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Last Updated 19.09.2019 | 8:00 AM IST
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“I was petrified of playing Byomkesh” – Sujoy Ghosh

When Kahaani’s award-winning director Sujoy Ghosh reached the location for his acting debut, he got an actor’s block.


“I was petrified of facing the camera. But that’s exactly what I was made to do in Siliguri. And you know what? It wasn’t that tough, thanks to the amount of homework my director Rituparno Ghosh does. Man, I envy him as a fellow-filmmaker! His detailing and his eye for periodicity are things I can’t hope to match. As a filmmaker, I know where to put my characters and how. But I seldom know why. Why an orange and not a green shirt? I am clueless. Rituda has all the answers. He made my job very easy,” says Sujoy.


Sujoy says the character of Byomkesh in the 1930’s had to think according to the rhythms of the times. “They had no Google. Behavior was dictated by references derived from personal character traits and social interaction. The Google was in their head.”


Sujoy plays the celebrated Bengali detective Byomkesh Bakshi. Director Rituparno Ghosh held workshops non-stop for Sujoy to get into character. But Sujoy was still uncertain…and petrified.


Says the director-turned-reluctant-actor, “I don’t know why Ritu chose me. I was scared to death, I’d get it wrong. It’s one thing to tell actors how to do their scenes. But to be standing in front of the camera and following the director’s instruction is the scariest thing I’ve done in my life.”


Sujoy says it helps to have a director-turned-actor helming the project, “Rituparno has been doing serious acting. So he knows what a director feels like when he has to act. He prepared me extensively for the part.”


Ritu wants to make another Byomkesh film next with Sujoy, but Sujoy is not sure. “I don’t know if I am cut out for acting.”


Incidentally, Bengal and Bengali cinema are going through a resurgence of detective fiction. Prosenjit Chatterjee is currently playing another well-known fictional detective character Kakababu in a film directed by Srijit Mukherjee. Last year, Anjan Dutta directed Abir Chatterjee in the role of Byomkesh Bakshi, the same detective that Sujoy Ghosh plays in Rituparno Ghosh’s film.

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