In the about-to-release Drishtikone Bangla cinema’s most distinguished living actor Prosenjit Chatterjee plays a man who loses his eyesight and then regains it partially.
Says Prosenjit softly, “My character has a chance to regain sight in both his eyes. But he chooses not to. He opts for just one eye to be restored because he feels there’re so many in the world who need that one eye to see…It’s an idealistic thought, yes. But I do feel we need to tap the humanism within us for mankind to survive.”
Drishtikone marks Prosenjit’s first collaboration with multiple National award-winning director Koushik Ganguly.
Pronsenjit says he fell in love with Drishtikone when he heard the subject. “Yes . it took really long for the two of us(directorKoushik Ganguly and Prosenjit) to come together. But now we’re doing two back-to-back films together. The first is Drishitkone and then we’ve also completed a film called Kishore Kumar Junior which will release during Durga Puja. I play a Kishore Kumarfan.We got the chance to use a lot of Kishore Kumar’s Bangla and Hindi songs in this film. It was fun.”
It helped that Prosenjit’s co-star in Drishtikone is the super-talented Rituparna Sengupta.
Says Prosenjit appreciatively, “Ritu and I have done so many films together, we instinctively know how to approach a scene.It’s a very rewarding collaboration.”
Drishtikone was tough to shoot. Prosenjit had to go through the film a fake eye lens. “I play a man with vision in one eye.We got a special lens from the US.”
Wearing the lens was hazardous to the actor’s eyes. “We consulted a doctor who said I shouldn’t wear the lens continuously while shooting. So I would take it off after a couple of hours of shooting. It was a lot of painful physical work But all worth it.”
But then when has Prosenjit ever shied away from painful work?
He smiles modestly. “I think it must have been a decade back in my career when I decided that doing the safe commercial cinema was not my cup of tea.I could’ve made lots more money and I ‘d have got the taalis and ceetees for doing the matinee-idol roles. But I preferred to take the unconventional route.”
Working with directors as diverse and dynamic as the late Rituparno Ghosh(Utsav, Dosor, The LastLear) , BuddhadevDasgputa(Swapner Din), Goutam Ghose(Money Manush), Srijit Mukherjee(Autograph, Baishe Shrabon, Jateshwar) Proseenjithasestablished a formidable reputation for character-transformation comparable with the legendary Soumitra Chatterjee with whomProsenjitshared screen space in his last film.
Recalling the experience fondly Prosenjit says, “I finally got to act with Soumitrda in Mayuraskshi last year. It was memorable experience. When the film became a success I was over the moon. But to my surprise Mayurakshi had more waiting for. Recently it was re-released in selected theatres of Kolkata and it ran to full houses even in the second release.”
The actor who confesses he lives breathes eats and sleep with cinema, sees a lesson in the Mayurakshi experience. “Audiences’ tastes are changing even in Bengal where the conventional potboiler is not acceptable anymore. I am so glad to see the younger generation of actors also attempting something different. Riddhi Sen who has won the National award for best actor is just 19,a child whom I’ve seen grow up in front of me.”
Expressing optical of the National film awards this year Prosenjit says, “I was so happy to see so many regional-language films from many states includes Bengal getting recognition at the National film awards this. And the Awards’ chairperson expressed such joy at the diversity and excellence of regional cinema. I am so glad to be a small part of the movement towards regional cinema acquiring an identity.”