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Shutdown Stories: Paoli Dam is catching up on family time and missed web-series and movies

Best of all, the popular actress is rediscovering the pleasure of the afternoon siesta after a hearty home-cooked meal.

Roushni Sarkar

No matter how difficult the current period of a countrywide lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus disease) pandemic, artistes are trying hard to stay positive and spread good vibes. Film artistes in particular hardly spend their holidays at home and so this shutdown has allowed them to explore life beyond shooting and promotion schedules.

Actress Paoli Dam is among those who are making the most of this period by engaging with family and household activities. “We hardly get to spend time with family as we don’t even shoot in Kolkata most of the time," Dam told Cinestaan.com. "I even had to shoot during Holi this year. We rarely get to enjoy any festival. We often miss birthday and anniversary celebrations as we cannot afford to take leave.” A film artiste’s career calls for a lot of sacrifice and involves a lot of responsibilities, Dam said, because shooting a film is the job of an entire team and not just of a few individuals.

"Home ends up becoming a place for lodging at night,"she admitted. The lockdown has finally given Dam time to spend time with her parents and interact with her brother.

The actress begins her day with her morning work-out, “I love working out in the morning and always keep some basic exercise equipment at home, which I also carry on my outdoor schedules,” she said.

“The domestic helps are on leave now and so all of us are doing the household chores of cooking, cleaning and washing. Somewhere, I think this is getting all of us together — the bonding is getting stronger,” she continued.

Members of the Dam family have divided up the responsibilities for different household chores. Along with doing the housework, the actress cooks for the family and helps her mother prepare interesting dishes.

However, what she likes most is her afternoon siesta, something she could not afford to indulge in even during her shooting breaks, because she would then be attending dubbing or promotional events. “Sleeping comfortably after lunch is a different pleasure, which I am revisiting after so many years,” exulted the star of films like Maati (2018), Shantilal O Projapoti Rohoshyo (2019) and Sanjhbati (2019).

Watching films has always been part of Paoli Dam’s daily routine, irrespective of her shooting schedules. “Normally, I invest an hour in watching films, but now it extends to many hours," she said. "I recently finished watching the Netflix series Freud and loved it!” She also did not forget to mention that her two favourite web-series are Narcos and Game Of Thrones.

“I also loved The Valhalla Murders. I could not watch Parasite (2019) in the theatres as I was shooting then. Fortunately, Parasite is now on Amazon Prime and I could watch it. It is amazing and I don’t need to add much to its appreciation!” added Dam.

She has also binge-watched The Mire, Toy Boy and Elite so far. She has also caught up on some Bengali fare that she could not watch in the theatres.

Not many are aware that Dam loves to sing. Her mother is a trained singer and these days, the actress is making the most of the opportunity to sit with her as she performs her evening rehearsals. “I love singing Rabindra sangeet [Tagore's songs]," Paoli Dam said. "Rather, I should say I can sing Rabindra sangeet only as I did not get the opportunity to take proper classical training for music.” The actress, however, has learnt Bharatnatyam from the eminent danseuse and guru Thankamani Kutty.

“However, as I always kept listening to my mother, I would follow her, humming some tunes like a bathroom singer. I also love singing Nazrul Geeti [songs of Kazi Nazrul Islam] and Atulprasadi [songs of Atul Prasad Sen], which I know by heart,” she added. Dam has now requested her mother to teach her some new songs during this enforced break.

Addressing her fans, who are also trying to get through the lockdown, Dam said, “We all have crises in our lives and we overcome them as well. However, this time the entire human race is suffering from this crisis and so we have a big responsibility. We will face it strongly. Please stay at home and watch all the beautiful films and series. Be happy from within, hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.”

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