Interview Bengali Telugu

Never wanted to be a model, says Bengali cinema's rising star Darshana Banik


In a candid chat, Banik speaks of her fears in her initial days in show business and how she is still learning to deal with the popularity.

Roushni Sarkar

A well-known face promoting leading brands in Kolkata, Darshana Banik has won hearts with her performances in three consecutive films, Ashche Abar Shobor, Jojo and Aami Ashbo Phirey, this year.

Argha Deep Chatterjee, director of Jojo, said Banik was his preference as the people of Bengal had been seeing her in still advertisements for long and were curious to see her in action.

The young actress has already appeared in a lead role and has been getting more such offers from various regional film industries.

In a candid chat with Cinestaan.com, Banik spoke of her fears during her initial days in show business and shared how she is still learning to deal with her popularity. Excerpts:

You have had two big releases in the past two months, one with first-time director Argha Deep Chatterjee and the other with Anjan Dutt, a leading filmmaker in Bengal. What has been your experience?

I also had a big release in January, Arindam Sil’s Ashche Abar Shobor, and then I appeared in a web-series called Six by SVF. I can say that this year has started off well.

Since 2015, I was looking for an opportunity to work in a good film. My first film was Kamaleshwar Mukherjee’s Mukhomukhi. I completed shooting it by the end of 2016 and the dubbing was done last year. The film was not released then, and I got into a kind of depression, as it is difficult to get new offers until one film is released.

However, I again started getting offers from September last year. I feel Ashche Abar Shobor has given me a good break. I liked Argha Deep’s story as well and got the lead role in it. So far, things are going well, I hope the graph remains consistent.

How was the experience of working with the different directors?

Kamaleshwarda is extremely patient with artistes. Since it was my first film, I also had to attend a workshop for a few days before the shooting began. Therefore, I was quite at ease when I finally started working on the sets.

Arindamda, as we all know, is himself a good actor. As a director, he gives a lot of space to the artistes. He allows them to do proper rehearsals before the final take and if there is any mistake, he will whisper into the ears to make the changes.

Anjanda trusts his actors a lot. On the first meeting, he said, “You will be free on the sets, I only want you to put your honesty and dedication while you work.”

Argha Deepda worked on a very tight schedule but kept his cool throughout, despite shooting so many scenes a day. I have also worked with Saptaswa Basu in his debut film Network. He appears to be quite professional as well.

Darshana Banik on the sets of Jojo with Anirban Bhattacharya, Saayoni Ghosh and Argha Deep Chatterjee

What kind of feedback are you getting for your performances?

So far, I have received very good responses and I have been quite blessed that all the characters I have played were different from each other. In Ashche Abar Shobor, I played Suzanne who is a tomboyish girl, who hangs out with guys and is interested in music. Her appearance in the film is quite striking as well.

 

In Six, I played a very simple working wife. Jojo required me to be vulnerable, a character who is easily intimidated and manipulated. In Aami Ashbo Phirey, I played a rape victim, which was quite a challenging role.

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I am glad that all of them are doing well, including Six. It was declared the second most popular web-series on Hoichoi, next to Dupur Thakurpo. India Today magazine released a list of the top 10 Indian web-series and Six ranked 5th on it. From the latest updates, it seems that Aami Ashbo Phirey, too, will be a hit.

 

Darshana Banik at the Aami Ashbo Phirey music tour

How different was it working for the web-series?

It was more or less the same, except for the tight shooting schedule. We had to work in two shifts a day; otherwise I had known the entire crew as we had worked in films together before.

You started your career as a model. When did the film offers start coming in?

I never wanted to be a model. I wanted to do MPhil and become a teacher. My friends filled a form on my behalf for a beauty contest organized by PC Chandra Jewellers. I got selected and then there was too much intervention from the media. People used to visit me daily. There were public events and huge photos used to appear in the newspapers. I used to be a very shy and introverted person and did not enjoy the attention at all.

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As PC Chandra wanted to launch me as their new face, my father suggested that I simultaneously work while studying. Gradually, I became the brand ambassador of several brands including Sriniketan and magazines such as Unish Kuri.

I used to work between study breaks and it was a good way of earning pocket money.

In a few months, I started getting offers for television series. I got my first film offer in 2013, but I declined it. Several brands from Mumbai, including Pond's, had approached me. I appeared in the Dadagiri Season 5 promo in 2014 and also became the ambassador of Colors Bangla. I realized that those works were much more challenging than posing for stills.

I was inspired by the difficulties that I faced and started looking for good scripts.

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I met Kamalda [Kamaleshwar Mukherjee] in 2014 and then I got selected for a film which got shelved. After that I did Mukhomukhi which is yet to be released. I met Argha Deepda through Facebook. He approached me with the script of Jojo, I liked the storyline a lot and that’s how the film happened.

Have things changed now? Do you enjoy the popularity?

I am still not used to it. I am regularly grooming myself to appear in public events, to give interviews, and learning to cope with the limelight.

You will soon be seen doing a lead role in a Telugu film...

Yes, I completed shooting for Paruchuri Murali’s Atagallu two weeks back. I will be seen playing the lead female character of the film, alongside Nara Rohit and Jagapathi Babu. The post-production of the film is going on and the film will be released in June.

 

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It was a great experience working in a new atmosphere, leaving aside the sole barrier of language. They have huge budgets and are quite
relaxed in their schedules. I could overcome the language barrier with the encouragement from my co-stars.

I have also finished shooting for SVF’s Laboratory and will soon begin the dubbing as well. I am looking forward to the release of Mukhomukhi and Network.