Bengali superstar Prasenjit returns to Bollywood

Updated: Apr 27, 2011, 16:08 PM IST

Mumbai: Twenty years after he acted in Mehul Kumar`s eminently forgettable ‘Mere Man Ke Meet’, Bengali superstar Prasenjit has returned to Bollywood with Dibakar Banerjee`s much-discussed political thriller ‘Shanghai’.

Prasenjit made his disastrous Bollywood debut as Mumtaz`s son in David Dhawan`s ‘Andhiyaan’. After tremendous persuasion, Banerjee, known to elicit arresting performances from the unlikeliest of actors, has persuaded Prasenjit to play a role in his film.

Though the director is tight-lipped about the project, Prasenjit says his role is that of a politician who dies under mysterious circumstances.

And no, he`s not playing a Bengali character.

"It`s true that I play a very important role in Dibakar`s film. It`s the role of a socialist and I have a very important political speech in Hindi at the beginning of the film. Meri Hindi theek-thaak hai... But I will have to work on the nuances," says the affable actor.

Prasenjit has gone through the script of ‘Shanghai’, and is left deeply impressed.

"I am so glad I`m working with Dibakar. He`s been after me to do this film for quite some time. Earlier, I had no dates. But now suddenly Annirudha Roy Chowdhary`s film has been postponed. So I have the time to do Dibakar`s film. It`s all destiny," says Prasenjit, adding that he was offered Sooraj Barjatya`s ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’.

"Do you know Sooraj had offered to launch me in Hindi films with ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. But I had just got enormous popularity in Bengali film industry with `Amar Sangi`. I instead chose ‘Andhiyaan’ for my Hindi debut. After that, apart from Mehul Kumar`s film, I stayed away from Hindi films to focus on my Bengali career.

"But I did do a beautiful Hindi film directed by Lekh Tandon with Rukhsar as my co-star. That never got released in theatres. There was another Hindi film `Bharat Bhagya Vidhata` which I was to do. It got shelved. I thought Bollywood and I don`t belong on the same wave-length," the 38-year-old superstar said.

Prasenjit has been staying away from Bollywood for the last two decades. "Very honestly, there was no time to even think of a Hindi film. Now, I`ve reached a stage in my career where I don`t have to be anxious about the box-office. Stardom to ho gaya, now I`m honing my skills as an actor, seeking out roles that challenge me. That`s why I agreed to do `Shanghai`."

The actor says he has no burning desire to do Hindi films on a regular basis. "But if I get the kind of roles that Irrfan Khan does, I don`t mind. `Shanghai` fascinated me because I had to play a politician who commands such awe and respect that even the prime minister is intimidated by his power. I think Dibakar Banerjee saw me in Gautam Ghose`s `Moner Manush` and decided to cast me."

Though unwilling to talk about Prasenjit`s return to Hindi cinema, Banerjee says: "What I find fascinating about Prasenjit is that he is at the peak of stardom. But he`s choosing offbeat roles. For `Moner Manush`, where he played the spiritual leader Fakir Lalan Shah, he grew a beard and spent six months in the real Lalan Shah`s village. Not many actors would do that."