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Mahaakshay Chakraborty On His Startling Change Into An Overweight Nerd In Jogira Sara Ra



How on earth did director  Kushan Nandy think of you  for  this part?

I met the casting director Jogiji  in 2018…I keep doing that…meet casting directors, do auditions  read lines. The casting directors say they will get back which they hardly ever do, for whatever reasons. But Jogiji remembered me. He told me  to do an audition for this role of an overweight nerd in Jogira Sara Ra. He  made me  hear the story and I loved it.I did the audition and it was forwarded to Kushant Sir who really liked it.He wanted me on board.

What was your  preparation?

We started  shooting for Jogira Sa Ra just two days before the official lockdown for Covid in 2020.  We shot for two days  and  then we had to stop . In that brief shooting spell before Covid I was completely different from  what I am in the film as you see it now.Earlier it was  someone far more appealing,  a regular guy who would  have no problem in wooing the heroine.At the end of 2020, Kushal Sir called me to his office.I thought I was going to be removed  from the film. That’s what  happened to me 90 percent  of the time.  Big producers have signed me with contracts.And then just days before shooting, I was told  I was no longer part of their film.

That  must have been mortifying?

It was. I thought it as going to happen again. But this time my stars were kind to me. Instead I was told that there will be a complete overhaul for Lallu’s character.  They needed to make him look completely opposite to what we shot  before  the lockdown.That’s how my character has emerged as  bulked  up and nerdy. Kushan Sir wanted me to be overweight  and he wanted my face to be especially puffed up.We made the character simple and  harmless but also weird.We wanted audiences to see that weirdness beyond the  cuteness which my co-star Neha Sharma, who is a very pretty lady,  saw every time she looked at Lallu.My body language,the way I spoke , the way I rode the bike,  all conveyed that sense  of weirdness about my character.

It worked. You are  the best thing about Jogira Sara Ra. But didn’t you feel this role could harm your career?

Thank you, Sir. But what career  are you talking about? My career  has been the way it is for the last fifteen years. So honestly I had nothing to lose(laughs uneasily). The era of heroes with  six packs and veins popping out of your arms and how much you can lift in  the gym,  is over . The audience  is  now smart  enough to recognize the acting capabilities  of an actor and that is  why I decided to give this role  a shot.As an actor it is a challenge for me.Luckily  I am not slotted yet. I am basically just a puppet in any genre.So many  people  have congratulated me. It was a risk but it paid off, because like I said , I had nothing to lose.

How have you coped with so many years  of  struggle?

There is  a  famous  line from the MMS fighter George Sain Pierre. He said that even waiting is training. In that sense I have been training myself, to be calm focused to keep giving a hundred percent of myself. Of course there were days, weeks  even months when I would just give up and say, ‘Screw it. I am done.’ To get up every day with the  hope that one call is going to change your career and to see that hope crushed every night , it takes a  lot of practice.Then you get used to it..So in this stage of my life, I have come to know that everything means something or nothing at all , depending on how you see it.Neither success nor failure ,good or bad, nothing is permanent. You just have keep trying.One day your prayers will be answered.That’s how  I’ve been coping. Even now I am waiting. Even tomorrow I will be waiting. Even my dad (Mithun Chakraborty)  after reaching the  top of the mountain , had to find  another  mountain to climb. So the struggle  continues, whether  you are successful or not.

What is  the one career advice that  your father has given you?

To be an honest human being. Let’s say I become a superstar and  I am  am a total jerk people will  favour me until my stars shine. Once I am no longer successful I will be thrown out . More than success it is your   goodness as a human being  that matters. I believe kindness  not hatred  is the weapon to conquer  the world. That’s what my father has taught me.

What do you have to say to those who think star kids are products  of nepotism?

99 percent of the world thinks very negatively of  star kids. You won’t believe this. But someone on Instagram  has commented that he always believed I was a product of nepotism, but after Jogira Sara Ra he has become my fan.We are not ‘star kids’. We are not treated special. When I go to the gym, many people don’t talk to me  as they have this preconceived hatred  towards  children of stars. All of us are struggling. I am  the perfect  evidence that nepotism doesn’t exist. You know what a legend my father is. He has earned every bit of his success. But has his success helped me? No absolutely not! I am just like  like any struggler.And I don’t want any special  privileges for being someone’s son.  Today whatever praise I am getting for  Jogira Sara  Ra I have earned it on my own. My parents  are so proud of me. After  so long people are praising me. It took fifteen  years. But finally  it did pay off.  It has been a hard journey. Each actors has his own battles to fight. This is my battle.And I love the fight.I hope reading about my struggle, some struggler  out there gets motivated.

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