By Rituparna Sengupta Basu
Saswata Chatterjee essays the character of Abhijit Ganguly in Saptaswa Basu’s directorial debut Network. Saswata’s deft portrayal of the character with shades of comic shades was loved by the audience. Till now, he has successfully negotiated and pulled off all his roles with immaculate dexterity.
His portrayal of Bob Biswas in’ Kahani’, Nilkanta Bagchi in ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ and Shabar Dasgupta from ‘Shabar Trilogy’ has earned him the respect of both moviegoers and critics. In a quick chat, Saswata shares some thoughts about his movie, his upcoming Bollywood projects and everything else about himself.
Expresso: How is the character of Network different from the others you have portrayed?
Saswata: I have done many films and every character I essayed has been different from the rest. In this movie, I play a negative character, Abhijit Ganguly, who is the protagonist with layers of negative shades. He takes revenge from people who betrayed him once. He invites them to his own designed reality show and suffocates them in their ambition. This is the synopsis of this movie and forms the crux of the whole story. I have done quite a large number of offbeat roles which was enjoyable as it is more difficult to portray unconventional roles rather than being a romantic hero.
Expresso: Do you relate yourself with Abhijit Ganguly?
Saswata: I don’t relate to this character and I have never found any relatable character as I am different from all the roles that I have played. I don’t believe in revenge, I believe in avoiding and I have too much positive energy to think about any negativity. This character was very challenging but I loved doing it.
Expresso: Tell Us about Saptaswa Basu and his choice for directing a thriller in his debut?
Saswata: Saptaswa is very talented and it was an immense pleasure to working with him. Frankly speaking, I was a little bit scared as I had never done this kind of genre. Reading the script made me extremely confident and I put my faith in Saptaswa. When the trailers came out I was really surprised and what’s more enthralling is the trailer got huge likes on social media. Saptaswa has a whole bunch of young professionals working under him and they were all very excited. These rookies know their job very well and I was immensely satisfied to be a part of this team. That’s why I believed it piqued everyone’s interest and garnered a good response.
Expresso: There is a lot about Feluda vs Topse in the movie? Do you agree?
Saswata: None whatsoever, it’s a class between my character and the one done by Sabyasachi Chakraborty. This has aroused the interests of the audiences. Working with Benu Da is not very difficult as we have been neighbours for a long time. Moreover, I have been working with him since our early theatre days which graduated to television serials and finally ended up working in movies. It is these reasons that I share a fantastic rapport with him.
Expresso: Tell us about your favourite character that you have done and why is it your best portrayal?
Saswata: The character in Kamaleshwar Mukherjee’s ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ is my favourite among the characters that I have done as it is the only character based on the real-life of the legendary Ritwik Ghatak. Playing a character that was popular among the audiences egged me up. It was also a privilege for me to play the part which has been essayed by the doyen Ritwik Ghatak based on his real life. There were lots of expectations to live up to the passion and emotion which was there in the original character and that’s why it is one of my favourites.
Expresso: Would you care to comment on the recent scenario of the web series across India? What’s your take on this?
Saswata: I think web series is the future of Indian Television but it will be impossible to replace the silver screen. You can never replace the joy one derives from watching movies on the big screen. Constraints of time have forced today’s youth to adapt to the small laptop space. Web series are good up to a certain point of time but it is and will always be a temporary measure.
Expresso: In ‘Network’, you essayed the role of a director and you also directed the series apart from acting. Do you feel the urge to direct more movies or web series?
Saswata: Yes, I love to direct but right now I don’t have much time to direct a film because it will need special treatment. A movie takes at least a year to complete. I can’t spare that amount of time right now but maybe sometime shortly things can take a turn for the better.
Expresso: Do you miss the Theatre?
Saswata: Yes, I miss the theatre a lot.
Expresso: What’s your next project? Will we see you in Bollywood?
Saswata: I love to work in Hindi movies and whenever I get a good project I don’t fail to grab it. There are some works in the pipeline but nothing has been finalized as yet. I have done a film of Mukhesh Chabra’s ‘Dil Bechara’ with Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjana which will hit the screens in November. One of the movies will recently go to the floor by director Rajkumar Santoshi. I have also done a film of Saibal Mitra’s ‘Takhan Kuyasa’ which will be released very soon.
Expresso: Describe yourself in one word Hashtag?
Saswata: To describe myself in one word I would say #madness.