“I fell completely in love with the role, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew it had the potential to change my life. Of course, I had no idea that people would probably know me as ‘Hathoda Tyagi’. I have to constantly try and do something which is as exciting as Hathoda, which is going to be very difficult,” actor Abhishek Banerjee tells IANS.
The actor will soon be seen in the Short ‘Sex, Likes and Stories’, directed by Keith Gomes on an iPhone, where he plays the character of ‘Chokra Boy’, hailing from a simple social and economic background who uses the social media to pretend to be someone else and tries to live a completely different life. Banerjee smiles that the character is completely opposite to who he is. “I am who I am. Believe me, I cannot even pretend in an interview with a media person.”
Known for his extensive research before playing a character, the actor says the same is always a wise idea and instrumental in bringing forth diverse shades and nuances. Travelling, making extensive notes, and meeting new people is what he does even when he is not preparing for a role. “To form a character in your mind you need to understand space and their backgrounds. Travelling not only allows you to meet new people but also learn about different places, distinct cultures, and diverse societal norms.”
Talk to Banerjee about his fascination with Shorts, and the actor, who started his career with this genre when he was not getting any work remembers asking his struggling filmmaker friends to cast him in them. Adding that whenever he wants to “learn” something or needs a break from his usual work, he likes working in that genre, Banerjee says, “Precisely why I did ‘Vakil Babu’ last year, which revolved around domestic violence. I strongly feel actors and filmmakers should continue to do short films as they are ‘quick’ and offer a chance to learn about themselves and hone their craft.”
Banerjee, who did theatre for several years in Delhi before shifting base to Mumbai feels the medium goes a long way in enhancing. “It is essential that the audience feels exactly what you are trying to portray for them to emotionally connect with the scene, and training in theatre goes a long way in ensuring that.”
Remembering that after being cast in comedy roles in ‘Stree’, ‘Bala’, and ‘Dream Girl 2’, he started wondering if he would get a chance in another genre, it was OTT that came to his rescue with roles in ‘Mirzapur’, ‘Paatal Lok’, and ‘Typewriter’. “I then received offers for films like ‘Rashmi Rocket’, ‘Ankahi Kahaniya’ and ‘Ajeeb Dastaan’ which are completely different from my previous projects.”
Banerjee, who goes back a long way with Gomes and attributes his presence in Mumbai to the latter feels shooting a film on a phone has its own advantages and disadvantages. “While the process may turn out to be quick, but sometimes also gets tough to capture a suitable amount of light, sound, etc. “
The actor, who is currently working for films including ‘Apurva’, ‘Stree 2’, ‘Dream Girl 2’, and ‘Rana Naidu 2’, adds, “I am also going to be part of an action film which I am quite excited about.
(Sukant Deepak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)