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“I want to play an out-and-out negative character”

Bengali actress Mimi Chabraborty won many hearts as Pupe in a television serial called Gaaner Oparey. The talented actress later made her debut to Bengali cinema with her film Bapi Bari Jaa and, since then, she has taken the Bengali film industry by storm. Last seen in Gangster, Mimi talks to Sayali Parab about her films Posto and Dhananjoy, and her dream to work with SLB

From playing Pupe in Gaaner Oparey on television, to playing Ruhi in Gangster, how would you describe your journey from small screen to big screen? Was it tough?

I don’t think it was tough but it was a mixed feeling because it is always said that when you do television, you’ll get typecast and you will get only those kinds of roles. And that happened with me also. I did a very famous television show called Gaaner Oparey, which was directed by Ritupurno Ghosh, so it was a big thing. As it was a Rabindranath Tagore-oriented serial, my character was like… I was 23 but people used to think I was 28 or 29.

After that serial ended, most of the roles I was offered were very similar to that one. But I didn’t want to do films or serials like that. So I waited a year and I got lots of offers but they were all of that same kind of genre. So I said, ‘Mujhse nahi hoga.’ Then, finally, my first movie happened. It was with Prosenjit Chatterjee. He launched me and Shree Venkatesh Films did the distribution. The film was Bapi Bari Jaa and my second movie was Bojhena Shey Bojhena, which was a blockbuster.

How have you evolved as an actor from your first television serial to your latest film, Gangster?

I don’t know how I have evolved as an actor, I think my audience would know better. I just worked for my audience, I’ve done what they wanted me to do. I have done all kinds of roles and now I’m doing a film called Posto and another called Dhananjoy.  I have done so many commercial movies and I am doing another one right now. It’s been a long journey with plenty of learning, and I want to learn more and work some more for my fans.

Can you tell us something about Posto and Dhananjoy?

Posto… At this point in my career, I’m playing a mom, so that’s a big deal. Everybody told me not to do it but I said, ’See, Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Das are among the biggest grossers every year, so let’s take a chance.’ I have always done different types of roles, so let’s give it a chance. This is not a typical mom’s role, it’s just like I am a mom and I have a kid. And there is an issue between working parents and how you keep your kids with the grandparents, and you can’t keep the son or daughter with you because you can’t do their parvarish. So there’s a tiff between the two families and one kid is called ‘Posto’.

I think the audience will connect with my character because it’s not like a proper mom who wears a saree, it’s not like that at all, it’s normal. I have a kid and there are some family issues. It’s basically about that.

And Dhananjoy is a realistic story, where I play a lawyer. It’s a fictional character but I am taking up for Dhananjoy the protagonist of the film. Whatever we know about Dhananjoy is negative but actually usko kyun faasi hui thi is a different story.

What kind of preparation did you have to do to play a lawyer and a mother?

I had to do a lot of workshops because these are two characters I am not used to. I had to do long workshop sessions.

Dhananjoy is based on a real-life incident. How emotionally challenging was it for you to be a part of this film?

Too much. It takes an emotional toll on your mind because you have to cry a lot. Also, basically, most of my sequences are in court, so there can’t be any NGs. You have to walk here and there, plus there are three four cameras and I had to talk to the lawyer. It did take an emotional toll. Moreover, it’s such an emotional story, so portraying it was difficult.

You’ve worked with some of the best talents of Bengali cinema, like Rituparno Ghosh, Prosenjit Chatterjee and Raj Chakrabarty. As an artiste, what have you learnt from them?

You learn something different from every director, whether Rituparno Ghosh or Prosenjit Chatterjee or Arindam Sil or Raj Chakraborty. Each director has something different to teach, and at the end of the day you have a basket which gets filled with thoughts and lots of good things.

Is Bollywood on the cards for you?

Yes, Bollywood is on the cards. There’s a lot going on and, hopefully, something will be confirmed this month if dates don’t clash. Let’s see, I am hoping for the best.

 Is there any particular kind of character or a film you wish to do?

I want to do a negative character. I played a negative character in Gangster but I want to do an out-and-out negative character, like a very negative and shady type of character because usmein acting ka scope bohot zyada hota hai. I really want to do it. I would also like to do a character of the kind Rani Mukherji played in Black or Kangana Ranaut did in Fashion. Characters like that fascinate me.

 Is there anything you consider before signing a film?

I go with the flow. Sometimes, I read the entire script and wonder whether I should or shouldn’t do the film, and there are times when I don’t listen to the script and I say ‘yes’ I am doing the film. Sometimes, I do a film because I love the name of the film or the casting or kaha pe shoot kar rahe hai. So I just go with the flow.

Are there any directors you really want to work with?             

There are lots of directors I want to work with. In Bombay, I would really love to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, it’s a dream. And yaha pe jiske sath I have not worked, I really want to work with them.

You keep experimenting with roles, like a risk-taker. Aren’t you a little scared to experiment?          

I did the second or third film of my career with Bojhena Shey Bojhena and the third film I did was Proloy. It too was a realistic story and I was acting without make-up. Everybody pointed out that I was in the process of being launched and I was without make-up. I said I didn’t really care, and later Alia Bhatt did the same thing. She did Student Of The Year and then she did Highway.

 Lastly, how do you feel working with SVF?

SVF Entertainment is like family, I have known all of them for years and it’s been years since I have been working with them. When a relationship like that grows, it’s not like a production house, it’s really like a family. It’s a comfort zone for me, it is definitely like my second home.

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