Speaking To An Underrated Actor who can play and Underdog as well as Larger than Life easily. In conversation with CHANDRA SHEKHAR DUTTA, FTII alumni, SRC theatre diploma holder, a magical actor whose latest web series ‘Laakhon Mein Ek’ is streaming now at Amazon Prime.
Hailing from a Bengali family of Ranguni Basti, Dhanbad, Dutta did his schooling from Tata DAV School in Sijua. He later moved to Delhi and did his graduation in Hindi. He later pursued a diploma in acting from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, in 2008.
“I even taught acting at a private Institute in Mumbai,” added Dutta who also featured in movies like Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela and Ram Gopal Verma’s Rakhta Charitra 2.
Tell us about your character in ‘Laakhon Mein Ek’ and how did you get it?
I was told by Parag Mehta Sir it’s very clean project. First season was based on Education and second will be based on medical system n has strong plot line. I was auditioned for one of negative lead twice. Audition worked in a different way. Director Abhishek Sengupta noticed something underneath that the intensity and silence that was played can be an angry young man. Looking into my background of work I was told to give one more audition for another character of a villager. I said ‘gaon wala nahi karunga’. Like all time he called me in his office and narrated the story. The whole series was based on a village of CHITRAKATHI Art people, the art is about to vanish and the guy Gandharva is trying to make a market to these Art so that this Art along with its dependent village needs to survive. This clicked me the idea to give contribution being a part. Then I listened to the emotional Arc of the character. The scene auditioned was the opening scene and the slapping scene, and these both worked in auditions greatly. I was given full space to perform and many a times being introvert I and director didn’t speak much but giving each other looks and doing on shot. It proved great.
What got you the roles?
Sincerity and dedication to craft. The people who seriously Believed on me were the people from past and they loved me as I am. Up right, straight forward, hardworking and passionate at the deep level of Obsession to be a part of good Cinema, though I can’t claim right now as many projects are on way to release. I believed in auditions and felt the best way to be quicker and more honest way to ask for a role. It has a way of a great rituals to synthesize your dreams standing in a queue to portraying a role. The want and urgency makes you to live at the edge. You see dreamers, employers and many things there. You meet and greet, certain level of humbleness grows inside you with patience residing to achieve higher. Can say a bit cut throat competition happens but it’s there in any business you seek. I have got roles from the fellow beings who promised past ten years. New people are welcome but it takes a huge amount of patience and understanding to know an actor and make him to a role that many a times had skipped by casting guys or misunderstood. Also I feel art is relative. People have their own preferences. Unbiased and pure way comes when you get clicked and run the market.
Ye ek aisa sawaal hai jo hamesha har project k saath chipak jata hai. I can’t say keeda or something but I have a performer’s personality and I enjoy being transformed into a character and live a situation lively in a given shot.
GULMAKAI, a film based on Nobel Laurette, playing main negative character of the Biopic, Muslim Khan, 65 years old character.
The Last Koan, a Vikram Betal tale in a post-modernist way, playing BETAL KRONOS. Three more projects on posts now.
Where do you find yourself in this Ocean of Bollywood where Sharks also live?
I think it may take some time but I will get it as it might be people from no background who made a background for themselves can be harder for new ones but Craft and Love can bring more compassionate attitude. I will feel and they had to feel. I think the time had not ripened in the past in terms of doing something who is out and out not me but an universal creation through the hands of writer to director to actor. Time has shaped me too in these ten years. By God’s blessings I feel I am getting different kind of roles and important in terms of story where I am demanded to give my potential, where I am made to work hard, practice, research and analyse.
You have worked with Ram Gopal Verma, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Santosh Sivan, what is the difference between working with them and independent or new film makers?
The answer is sorted when you feel you are a professional as well as Cinema student. I feel I own the project which is taken good and positive by senior directors and with whom you have dreamt to work though a small part. But in later ones the roles are demanding everything with an extra care that possessing too much might not hurt others sentiments. Some understand some might get offended, but I try not to look into or poke into other till I am not asked for. One day I will be made a part to have a fair involvement than I can have any say.
After RAAMLEELA and Error 404, also with a Jaya Bachchan ABCL Corp Special scholarship you went unseen or underrated?
I must say I never projected the scholarship till one day I felt I deserve it that is 2 years back when I brought the certificate when there were regular meets with appreciators of TV episodic which even I did very few being choosy about Role and treatment. Certainly I felt certified. I must say the roles in RAAMLEELA and Error 404 were really a great to begin but I didn’t get great offers other than all culprits and dark roles which I couldn’t identify a lot or dreamt. I might have done a few in TV but I took them as part of practice and survival. Actually not much offer. I couldn’t project to people about my talent.
What kind of Roles you would love to?
Roles which revolutionize my being and which can make my potential touch extreme. Roles larger than my persona and requiring lots of home work and artistic abilities, craft and same time entertaining ones.
Bollywood runs with underdog characters, but you have a powerful persona and good features and voice, how will you find yourself as main protagonist in this scenario?
I think good persona is an add on but not everything one should try to challenge his gifts and assets and try to transform if given a chance to play somebody else. I can never be bigger than the roles I play. I can find special things even from the mundane with its truth beauty and moments to live. It’s not an easy question to answer though as I need to get that chance at first step.