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Prosenjit Chatterjee On His OTT Debut In Prime Video’s Jubilee
Starting his career as a child actor playing his real-life father matinee-idol Biswajeet Chatterjee’s screen-son in Duti Pata in 1983, Prosenjit has carved a unique place for himself in Bangla cinema as an actor of tremendous transformative abilities. As he now steps into a new arena and that too in Hindi, Prosenjit is very excited about Jubilee on Amazon’s Prime Video as his maiden move into the streaming platform.
Says Prosenjit, “Even before the pandemic I had decided to spend a lot of time in Mumbai exploring career options. The OTT platform is a blessing for actors and technicians from all across India.The OTT has broken the language barrier. We no longer make just films in Bengali, Marathi,Telugu, etc. We make Indian films. I want too explore cinema in languages other than Bangla. I’ve done Hindi and South Indian films.When Rituparno Ghosh did Chokher Bali in 2003 it did so well all over India back then.When Mr Mani Ratnam did Roja it became a pan-India hit. These were exceptions back then. Now they have become a habit.”
When Prosenjit was offered Jubilee he was immediately bowled over. “If you remember the last film I did in Hindi was with Dibakar Banerjee(Shanghai). That was such an enriching experience for me!During the last few years I’ve worked with several new-age directors in Bangla who have projected me on screen in new ways.When Vikramaditya Motwane came to me with Jubilee I was aware of his impressive work in the past. I was immediately interested. Also, Vikramaditya said something to me that clinched the matter for me.”
Apparently Vikramaditya Motwane wrote Jubilee especially for Prosenjit.
Concurs Proenjit, “He said they were writing Jubilee for almost five years, and that he had me in mind while writing the character of Srikant Roy. I was so touched. Vikramaditya had never met me. He may have seen some of my work,that’s it. Here was this young talented director telling me he had me in mind for a major role.It meant a lot to me.”
In Bangla Prosenjit is the undisputed . The actor doesn’t dispute that. “But it is now time to explore other avenues. This is where the OTT came in. The OTT is an extremely important platform today.I’ve always respected every platform.I’ve seen two of the country’s biggest star-actors Mr Amitabh Bachchan and Mr Soumitra Chatterjee accord the same respect to cinema and television. From them, I’ve learnt it is not the size of the screen, but what you do with it that matters.”
Prosenjit’s work in films like Bikram Singha, Jatishwar and Shob Charitro Kalponik define modern Bengali cinema . “That maybe so. But you can’t rest on your laurels. You have to move on , explore. That’s what I am doing with Jubilee. The script , treatment era and aura reminded me of one of my favourite films, Guru Dutt’s Kagaz Ke Phool. I got the same vibes in Jubilee. You remember that shot of Guru Dutt entering the studio waving to fans? I was reminded of that shot while doing Jubilee. I was deeply honoured to be part of a series that in its own way, pays a tribute to all those filmmakers who made Indian cinema what it is.There are so many things about our cinema that younger generations will learn from watching Jubilee. It goes back to the roots of Indian cinema. The spoken words in Jubilee have a poetic feel to it.I completely related to the ambience and dialogues.Mine is a very strong character.”
Prosenjit saw no difference in shooting a feature film and a web series. “The way Vikramaditya Motwane has shot Jubilee, it was far more challenging than a feature film. It is like shooting ten feature films at the same time. The kind of outdoor sets depicting the past in film studios …I’ve shot in such studios in the past. Entering Motwane’s set gave me goosebumps. It was deja vu.For me it was like doing four films. Interestingly Prime Video is releasing it in two parts . The gap in-between would be like that tradition interval in our films.”
There is much curiosity to see what Prosenjit has done in Jubilee? “I’ve done my best. Not just me, all the actors are brilliant.I shared a wonderful rapport with all of them. It felt like I had been working with them for many years. The treated me like a guardian, an elder brother.I really enjoyed working with the young team. I’ve so much to learn from them.When I see Nawaz giving his performance, or Ritwick Chakraborty in Kolkata I feel, ‘Yaar mere se toh yeh nahin hoga’. There are young actors doing things I had never thought of.They make me very very hungry as an actor.”