'Shab' Actress Arpita Chatterjee discusses her collaboration with Onir, Rituparno Ghosh and Shakti Samanta in an exclusive interview with A Potpourri of Vestiges

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Arpita Chatterjee, Shab, Onir, Raina

A Potpourri of Vestiges recently caught up with the renowned Bangla actress Arpita Chatterjee who plays a lead in Onir’s upcoming film Shab. Arpita is married to the famous Bangla actor Prosenjit Chatterjee, the son of the legendary Indian actor Biswajit. During the course of her career, Arpita has worked with some of the leading filmmakers of Bangla cinema. Shab is her second Hindi feature film with Bikas Mishra’s Chauranga (2016) being the first. Shab releases on 14 July 2017.


Your journey in the Bengal film industry has been remarkable. Tell us how you got you attracted to Shab.

Well, I consider three things when it comes to any project that gets offered to me, regardless of the language: script, story and director. And, of course, the fourth expect is the character that is being offered. If these 3-4 things excite me then I am on. Also, I have great respect for Onir’s body of work. So, Shab, fit my various criteria perfectly.  

In the rushes we see you romancing with the characters played by Ashish Bisht and Simon Frenay. Tell us about the chemistry you share with the different actors?

Being a professional actor I guess it’s my job to get the chemistry right. But since Ashish was a newcomer it was a bit of a challenge to achieve a certain level of comfort to begin with. So the intense preparatory workshop we had really helped in establishing a desired level of trust and comfort. Also, I had to work hard to get my Hindi right. In fact, it’s still a work in progress but I am gradually getting there.

Arpita Chatterjee, Chauranga

By looking at the trailer and the rushes we can sense a basic idea about the characters played by Raveena Tandon and Ashish but your character still remains a mystery to us. So, if possible, could you please share a few insights about your character in Shab?

I play a character called Raina who happens to be a waitress. As a character, Raina is self-confident, independent, balanced and practical. She is both born and brought up in Delhi. Then she has a back story that drives her character. The character has multiple layers that make Raina a bit mysterious.

Tell us about your journey in Bangla cinema which began in 1999. Who are the best Bengali filmmakers you have worked with?   

I started my career with two directors both of whom went on to win National Awards: Prabhat Roy and Rituparno Ghosh. Now both these directors have very different styles, one mainstream and the other better known for his offbeat films. So right at the onset of my career I got to work with both these directors at the same time. I faced camera from both of them and it allowed me to expand my range and evolve as an actor.

Tell us about your influences during your formative years which you feel were pivotal to your evolution.

I am a diehard fan of Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor. There was never a conscious plan to be an actor but I was a big movie buff. So that helped me a lot as I am not a trained actor. But I really learnt a lot from Rituparno Ghosh. Even in his last film, Satyanweshi, I played an important character. I was also fortunate to work with a legendary director like Shakti Samanta and so I learnt a lot from him as well. So you see my work has been a great learning experience for me.  

Arpita Chatterjee, actress, Bengali cinema

Your husband is himself a leading actor in Banga cinema. So is it an asset or a hindrance to have a husband who belongs to the same profession?

Well, this is nothing but a profession for us. We have lot of others things to discuss other than our profession. Of course, we like to talk about our son and other things whenever we get time. If two lawyers or two doctors are married I don’t think that would discuss their professions when they get time. It’s the same with us. Besides, I hardly get any time to sit and discuss anything. I have my company in Delhi. We develop video apps and we are also getting into producing web series and short films. Most likely, Onir will also be a part of that. And so mostly I am in Delhi if I am not shooting in Kolkata.

Tell us a little about your upcoming projects.

Well are lot of things are in the pipeline but as of my nothing is finalized. I have multiple responsibilities in life and so I am not a full time actor. I am running this company and then I am also a mother. So I have to balance everything. In a year I can at max do two films and do them full justice.   

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