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#Homecoming made me want go back to theatre full-time, says actor Soham Majumder

Soham plays Godot in the reunion film by Soumyajit Majumdar who is making his directorial debut.

Roushni Sarkar

In Soumyajit Majumdar’s debut feature film #Homecoming, actor Soham Majumder will be seen as Godot, a former backstage manager of the theatre group Aamra. Also starring Sayani Gupta, Tushar Pandey, Hussain Dalal, Plabita Borthakur, Tuhina Das, Sayan Ghosh, Apratim Chatterjee, Madhurima Ghosh, Sreya Bhattacharyya and Payel Roy, the film is a story of the reunion of a group of friends who had formed Aamra together and parted ways to pursue their individual dreams, without officially breaking up.

For Majumder, known for his roles in Kabir Singh (2019, Hindi) and Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti (2020), #Homecoming meant a lot as he was taken back to his theatre days while shooting for the film. Speaking to Cinestaan.com, the actor got candid about his personal takeaways from the film and also shared the journey of getting to work with a talented cast and crew from Mumbai and Kolkata. Excerpts:

According to the director, though the film has a fictional story, it is very personal film for him. How personal was the film or character for you?

It’s a personal film because I also used to do a lot of theatre at one point of time. In 2018, I came to Mumbai when I got my first film Kabir Singh. After the film, it became a little difficult to get into theatre because sometimes as life goes on, it gets difficult to go back to the roots. I am quite hopeful that I shall find theatre again and this film was kind of halfway reaching there. Definitely, for me it’s a very personal journey.

Apart from that, I cannot say I relate much with the character. First of all, my character in the film is a backstage manager, which I never was, sadly. He goes to a different country to pursue a corporate life which I never did, but I was close to doing so.

I can share an anecdote here. After completing an engineering degree, one needs to do an internship. I was also doing an internship in a reputed multinational company and in the same month I had a performance at the revered Prithvi theatre in Mumbai. Once I stepped on to the Prithvi theatre stage, I knew the 9-to-5 job was not for me. That’s how I started pursuing what I wanted to do.

You are playing the character of Godot in the film. How did Soumyajit approach you regarding the film and what was the preparation for the role?

There is no lead character or supporting character in the film. There are 27-odd characters that form the theatre group Aamra. Speaking of getting the role, I have known Soumyajit for a long time. We never did theatre together, but we were doing theatre at the same time in different groups. During those days we used to talk about changing the world and so on. Hence, when he said he was making a film I did not need much convincing. It was his film and being known as Majumder brothers or Bichhu brothers, it was given that I would be a part of it.

Now coming to the preparation for the role, we went through several rounds of workshops. In a theatre group, chemistry between members is considered essential and that cannot form unless the group members spend enough time together. Most of the actors in this film have done theatre at some point of their lives, but none of us had done theatre together. Hence, these workshops were meant for us to have the basic theatre workshop situation so that the chemistry could form organically. One of the cast, Tushar Pandey, is a certified theatre teacher. He also did a lot of workshops with us, which got us into the groove and that’s how the journey started.

How was the shooting experience?

We shot the film in February 2020 before the pandemic hit us. When we were shooting for the film, my Bengali film Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti was about to be released. I was promoting the film in the morning and in the night, I was shooting for this film. There were days when I got only 15 minutes of sleep. It was a lot of fun and since the story needed to be told, I did not feel tired. Also, while making small-budget films, resources are limited, and we had to double up on many things.

The shooting experience also made me realize that I really want to go back to stage and live that life again. Because I don’t want to be a visiting member to theatre, I want to do it as a full-time activity.

Getting back to the whole space of doing theatre was a lot of fun and meeting so many amazing artistes from Mumbai and Kolkata was just a dream come true. Of the cast, I and Tuhina [Das] did our first film together with Kaushik Ganguly. The film was Drishtikone (2018). In this film, when we met again, the experience kind of came full circle. I remember, we looked at each other and thought, “What a journey to be proud of.”

What can the audience expect from the film?

The theatre aspect is just one part of the film, it’s more about how a group of friends comes together after a certain point of time, the politics behind it, the awkward moments at the reunion, and so on.

I remember meeting my school friends after five or seven years and realizing that the equation can never be the same. But eventually, we pull back the broken pieces and find ways to get together.

It is a heartfelt story, which took years for Soumyajit to make. He left no stone unturned to get the best output from us as it is being released on SonyLIV, which is a very big step. I am really happy that the film is being released on SonyLIV and I am sort of sure that people will be able to relate with it. I am looking forward to their feedback.

#Homecoming is set to be streamed on SonyLIV from 18 February.

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