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Working with Atanu-da was detoxifying, says Robibaar actress Jaya Ahsan

Jaya Ahsan talks about her character Sayani in the film and why she was initially unsure if she would be able to relate with her intelligence.

Roushni Sarkar

Actress Jaya Ahsan, who stars opposite Prosenjit Chatterjee in Atanu Ghosh’s Robibaar, which was released on the last Friday of 2019, has created a buzz with her performance and her no-makeup look as police officer Sayani.

Robibaar was also Jaya Ahsan’s first project with both Ghosh and Prosenjit and she is naturally excited to be a part of the trilogy that started with the National award-winning film Mayurakshi, which starred Prosenjit and Soumitra Chatterjee.

Jaya Ahsan also plays a starring role in Ghosh’s Binisutoy (2020), opposite Ritwick Chakraborty, the last film in the trilogy which is slated for release sometime this year.

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In Robibaar, the actress plays a law officer who happens to meet a former lover, fraudster Asimabha (Prosenjit), on a Sunday, 15 years after they had parted ways. The film narrates a series of events that take place that day.

According to the actress, best known for her performance in Kaushik Ganguly’s Bisorjon (2017), “The film follows an unpredictable plot progression. The trailer might have given the impression of a thriller; however, the film is much more layered, and a bit romantic too.”

Sayani, she explained, is an intelligent character and Jaya Ahsan faced quite a challenge in enacting the role. Both her and Prosenjit's characters are layered and the chemistry of their love-hate equation remains at the centre of their journey depicted through the events of the day.

The actress said working with Ghosh was a detoxifying experience. “I am thankful to Atanu-da for choosing me for a film in which I get to be on screen throughout and also share space with Prosenjit," she said. "As an artiste, I consider this film extremely important in my career. I was able to discover my unexplored potential while working in this film.”

The Bangladesh-born actress, who is well known on both sides of the border for her work in films like Konttho (2019), Bijoya (2019) and Debi (2019), believes Robibaar's content is deep. “We often remain unaware of the many compartments of our personality," she said. "The journey of an entire day in Robibaar gradually unveils those unexplored territories of both characters’ personalities.”

She said she was initially unsure if she would be able to relate with the intelligence of her character. In most cases, she said, reading the script once suffices for her to get hold of the character; she had to read the script of Robibaar quite a few times.

Atanu Ghosh

However, Ghosh’s ability to extract performance from his artistes made it easy for Ahsan to understand the fabric of the character. “I think artistic creations reflect the personality of the creator and Atanu-da has a different sensibility regarding life in general," she said.

“When I first read my characters in both Binisutoy and Robibaar, I was quite amazed to know that such characters exist or such situations involving a former couple can take place. While I repeatedly expressed my curiosity to get to the soul of the characters, Atanu-da, politely and patiently, explained what exactly he wanted from me as an actress.”

The actress was also overwhelmed by her first experience of working with Prosenjit, something she had been looking forward to for a long time. “I was nervous while contemplating the prospect," she said. "I was worried if I would be able to match up to his screen presence or his performance.”

With Prosenjit in Robibaar

So, she was relieved to find that when the star made his presence felt as Asimabha, she could easily slip into Sayani's skin. “Bumba-da [Prosenjit's nickname in the Bengali film industry] doesn’t carry any baggage while performing; rather he inspires you to improve your performance. He helped me become Sayani. For me, the journey of shooting the film was a learning experience. Bumba-da is extremely humble and that is where his greatness lies.”

With the film being released at the fag end of 2019, Jaya Ahsan remarked that it made for a good ending for the year. “I feel Robibaar will continue to haunt the audience for a long time, after they finish watching the film,” she said.