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Interview Bangladeshi Bengali

Filmmakers from Bengal are much more mathematical than those in Bangladesh, feels Jaya Ahsan

Celebrated in India and Bangladesh, the Bisorjon (2017) actress thinks that the work culture is quite different in the two industries across the borders.

Roushni Sarkar

National Award-winning Bangladeshi actress Jaya Ahsan enjoys a growing popularity among Bengali film lovers with only a handful, yet important Bengali films since 2013.

The actress, who apparently had no dream of stepping into films, has appeared in Arindam Sil’s Aborto (2013) and Eaguler Chukh (2016), Srijit Mukherji’s Rajkahini (2015) and Kaushik Ganguly’s Bisorjon in the past five years.

She has earned rave reviews for each of her performances. Especially, her rendition of the character of Padma in Bisorjan wrings the heart and leaves a lasting impression.

Ahsan has been staying in Kolkata for a brief period for two reasons - Ganguly’s Bijoya, the sequel to Bisorjan and her upcoming film Crisscross, directed by Birsa Dasgupta. She has finished dubbing for Bijoya and Crisscross is slated to be released on 10 August.

Crisscross (2018)

Ahsan seems pretty excited as the audience will get to see her in a completely different avatar in the film, alongside four other actresses Priyanka Sarkar, Sohini Sarkar, Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan. "My character of Ms Sen is of a successful businesswoman. She is stubborn, determined and aggressive as well. However, she is lonely in her personal life and has various crisis. There are a lot of grey shades to the character," said the actress.

She dons an urban look in the film, completely opposite to the character of Padma in Bisorjon and the actress also stated that the character has hardly any similarity with her real self. “Though all the characters come from life and reality in general, we, the actors, hardly go through those particular experiences in our personal lives. I mentally prepared myself for the role of Ms Sen. I could not do much homework separately because I was shooting for Bijoya just before the shooting of Crisscross. Birsa and the writer [Mainak Bhaumik] helped me a lot in this regard on the sets; I could discuss with them before going for the takes. It was mostly spontaneous and was in the moment, but it was a new experience altogether.”

Bisorjon (2017)

Ahsan specifically mentioned that she is not only excited about her character but the entire film. “It doesn’t really matter that I am part of an ensemble cast. I always want the films, which I am part of, to do well in entirety. This film is special because it tells an urban story about five women and I don’t think this kind of a film has been made here before. I especially request the female audience to watch the film but at the same time, this is a story on human beings in general,” said the actress.

The actress is equally thrilled about Bijoya as well. “Initially, I was a bit apprehensive thinking how the story of Bijoya will exit Bisorjan. However, while dubbing I could understand that Bijoya has much more drama, suspense and is more eventful as well. I think Bijoya is one of few films I am exceptionally excited to see how it comes together and how it fares amongst the audience. Also, I love to watch my own films like the audience sitting in the theatre and in that context, I am really looking forward to Bijoya,” said the actress. However, she did not reveal much about the character of Padma, but mentioned that the character has gone through a lot of transformation in the sequel.

Crisscross trailer throws more light on characters' individual crisis

Celebrated in both the countries, Ahsan thinks that the work culture is quite different in the two industries across the borders.

According to her, in Bangladesh, the entire process of filmmaking involves a lot of warmth on a personal level and some madness too; while in the Bengali film industry, directors are much more professional, they have their designs ready before they go on the floors and they are quite ‘mathematical’ in their approach. However, she feels in one field, the Bengali film industry is ahead of the other.

“In Bengal there are much more literature-based works, compared to Bangladesh and I appreciate it quite a lot. Not only in films, but as an artiste, I feel that literature plays an important role in our lives, it enriches us and I guess because of having been associated to literature, I have been able to play so many different kinds of characters.”

Ahsan doesn’t consider that working in Bangladeshi and Bengali films are two separate journeys, rather they both are an intrinsic part of her career. She has also signed up for Shiboprosad Mukherjee’s Kantho and is currently working on launching her home production film in Banglades h and India, respectively.