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Home Bollywood Shakuntala Devi was ahead of her time: Jisshu Sengupta

Shakuntala Devi was ahead of her time: Jisshu Sengupta

Written by Priyanka Sharma
| Mumbai |

Printed: July 28, 2020 7:47:21 am


Jisshu Sengupta’s Shakuntala Devi will stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Jisshu Sengupta hates watching himself on display. In his profession spanning greater than twenty years, the Bengali star has seen just a few of his movies. “I watch myself throughout dubbing and that’s it. I find out about my performances from household and associates and I’m okay with that. I’m by no means glad.”

The actor maybe channels this dissatisfaction into his pursuit for work throughout mediums and languages. It made him threat stardom on tv for an enormous display stint, and later turned him in the direction of Bollywood and movies in South. Jisshu shifted to Mumbai virtually three years in the past and now has three Hindi movies in his slate, starting with the Shakuntala Devi biopic.

Forward of Shakuntala Devi’s launch, Jisshu Sengupta speaks to indianexpress.com concerning the movie releasing on-line, enjoying Paritosh Banerjee and the Bengali character stereotype that’s turn out to be a continuing in Hindi movies.

As an actor, does it matter to you which of them medium your movie is releasing on?

As an actor, I’d positively need my movie to launch on the massive display. You wish to see your self bigger than life, however that is additionally nice as a result of in a single go, it’ll launch in 200 nations which is big. There are execs and cons. You possibly can’t actually evaluate each of them. So, I assume, you must glide.

When Gulabo Sitabo was up for launch, Ayushmann Khurrana had stated it took him a while to get satisfied about its digital premiere. Had been you up for the digital launch of Shakuntala Devi in a single go?

I used to be up for it immediately once I received the news. The truth is, Vikram Malhotra known as me up and stated that we’re planning to do that on Amazon Prime. We actually don’t know when the lockdown will get over. Lockdown is over in a number of states however going again to the theaters, I don’t know when persons are going to try this.

It’s a time when all the pieces is unsure, so it’s nice that individuals will get to see the movie. They may watch the film at any time when they wish to.

What about Shakuntala Devi’s story or maybe about your character, Paritosh Banerji, made you wish to be part of the movie?

It’s completely the story. It’s a captivating journey of this girl. We don’t understand how she was. We don’t know what was her relationship along with her husband and daughter. While you see the movie, you’ll know why I’m saying this. Individuals are going to know the human facet of Shakuntala Devi.

Quite a lot of occasions what occurs with biopics is that they turn into hogwash. There was constant criticism that biopics solely brush over the features of the celebrated personalities with out actually delving into who they’re. Did you’ve gotten these issues while you joined Shakuntala Devi?

I knew little or no of her. So, once I learn the script, I discovered it very fascinating. She was a lady forward of her time. She was daring, courageous and all the pieces a lady could be. That was attention-grabbing. Then the way in which she has dealt along with her relationships. Individuals ought to learn about her. Individuals, who’re into Arithmetic, ought to know what she was all about.

Additionally, working with Vidya was on my thoughts. I’m an enormous fan of Vidya so this was an awesome alternative for me to work along with her.

In keeping with my restricted data, Paritosh and Shakuntala Devi’s relationship was past the worldly understanding no less than at the moment. Shakuntala Devi wrote a e-book, The World of Homosexuals. How did you method Paritosh’s sexuality and his dynamics along with her?

If I’ve to speak about Paritosh, this side of his life and his equation with Shakuntala Devi, then I’ve to say plenty of issues that I can’t, and I don’t wish to as a result of then I’ll give away the crux of the connection. That’s the story of Paritosh and Shakuntala Devi.

However, I’ve executed a movie earlier, the place I performed a bisexual. It’s Rituparno Ghosh’s Chitrangada. It was additionally a movie forward of its time. And it was primarily based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novel. Everybody ought to come out with their preferences. That is one thing pure. It shouldn’t be a taboo. I knew Ritu da intently, and I do know it’s painful for individuals. All of us want to speak about it. It can’t be a taboo.

How was the actor-to-actor equation with Vidya Balan?

She is a prankster! We used to have plenty of enjoyable. There have been two Bengalis on the set, our affiliate director and myself. And Vidya speaks Bengali very well. So, more often than not, we might take a look at director Anu Menon and speak in Bengali. She would suppose we had been speaking about her. We might speak very significantly. It was Vidya’s name to play a prank on Anu. We used to chuckle a lot.

I don’t have phrases to explain working with Vidya. She is a stunning soul. I’ve executed a movie along with her earlier, however we didn’t have a lot interplay then. So, on my first day on the Shakuntala Devi set, I used to be a bit shaky. It’s ‘The Vidya Balan’. However the way in which she began it off, it felt like we knew one another for no less than 100 years and executed 200 movies collectively! She made me really feel comfy. The truth is, the day I wrapped up the movie, I didn’t even realise, and I used to be like, ‘The movie is completed? Are we not going to satisfy anymore?’ The time simply flew.

When you find yourself enjoying a real-life particular person, is the sense of duty rather more than whereas bringing a fictional character on display?

Completely. For me, the script is the bible as a result of the director has seen the movie earlier than we go on the flooring. So, she or he is aware of precisely what they need out of the character. What I must know are the traits of that particular person. How he used to speak, stroll, and so forth.

In Paritosh Banerjee’s case, we haven’t seen him. That was a plus for me as a result of I might do no matter I needed to do with the character. Every part else I received to know from Anu and Vidya as they’d met Shakuntala Devi’s daughter Anupama Banerjee in London. They received to learn about Paritosh. Anu spoke to me at size about him. So, I learnt about his mannerism and added my very own issues to it.

Does that sense of duty ever limit you as an artiste, contemplating there’s little room to experiment or take inventive liberties whereas enjoying a real-life particular person?

That’s why I’m an actor. That’s what my duties are. That’s the problem that we’ve to take when I’m a part of a biopic. When I’m being chosen for such a personality, I’m positive the makers have seen one thing in me. That’s the one thought at all times in my thoughts, that I’ve been taken for a cause. They should have seen one thing in me, which is like that character. It provides me that liberty to experiment and in addition determine how I can present that further edge to that character. That is how I take a look at it.

In your physique of labor in Hindi movies, you’ve gotten principally performed Bengali characters and plenty of these movies have been helmed by Bengali administrators. Do you imagine that when a personality is performed by an actor, who speaks that language and belongs to that area, the illustration is extra genuine?

If you’re taking a Bengali actor for a Bengali character, she or he could be figuring out extra nuances a couple of Bengali particular person. It’s simpler for the director to movie that character. The director can, actually, ask the actor what a Bengali would say or how she or he would react in a sure state of affairs. So, yeah, in all probability that helps.

However on the finish of the day, we’re all actors and I imagine I can play completely different type of characters. Like, once I first did a Telugu movie – NTR: Kathanayakudu – I used to be shocked that Krish (the director) might forged me in a Telugu movie and in a personality who speaks that language. I requested him, ‘Sir, how will I do that? I don’t perceive the language.’ He informed me, ‘That’s as much as me. You don’t fear. Overlook about it.’ I did it.

After that, I did two extra Telugu movies and doubtless, I will likely be doing yet one more on the finish of this yr. So, on the finish of the day, it’s the director’s imaginative and prescient. If I match their visualisation, I needs to be there.

However do you’re feeling there’s a Bengali character stereotype in Hindi movies and does that hassle you?

Sure, there may be. It doesn’t hassle me as a result of if the movie and character works, it really works for everybody. So it doesn’t matter how I really feel. What issues is, if I just like the movie or not. Phrases like ‘Aami tomaay bhalobashi’ (I really like you) or ‘Aami roshogolla khete bhalobashi’ (I really like consuming roshogolla) – these are some things {that a} Bengali in a Hindi movie will discuss. They may say this in a lot of the movies. However there are such a lot of different issues on the market as a Bengali you are able to do. However on the finish of the day, the way you place it, the way you recreate that on display and the way your director is showcasing the character issues.

It has modified quite a bit now as a result of there are actors from Punjab, South and North East. Every kind of actors are coming and dealing in numerous languages. Because of OTT platforms, it has opened up for different state actors to come back in and work in nationwide and worldwide areas. So, it’s nice {that a} crossover is occurring now.

It’s been a profession of 22 years, in numerous mediums and completely different languages. While you look again, what would you depend as the most important takeaway out of your journey?

That may be a really brief query or a extremely heavy one! On the finish, I’ve to ask myself, ‘Am I completely happy?’ If I’m, then happiness is the takeaway. Or if I ask, ‘Am I not glad but?’ As a result of that additionally occurs. As actors, we’re by no means glad. Particularly me. I don’t like to look at my movies as a result of I will likely be depressed on the finish of it, considering I might have executed higher. I haven’t seen 80 per cent of my Bengali movies. I hate myself on display.

So, I wish to do extra good work. I’m proud of the final 22 years of my life. The best way individuals have beloved me. From main in tv, beginning my movie profession as a fourth lead then slowly turning into the primary lead, doing back-to-back six movies with Rituparno Ghosh. And now for the final two and a half years shifted to Bombay, working in Hindi movies after which doing Telugu movies. I couldn’t have requested for extra.

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