Article Bengali

Atanu has tremendous trust in his audience: Robibaar actor Prosenjit


The star said those who went to watch Robibaar as a Prosenjit-Jaya Ahsan film would have left the theatre with Asimabha and Sayani in their hearts instead.

Roushni Sarkar

Prosenjit Chatterjee appeared in three films in 2019, each released on a festive occasion. He played Indrajit Ganguly, a celebrated actor, in Kaushik Ganguly’s Jyeshthoputro, sharing screen space with Ritwick Chakraborty for the first time, and essayed the role of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Srijit Mukherji’s Gumnaami.

However, according to the star, he faced the most difficult challenge while working in Atanu Ghosh’s film Robibaar, opposite Jaya Ahsan, which was released on the last Friday of the year. The actor had previously starred in Ghosh’s National award-winning film Mayurakshi, which marked the beginning of a trilogy that includes Robibaar and Binisutoy, which is slated for release later this year.

“I was eagerly waiting to work with Atanu-da since Mayurakshi," Prosenjit said. "The way he writes his script, tells his stories and presents his films, any actor would look forward to working with him.” Prosenjit played Asimabha in Robibaar, opposite Jaya Ahsan's Sayani, the character's former girlfriend. He and Jaya Ahsan were cast together for the first time.

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Prosenjit said Ghosh keeps discussing different stories with him. When he approached the actor with the script of Robibaar, Prosenjit felt that Ghosh’s intention was to connect the narrative of the film with that of Mayurakshi, as both films are primarily based on the journey of two characters.

“I feel the film can be enjoyed by all kinds of audience," the star said. "Anyone can relate with the story from their own position. Honestly, I have not found another Asimabha or Sayani in any other film. To enact these two characters, both I and Jaya had to face a lot of challenges, as the characters are quite complex.”

In the film, former lovers Asimabha and Sayani meet on a Sunday 15 years after they had broken up. Their interaction throughout the single Sunday is what has been portrayed in the film.

“A full-length film is based on just these two characters," said the actor-producer. "I always feel that Atanu has created his own cinematic language and his films appeal to the audience that loves to read films more than merely watching them.”

He said Asimabha and Sayani have the potential to make the audience part of their journey, “Their equation takes the audience along. Sometimes, Sayani will be two steps ahead of Asimabha and vice-versa. The plot changes course every 15 minutes. Along with the two characters, the plot, too, is quite unpredictable. However, this is not a thriller. Robibaar keeps playing with the characters' emotions as well as those of the audience,” said Prosenjit.

The actor, known for performances in films like Chokher Bali (2003), Autograph (2010), Baishe Srabon (2011) and Jaatiswar (2014), believes that not all films need compact storylines. According to him, “often a collage of meaningful sequences can be turned into a film, and Atanu’s film language is quite similar to that. It is difficult to narrate the story of Mayurakshi in a line and Robibaar, too, doesn’t have such a story. His films record certain moments, which are common and relatable.”

He added that Ghosh is a very sensitive director and hence his films reflect the nuances of human life and emotions.

The actor said Jaya Ahsan is quite unpredictable as an actress and that is the beauty of her performance. “I have a tremendous hunger for performance. After working with Ahsan, who is a celebrity and a National award-winning actress, I have found out that she also possesses the hunger to enact challenging roles,” said the veteran.

In an interview with Cinestaan.com, Ahsan had remarked that the way Prosenjit turned himself into Asimabha meant that she had no choice but to become Sayani. Responding to her statement, the actor said, “Yes, though I speak to my co-actors while doing my makeup, when I go on the floors I totally get into the trip of the character and hence the co-actor is also then left with no choice but to transform into the character. It is true that my experience as an actor helps me achieve that headspace instantly but for Robibaar, both of us did not have a choice but to turn into the characters.”

Prosenjit also said he finds it difficult to slot the film in a particular genre. Robibaar doesn’t have a single moment of flashback, though it narrates the story of two former lovers. He said, “I think Atanu has tremendous trust in the audience and their intellect. If the script, dialogues and cinematic conceptualization are meaningful, the audience can easily derive their own interpretations — they don’t need to be spoon-fed.”

He said if the audience went to watch Robibaar as a Prosenjit and Jaya Ahsan film, they would leave the theatre with Asimabha and Sayani in their hearts, not the artistes.