By Rituparna Sengupta Basu
Abhishek Banerjee, who ventured into Amazon’s Audible show ‘Boots Belts Berets’ as a audible narrator and finds it as an extremely unique experience working in this platform. The Audible show is a tale of four boys who have a thirst to join NDA and how they confront the set of affairs in subduing their targets. It is worth listening!
In an exclusive interview with Expresso Magazine, Abhishek shares about his journey from actor to a audible narrator in a podcast show, and why Boots, Belts and Berets is special to him.
Foremost, heartily congratulations for your first audible project. How was your experience narrating the show ‘Boots Belts Berets’?
Abhishek: Being an actor, I had a remarkable experience performing as audible narrator. You know, story telling is an inseparable part of Indian culture. Everyone is used to hear and enjoy stories since childhood. But, in this modern age, our schedules have become much hectic. With the passage of time, reading habit of a person is falling down at length. With narration everything starts – storytelling, and performance as an actor. It was really exciting to have an opportunity to read the book personally and also to express audibly to the audience in a very skillful manner. People who never receive a chance to live the life of a cadet in NDA, would definitely love listening this show.
The show is in audible form. As a narrator, you could only show your emotions while doing it. Therefore, how difficult was it for you to do something like this?
Abhishek: Voice modulation was definitely the most demanding part of the show. It is extremely mandatory in theatre; You play various characters and require to throw the voice to a big section of the audience while maintaining modulation. It takes a long time to be perfect as a audible narrator. I was unfamiliar with it and yearned for my best performance. You know only audible narration is completely different from acting. So, bringing the performance into a proper rhythm was also challenging. I had to become very specific and perfect about the words, sentiments and expressions that I used. It was too sweating to keep the voice distinct between the characters. But, as I understood the characters, rhythm and dialect through the book, everything became easier and gratifying to me.
Audible shows are much closer to the heart and soul of the artiste as he plumbs up his innermost emotions to make it remarkable. Do you feel it difficult to detach from the character after the narration?
Abhishek: See, as I have told you earlier, it is all about voice modulation. On personal grounds, I have never indulged with the backstories of this show. I was simply narrating and giving my voice to the multiple parts. In that way, of course, I enjoyed my performance as an audible narrator a lot. Finally, what stays with me is the overall journey of the show and the hard work.
Life is a long journey of ups and downs. It teaches so many lessons to us. What type of impact did the entire audible show left on you?
Abhishek: For me, it is a very inspirational journey. It’s not only about patriotism but also how we build our society and how are we built in it. Performing as an audible narrator I learnt that discipline is very important in life to achieve the goals. Discipline is the only means that brings success in life.
The theme of the book is very admirable. Do you sense that this audible story should be turned into an OTT film or series?
Abhishek: Absolutely yes. This Audible show would be widely popular if turned into an OTT film or series. We have so many fictional stories of victory and success which don’t have the backstories but this one has. It is associated to the audience heart. Besides, being a motivational story, this audible show is exceptionally entertaining. It is full of love, emotions, training, fun and much more that makes it most engaging.
Memory is a garden and treasury of all things. Can you recall any one scene from the show which is saved deeper in your heart?
Abhishek: In The Audible show there is a a scene in which army men takes shelter behind a tank to smoke and talking about the life is one of my favourite scenes. I also love the post Kargil war scene in which army men once again sit together and converse with each other. That part shows how the boyhood transforms gradually into the manhood. These two scenes are really heart throbbing.
In last two years, human life got badly disturbed owing to pandemic. So, what are your personal expectations from 2022?
Abhishek: Obviously, the pandemic time was very crucial. Now, People are trouble motivated and gradually coming out from the mental stress. This year is slowly creeping to the end and people are calmly getting into the rhythm. I hope and wish that the remaining part of this year and the coming one will be safer, prosperous and happy for all of us.