Parambrata Chattopadhyay: Content in Hindi is considered to be national content, reaches wider audience
Parambrata Chattopadhyay talks to HT about his new web show, Jehanabad and bringing up a revolution with violence. He also opens up about what’s keeping Bengali cinema from making waves across the country.
Parambrata Chattopadhyay is gearing up for the release of his new web series, Jehanabad – Of Love & War. Having worked extensively as an actor and director in Bengali films, Parambrata also has a presence in the Hindi film industry. He is known for playing a policeman in Vidya Balan’s Kahaani, the stern policeman in Raveena Tandon's Aranyak and the kind doctor in Bulbbul. Returning to the OTT space as a Naxal commander in captivity in Jehanabad, Parambrata promises his character drives the show despite having small appearances in each episode. The Sony LIV show is a love story in the backdrop of a revolution.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Parambrata opened up about his pivotal character in Jehanabad and the theme of the show. He also talked about the significance of working in Hindi language.
Tell us about your role in Jehanabad – Of Love & War in which you play a Naxal commander.
Darker forces always attract brighter people. This character of Deepak Kumar is the person around whom the entire show revolves. His appearance comes like a little lightening in every episode and goes away again. Ritwik Bhowmik’s character and other stories drive the show but its all because of this man. He is extremely well read, intellectual and hails from the lower caste and has seen how they have been tortured in certain areas in Bihar, where he comes from. He has figured it out in his own way that picking up arms is the only way to put an end to this torture. He can defeat anyone in a debate, he is sharp as a razor and has a magnetic personality. He is like a messiah for the poor.
Share your thoughts on bringing a revolution with violence.
The history has seen down the ages that revolution has come through violence and armed struggle. To topple an age-old order, you have to resort to violence sometimes. But in today’s time, when there is so much violence, I feel violence is not an option, it has to be a democratic and constitutional solution. It has to be through negotiations. If you want to be heard, you will have to go for democratic and peaceful protests. I don’t agree with the means Deepak has taken up to bring about a revolution but you do understand why he has chosen that path. Here, you wonder who is right as both are using wrong means.
Is there a particular scene you found difficult to shoot?
There is a scene which doesn’t involve any physical activity and I am just standing at one spot, reciting a long shloka from Gita. The people in front of me don’t understand, but what I mean by it is seen in the next scene and it is very, very dramatic. Uttering that shloka was difficult, it demanded command over each and every word and required a lot of determination and fire in the eyes.
There is a beautiful song in the show, Kaala Sooraj Kaale Badal. Is it an original rendition?
Yes, its original but has been made from all the songs Bihar and Bengal have grown up with. We have a history with the left wing. What they let out to do was actually quite noble. You can disagree with their methods but their aim was noble. It has the same spirit and similar lyrics and is a mixture of all such songs from their time.
After Kahaani, you had a beautiful role in Bulbbul. And now you are working in more web series on OTT, mostly in Hindi. Do you think working in the Hindi language has made you a familiar face across the country.
Of course. Technically, Hindi is not our national language but it is spoken by most number of people. Content in Hindi is considered to be national content and it reaches out to much wider audience. Even Black Widows, Bulbull or Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi, the amount of recognition they brought me is much more.
You made your Hindi debut with Vidya Balan in Kahaani and she made her Bengali debut with you in Bhalo Theko. When can we see you coming together again.
Let's hope so. I love to work with Vidya, she is a lovely person. We meet now and then at parties. We share the same warmth.
You hail from a family of film critics, actors, film writers. Did it have an influence on your work?
What I got from them is a certain atmosphere which has given me windows of exposure to national and international cinema. That has helped me in expanding my vision as an artist but that can also be limiting at times because when you begin working, you see the sensibility of that work is very different from the sensibility that you come from. You have to adjust with it. It can be liberating but also limiting, depends on how you deal with it.
Many politicians and pressure groups comment on films and shows these days. Have you ever faced a similar situation?
Yes, I have. This entire thing is a flip side of social media. It seems the entire life of a person depends on it. You wake up and check how many likes you got for your post from last night. You look for validation. You also get hate, as at same time, you give unwarranted right to lot of people to have direct access to lot of things. It’s a very democratic platform where people give opinions on one hand, but on the other hand, a lot of these opinions is not something you want to hear. This freedom is utilized in the wrong way, you have to live with it. Else, you will have to control social media which is not right and it will become a regime like China. When you enjoy the benefits, you have to take the disadvantages as well.