Parambrata Chattopadhyay on doing ‘handpicked’ Hindi movies and playing an idealist in ‘Bulbbul’

Bedika

New Delhi, Jun 27 (PTI) Bengali film star Parambrata Chattopadhyay says he may have missed on some great opportunities in Hindi cinema but the movies that come to him from Mumbai are “handpicked” and by directors who really want to work with him.

One of the biggest names in Bengali cinema, Parambrata made his Hindi film debut with Sujoy Ghosh’s thriller “Kahaani” in 2012. His other Hindi projects include “Gangs of Ghosts”, “Yaara Silly Silly” and “Pari', where he worked with actor-producer Anushka Sharma.

In “Bulbbul”, produced by Anushka and her brother Karnesh Ssharma's Clean Slate Filmz, Parambrata plays the role of an emancipated man of medicine.

“There are two reasons for me to do few films in Hindi. I have my priorities here as I juggle a lot of hats- I make films myself, I produce content for my company and I have a lot of films as an actor here. That has always made me not leave my roots and settle in Mumbai,” the actor told PTI in an interview.

“Maybe I have missed out on some great opportunities but it is partly by choice and partly because of the consequences of the choice I made. The Hindi films that I have done or I will do in future are handpicked and have come from directors who want to work with me. That’s mainly how it has panned out,” he explained.

The 40-year-old actor said director Anvita Dutt’s “Bulbbul”, set in the late 19th century Bengal, was one such project. It is the story of a child bride who grows up to be an enigmatic woman whose life is overshadowed by strange killings in her village.

As doctor Sudip, Parambrata said he plays a modern man with ideas of equality and emancipation in the Netflix movie that examines patriarchy through the legend of witch.

“Sudip is ahead of his time but he knows that if he wishes to see the change in the society, he has to take one step at a time. He can’t go around shouting about those changes so he has become a man of medicine.

“Speaking the kind of language he speaks or the way he thinks, was very rare for the era. The world was a different place back then. He is an idealist who knows how to go about in life realist manner,” the actor said.

The legend of ‘chudail’ or witch has been a part of many a childhood stories but Parambrata said he became aware of the word only after watching Hindi movies.

“We learnt about the word ‘chudail’ only after we started watching Hindi films and getting exposed to the Hindi language and culture because for us, it is essentially ‘pretni’ or ‘shakchunni’. The stories are similar in the sense that they live on the trees and come down at night to devour men,” he said.

But these stories, he said, are a essentially a social construct trying to make women behave in a non-threatening way.

“Every time a girl or a woman would behave in what society perceived to be in an unwomanly way or try to do something in what is usually a man’s domain, she would be called ‘chudail’ or ‘pretni’.

“So it brings us to the question ‘is it really about the supernatural tilt in it or about alienating women when they acquire more power,?‘Bulbbul’ tries to hit it in a way.” The actor, who is known for his films like “Apur Panchali”, “Cinemawala”, “Shonar Pahar” and “Samantaral, believes horror or the supernatural genre is finally coming-of-age in India where it is not just a scary story, connected with a temple or an old mansion.

“If you look at classic horror films that are considered the bible in the genre, every single of them are a comment on a certain aspect of our existence. Like 'The Shining’ is a comment on loneliness and existence in general.

“It is only in India that we perceive horror films as a never ending scare fest, usually connected with a temple or an old ‘haveli’. But in the last few years, Indian cinema has grown exponentially in terms of its content. Different genres are coming of age and filmmakers are making important comments on larger social issues while still being rooted in the genres.

“Bulbbul” also features Rahul Bose, Paoli Dam, Tripti Dimri and Avinash Tiwary. PTI BK SHD SHD