Bengali actors gaining more foothold in Bollywood
Mumbai: Bollywood has always opened its gates for budding talent and there seems to be a sudden demand for Bengali actors in Hindi cinema post the box-office success of Vidya-Balan starrer `Kahaani` and Paoli Dam`s `Hate Story`.
As `Kahaani` director Sujoy Ghosh plans to bring Vidya Balan back as Bidya Bagchi in a sequel, Kolkata and the Bengali stars are set to become more important.
"Writing begins. I have no idea how Balan is going to pull this off. But mine is not to question how, mine is but to write right now. I`m told, just now, that `Kahaani` completes 75 days today. Good day to start writing for the Balan. She will be back," Ghosh posted on his Twitter page recently.
While Balan managed to pull off a very interesting story without any male lead, `Kahaani` strength also lay in its memorable supporting characters, played by Bengali actors like Saswata Chatterjee and Parambrata Chatterjee, the grandson of the legendary filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak.
Saswata`s portrayal of a poker-faced contract killer won him many fans and made him an online craze while Parambrata`s turn as the supportive cop, Rana, was another surprise.
Apart from `Kahaani`, Vikram Bhatt`s much-talked about film `Hate Story` marked the debut of Paoli Dam, another Bengali actress in Bollywood. She created ripples with her bold avatar and bare-back scenes in Vivek Agnihotri directed movie.
"It is every actor`s dream to work in Bollywood but for me it just happened. I had a fantastic welcome in Bollywood. It is a brand in itself. I want to do more films here. If I get good and interesting projects in Bengali then I would definitely do. The Hindi film industry has been accommodating. I had a fantastic experience," Paoli said.
Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee, who left Bollywood after the failure of `Aandhiyaan` and `Meet Mere Man Ke`, is returning to Hindi cinema after two decades with Dibakar Banerjee`s political thriller `Shanghai`.
Prosenjit is playing the role of Dr Ahmadi, a social activist. Dibakar says that though it is not a big role, Prosenjit`s presence overshadows the entire movie.
"It took me three months to open him. He wanted to be very sure before he did anything outside the Bengali film because it would be his first Hindi film after a long time," Dibakar said.
Exploring the dark side of politics and corruption, `Shanghai` is about the dream of turning Indian cities into Shanghai overnight. Dibakar feels it is not easy for superstars of regional cinema to be in Bollywood and this is why they hesitate to star in Hindi films.
"Anybody who comes from regional cinema...For him or her to break through the very insular star system of Bollywood is not easy. When you are respected as the number one in own film industry it’s difficult to sort of accept the fact that you are seen as a new entrant to this industry. Thats where true courage comes in and Prosenjit had it in him," the director said.
Dibakar found it very easy to work with Prosenjit, who had none of the starry tantrums.
"When he (Prosenjit) came here none of the new kids from the unit knew about Bengali cinema and how big he is there but he did not let anyone feel that he was a mega buck star back in Bengal. He was more disciplined than anyone of us. He was there, into the film and focused. He did not let anyone feel that we were dealing with a megastar. We never felt that," he said.
Trade analyst Vinod Mirani feels that it all depends on the movie and its backdrop.
"It all depends upon film to film..Sometimes there is need for Bengali characters, or for the film to be shot in Kolkata hence we have Bengali actors. The best part is that characters are written for them," he said.