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Interview Bengali

Striking a chord with viewers is most challenging aspect of playing Ei Ami Renu protagonist, says Sohini Sarkar

The emotionally complex character is compelled to choose between the love of her life and her husband.

Roushni Sarkar

Saumen Sur’s upcoming film Ei Ami Renu will see actress Sohini Sarkar bring to life Renu, a popular literary character from Samaresh Majumdar’s 1980s novel of the same name. The film will also mark the actress’ first on-screen pairing with Soham Chakraborty.

The emotionally complex character is compelled to choose between the love of her life, played by Gaurav Chakrabarty, and her husband (Chakraborty), a government official.

However, the trailer suggests that an interesting character, played by Kaushik Ganguly, brings a different spin to the tale, making it more than an account of an extra-marital affair and a housewife's dilemma.

Speaking to Cinestaan, the actress said the character introduced her to the sensibilities of a bygone era but, at the same time, made it clear that certain kinds of emotional turmoil have always existed.

Sarkar had read the novel a while ago but when she was approached by Sur to do the film, she pored over it again. She admitted that while reading it, she could not see herself in Renu's shoes. “However, while doing the film, I realized that not only women but all human beings, irrespective of their gender, experience such emotional dilemmas. The film eventually made me relate with her,” said the actress.

Speaking about the film, which is set in the 1980s, she said, “I think it was rather challenging to play the character as the 1980s was not such a long time ago. But, most importantly, it was a pre-mobile phone and internet era. I referred to my parents and relatives. Also, I followed the onscreen appearances of actresses such as Deboshree Roy and Mohua Roy Choudhury. In fact, my costumes were designed with their fashion sense in mind.”

The actress feels that striking a chord with the viewer is the most crucial job of a performer. “As actors, it is our duty to identify layers of emotions. Every human goes through a range of emotions but actors know how to infuse fire in them and lend form to them,” she said.

Sarkar was initially curious about why the director was making a film set in the 1980s. Sur, who previously worked in ad films and commercials, wanted to adapt the book, which was immensely popular in his college days. “Saumen da is an old-school director but I think that has worked as his USP. When he narrated the script to us, we could sense that he was deeply involved in the emotions and expressions of the pre-internet era. The importance of love letters and less exposure to physical intimacy were the features of romance then,” added the actress, who praised the filmmaker's simple and easy-going nature.

Sarkar found it easy to act Chakraborty, with whom she wanted to work for a long time. “We started shooting before the lockdown was imposed last year while the second part was shot after it was called off,” the actress said, “Hence, while I was shooting with Soham Da, we had to strictly maintain COVID protocol while making sure that the performances were on point, and he was extremely helpful in that process.”

Ei Ami Renu is slated to be released on 9 April.