Sudipta Dey

“You have to revel in your failure to understand what success is,” says National Award-winning actor Prosenjit Chatterjee. The actor will be seen playing a character in Srijit Mukherji’s Autograph that kind of complements his stature in Tollywood. Today, on September 30, Prosenjit not only celebrates his 49th birthday, but also the highs and lows of being in the industry for the last 28 years. Prosenjit, who enjoys super stardom in real life, found it really difficult to portray it on screen, while playing the character of Arun Chatterjee in Autograph. The plot of the film revolves around the main character, Arun Chatterjee, his relationship with his co-actor (Nandana Sen), and a debutant director played by Indraneil Sengupta. The story explores different sides of the actors’ lives and their inter-personal relationships. Prosenjit, who has been in the industry for nearly three decades now, has seen similar alterations in his personal life. But how much has it affected him as an actor? “I have matured over the years. Those who are associated with the industry are more receptive to the emotional changes. But with each passing situation I have faced in life, I have gained confidence to move on. You have to revel in your failure to understand the value of your success. That’s my theory and it has worked for me,” Prosenjit says. For Mukherji, a debutant director, who tried his hands at the remake of Uttam Kumar’s Nayak, it was difficult to look beyond Prosenjit, when it came to selecting lead cast in the film. For Prosenjit, portraying ‘Uttam jethu’ (as he lovingly called him), was overwhelming. Prosenjit recalls, “It wasn’t easy at all. While essaying the character of a superstar, I had to completely let go of myself and be there as an actor and not a star. The most difficult scene was when Arun Chatterjee is seen sitting on a chair, and he looks at his poster being taken away. For an actor, who is the last word in the industry, that is the most devastating experience ever,” he admits. The superstar credits Mukherji for the script which he thought was error-free. “When I read the script, I was bowled over. I did not find any slip-ups or any loopholes. I couldn’t have said ‘no’ to it,” says Prosenjit. Autograph cannot be termed as an art-house film, neither is it a commercial film. Made for the Bengali multiplex-going audience, Autograph is releasing simultaneously with director Raj Chakraborty’s Dui Prithibi, starring Dev and Jeet. The Tollywood superstar is moving away from regular commercial films and has become selective about his work. Be it Bappadiya Bandyopadhyay’s Houseful, Subhodro Chowdhury’s Clerk, Rituparno Ghosh’s films, Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s films or Srijit’s Autograph, the roles demand a lot in terms of performance than other commercial ventures. “I have been in the industry for so many years, and I have done all sorts of roles. It is a conscious decision to build up an image. I have gone beyond the commercial film scene and I want to concentrate on acting,” says Prosenjit, who knows that films like Houseful and Clerk will perhaps not achieve great box office success, but will raise the bar for Bengali intellectual cinema. Though he is a little tense about Autograph and appears quite stressed with the promotions, he has no worries about it being released on the same day. “Both films are on different pitches. Moreover, Autograph is releasing nationally,” he adds. Up next, Bumbada has a series of releases. Though he has Haranath Chakraborty’s Jor Jaar Muluk Tar, Bratya Basu’s Tara and Rituparno Ghosh’s Nauka Dubi, are all ready for release. It is Goutam Ghose’s Moner Manush is what he is really excited about. The film is scheduled to release on December 3. “The character is fantastic, one the best that I have played. I had given six months to that one,” he signs off.