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Interview Bengali

Bhootchakra Pvt Ltd carries the flavour of Bengali fantasy stories, says Gaurav Chakrabarty

The actor explains what drew him to his character Nimai Bose aka Nemo in the horror comedy directed by Haranath Chakraborty and why it is different from other films in this genre.

Roushni Sarkar

Gaurav Chakrabarty plays Nimai Bose in Haranath Chakraborty’s horror comedy Bhootchakra Pvt Ltd, alongside Bonny Sengupta, Soham Chakraborty, Srabanti Chatterjee and Rittika Sen.

Bhootchakra Pvt Ltd, which was released last week, features three educated but unemployed characters who set out on a mission to hunt ghosts; however, their ideas only land them in trouble as they encounter ghosts and get into various kind of adventures.

In the film, Nimai Bose cannot stand his own name and forces everyone around him to call him Nemo. “He is a wannabe," explained Chakrabarty. "His clothes are always over the top, he doesn’t mind wearing earrings as well. His character is quite far from what I am in real life. And he is extremely scared of ghosts.”

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Chakrabarty said he got drawn to the character while reading the script. “I got excited to see that I could be thought of for such a unique character," he said. "I entirely credit [writer] Padmanabha-da [Dasgupta] and Hara-da for sketching such a unique character for me and making me get into Nemo's skin. I hope the audience also enjoys the film.”

Gaurav said shooting for Bhootchakra Pvt Ltd was a joyride in itself and the film allowed him to explore his own potential as an actor. “Nemo has a weird laugh throughout the film," he said. "He starts laughing whenever he feels scared. It is a funny character and the story is interesting. I think the way the story has been told will appeal to various kinds of audiences.”

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While his co-stars Soham and Sengupta have their female counterparts, Gaurav has no love interest in the film. “When Hara-da first told me about the character, he said it is difficult for a character who is a wannabe and timid to have a girlfriend,” said the actor, who feels his character complements itself and is different from the other two in this regard.

Gaurav first worked with the filmmaker in Chayamoy (2013), which also had supernatural elements. “Hara-da made the film based on a story by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, about a treasure hunt. It is anyway a privilege to work with him. It is always great to work with these stalwarts because there is so much to learn from them,” he said.

According to Gaurav, he did not have to undertake any special preparation for the film, though this is only the second horror film of his career. “I think to create the particular laugh which Nemo resorts to was the most challenging aspect,” he said.

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The actor had to sit with the director and discuss the laugh that comes at extreme moments of fear. “We had to be careful not to make it ridiculous. At the same time, my job was to make the audience laugh in those moments. Through the laugh, my fear also had to be conveyed,” explained the actor who simply followed Dasgupta's script and Chakraborty’s direction for the rest of the depiction.

Gaurav feels the story of Bhootchakra Pvt Ltd is Bengali in essence. “The film is replete with the flavour of Satyajit Ray’s, Hemendra Kumar Roy's and Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s stories on adventure and fantasy,” he said.

He believes the audience will relive the association with these kinds of stories through this film and identify with the three characters. “There is a certain fondness for such stories and so the essential Bengaliness has been consciously retained.”

He referred to the Hindi film Stree (2018) in this regard and said, “No similarity will be found between Stree and Bhootchakra Pvt Ltd because Stree carries the flavour of the Hindi heartland and Bhootchakra retains the essence of Bengali culture. The story of this film is also not inspired by any foreign work of literature or films.”

For Gaurav, shooting for the film was an exceptional experience as this was his first project with the other co-stars. “I only knew Bonny since the time we participated in the CCL [Celebrity Cricket League] and therefore I wanted him to be around me initially. However, as shooting progressed, the three of us bonded extremely well. We wanted to go for shooting every day, which I think was a good sign because that ensures a good temperament for work.”

He credited the unit of director Chakraborty with creating a positive vibe and a familial atmosphere. “We enjoyed a lot. We joked and had fun but worked seriously. I think those feelgood moments will be reflected on screen.”

At a personal level, Gaurav loves to watch horror films but his wife Riddhima Ghosh doesn’t. So, in the nine years since their marriage he has hardly watched any horror films. However, he also loves to watch action films.