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1) Tell us your story. How did you get started with your career?
Ok, this is kind of long. But I always loved my time on stage as I would act in plays a lot. It was a school and college thing but over time, I met teachers and professors who impressed upon me the idea that I should look towards making a career in film. So, while still doing my post grads I started working sporadically as an assistant for some projects from outside town. I had amazingly lucky trysts with directors from France and ended up assisting in a couple of their projects before I took up a more full time assistant director role with national award winning director, Mr. Srijit Mukherjee.
But here’s the fun part. From out of nowhere, luck struck me like lightning and someone at a television channel in Kolkata showed the casting executives my photos when they were looking for fresh faces. I got a call, and voila…in a few years, here I am.
2) How do you feel about your latest piece, It’s Complicated? What did you enjoy about the experience?
In two words? The freedom. The creative freedom was a fabulous experience and it forced all the actors to think in a very different way to how we are used to during our preparation for roles. It’s like a high for an actor to be afforded such freedom. And yes, I will put my hands up and say I made very many mistakes during the shoot, probably the most in number amongst us. But the learning from each mistake has left me a far better actor and in a way I fell in love with acting a little bit more at the end of it all.
3) What do you enjoy the most about acting? Is it your sole passion, and why or why not?
It allows me to be so many people in a lifetime. I can be a doctor, an engineer, a caveman, a singer (but I can’t sing to save my life), a hero, a villain, a very normal guy and then some. It fulfills me in so many ways, I cannot really explain. It is my greatest passion but it has stiff competition from my love for writing. There’s a different high to writing as well. I guess, I really love both with a passion because it helps me to connect with people, touch people’s lives and it helps me make people feel a whole range of emotions and the look in their eyes when they’ve felt it is my greatest reward. Probably the reason why I would spend so much of my time as a child and teenager on stage.
4) Outside of working on projects like this, what else do you enjoy doing?
As an actor? There’s nothing better than projects like this. I do enjoy working on stuff which helps me learn and grow as an actor.
When I’m not acting I enjoy almost the same things that everyone does.
I enjoy reading, long walks and kullar ki chai. I like sitting with close friends and sharing mindless laughs. But mostly, give me a pen, a quiet room, a cup of coffee and lovely weather and you won’t see me for hours because I’m just sitting there, in my own world, writing.
5) What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and how did you/are you combating it?
I think it’s been challenging being someone who has no background in film or television to break into this world and sustain even moderate success. I am a first generation actor from my family and when I told everyone at home, I am going to work in film and television (the web platform was not really there back then) it left everyone worried.
Two fold, I think the challenges of finding my way in the dark trying to figure how to make it work and often facing some resistance at the door from those unwilling to let newbies in and by sustained effort convincing my family that I have a career in this world. These were the two greatest challenges in my career so far. And I guess I just chose to not give up even when it felt like I should.
I still feel like that at times, but the love of what I do has consumed me such that no matter how many suggestions reach my ear or mind that I am not good enough (yes, actors hear that A LOT and not just me, anyone you could name), the effort to stand up to any problem is worth the trouble in the end. So we fight our way through because of the love of what we do.
6) What is your biggest success and why do you take pride in it?
Oh, it’s when some people who’ve watched me on television or otherwise, they come up to me and tell me how sad, happy, angry and proud they were that my character on a show or a series they watched did a certain something. I take pride in the fact that I can make them feel something so strongly even if it is for a while. It’s what I live for as an actor and for me I will take pride in it every day.
7) If you could work with any actor/actress, who would you choose?
Anthony Hopkins, Eyes Closed. That would be such a dream come true.
8) Any advice for aspiring actors?
Do not give in or give up unless you fall out of love with acting. Success is relative, fame and fortune is fleeting and time is an equalizer. So if you work hard, even if it is years from now, you will be rewarded. But regrets are permanent. If you give up too soon because you felt love is not worth fighting for, you’ll regret it over the years. As long as you love acting, keep at it, you will win eventually.
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