Length does not matter but relevance does-Prosenjit Chatterjee
Debarati S Sen (BOMBAY TIMES; June 21, 2012)
At four, he first faced the camera, and at 16, he was a hero. Prosenjit Chatterjee, now 325 films old, holds a record of 22 releases in a single year. In a candid interview with BT, the actor talks about Shanghai and why he agreed to do such a small role.
It has been more than a decade since your last Hindi movie. Is Shanghai your comeback here?
One of the main reasons I said yes to Dibakar Banerjee was because I have always found him to be a good director. Even in one single scene he can make an actor work in a very different way. I do not consider Shanghai as my Bollywood comeback. I have never taken working here seriously though I have got calls. Of course I am open to good work but I haven’t exactly planned a comeback.
Didn’t the length of your role in Shanghai bother you?
Length of a role isn’t important, rather the character is. I believe that the character should be so important that if it does not stand, the film does not stand at all. I’d do a movie with a great character, a sensible director, despite having just one or two scenes. When Dibakar offered me this role, the first thing I asked was, ‘Why do you need Prosenjit Chatterjee in this movie?’ It took him two months to convince me to say yes to the role. He made me believe that this role could only be done by me and no one else. He needed a big star, yet someone who had the simplicity to be convincing and could move people.
Do you think it is a trend that older actors are being accepted more easily these days? You are working with very young actors.
This age (above 45 -50) is the most difficult time for an actor who is the typical Indian hero doing naachgaana, fights and romantic roles. If you look at the entire history of Indian cinema, you will notice that no one carries on as the typical hero past this age. They go into a crisis. This was my challenge. I had decided that I will enjoy the most during this period of my life. The best time in my career started after 45.
Are you comfortable in Bollywood?
Around 15-16 years ago, I used to feel very out of place in Mumbai. Maybe because every region has a different way of working. Now, I am very comfortable with the film industry here. I have just done one film, but I know Sujoy Ghosh and his entire team so well. I am close to Shoojit Sircar. I find the people here are very friendly, very young and they respect actors yet know how to extract what they want from them. If a good director and a good role comes along, why not?
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