleled. I have enjoyed my time thoroughly here. The film media is essentially a collaborative art, and when the people I am working with are warm-hearted, certain shortcomings don't seem to be a problem at all.
What drew you in to do “Bhuban Majhi”?
Parambrata: I knew bits and pieces about Bangladesh's Liberation War, but when I started shooting for “Bhuban Majhi” it required me to learn a lot about the War, especially the pre- and post-Liberation War history of the country. The Liberation War is pivotal in the film, but there is an evaluation of the spirit of the War that the people of this land have in the post-independence era. This evaluation makes the film more relevant. Within this short period, the film has put a profound impact on me.
What's your take on your co-artistes and the director? Were you familiar with their works beforehand?
Parambrata: Aparna is playing the lead alongside me. I had never seen her at work before, but I've found her to be a very good actor and an amazing human being. Arefeen is an extremely talented director; I had seen some of his documentaries. We have become good friends, and it inspires me to see the way he loves his country and nurtures progressive thought.
What inspires you to do films?
Parambrata: Maybe it's because I'm not good at any other field except films. I can sing, but I never wanted to choose it as my profession. I have been acting from an early stage of my life, and even studied films in UK later on. I cannot do anything else (chuckles). And be it acting, directing or art directing -- I need to stick to films.
Do you want to explore further as a director?
Parambrata: Definitely. I have plans to start my directorial venture after returning to India.
Will we ever see Parambrata collaborating in Bangladesh as a director?
Parambrata: I am very much interested in doing a collaborative project. In fact, I have some plans about this, and I hope I can go ahead with that plan in 2017.
How can film, as a form of art influence our mind, or bring a change in the society?
Parambrata: If it were 25 years earlier, I would have said film is the most powerful medium, as it can outreach with great ease. Now Internet and television have, to some extent, surpassed film. But, film is such an art form that will neither die nor decay. There might be changes in the style of film and its media, but film itself will prevail. There is no other medium as powerful as the visual medium.
You played a diverse set of roles in your life. Is there any role that has influenced your off-screen life?
Parambrata: Being a professional actor we do many films, but not all the films we do are dear to us. However, some films touch our inner artiste, and after doing those films we continue to try to make ourselves better human beings. Films like “Hemlock Society”, “Hercules” and “Apur Pachali” have touched me, and made me feel connected with their philosophy. I won't be surprised if the effects of “Bhuban Majhi” stay with me for a long time.
You come from the family of legendary filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak. To what extent have his films influenced you?
Parambrata: He passed away a few years before I was born. I grew up the same way other boys in Kolkata grow up at that time. And to be honest, Satyajit Ray has more influence on me than Ritwik Ghatak. However, as I watched more and more films I began to discover the relevance of Ghatak's films. He never wanted to make a film for the sake of doing it; he tried to write an epic though his every film. He depicted his time, and I think an artiste should have that approach to represent his time and its history.
Is there any particular type of character you're very much drawn to?
Parambrata: I love darker characters. Though I don't do many of them, I have a fascination for it. To me, a protagonist who is an embodiment of right and wrong is superior to a protagonist who has no negative side to him at all. Every individual has an element of darkness in their personality, and one can never be a human without grey shades. That is why grey characters call out to me.
If you are asked to advise emerging actors, what would be that advice?
Parambrata: It is important to choose which medium of acting one is choosing. Theatre is a big platform, but film is entirely different. It requires a sense of film, and knowledge about its language. If anyone wants to be a film actor, they should know more about acting in cinema aside from acting in general.