It was raining heavily at the Vythiri Resort in Wayanad. And it seemed to be the perfect setting for Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta to wax lyrical about her love for Malayalam cinema. She says Malayalam films are as beautiful as this rain.
She won the National award for best actress for Rituparno Gosh’s ‘Dahan.’ In Bengali cinema, Rituparna Sengupta will always remain evergreen. The actress has also done films in Hindi and Bangladeshi.
“When you are getting an offer to act in a film, it means you are getting the love of society. If you are not loved by society, you won't get a place in films. That’s why I am enjoying this journey. Important thing is to make sure the people aren't bored with you. I try to keep that in mind whenever I pick a role/film,” says Rituparna.
She observes that culturally there are many similarities between Malayalam and Bengali cinema. “My first Malayalam film was Sohanlal’s ‘Kadhaveedu’, co-starring Lal and Kunchacko Boban. I am lip-syncing a KS Chithra song in that film. Even now I am able to sing two stanzas of that song. I have also acted in a Priyadarshan film. I admire Mammootty and Mohanlal. They have played a crucial role in popularizing regional cinema in India. They are so dedicated. Mohanlal is a natural actor and infuses a special power on screen. I first met Mammootty at a function in Kolkata. I am often called for functions that involve Malayalam movie artists. That’s how I had the opportunity to meet that great actor. Shobana is one actress who has always amazed me with her spectacular acting prowess.”
With the emergence of OTT, she admits to having started watching more Malayalam films. ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’ and ‘Drishyam’ were the last two films she watched.
“No one from my family is there in cinema. It was after watching one of my Television serials that I got a film offer. As a child, I was interested in painting. Later I shifted my focus to dancing and learned Odissi and Manipuri. I have performed dance dramas based on Rabindranath Tagore’s stories. I own a dance troupe. Though I am an actress, I am more inclined towards dancing. Prabhat Roy’s ‘Shwet Pathorer Thala’ was my debut Bengali film. There were also other films like ‘Teesra Kaun,’ ‘Sujan Sakhi,’ ‘Moner Manush’, ‘Shudhu Ekbar Bolo,’ ‘Akrosh’, ‘Chander Bari.’
During my initial career, I have mostly done commercial films. My first art film was Rituparno Gosh’s ‘Dahan’, which won me the National award for Best actress. No one has really offered me great roles on a platter. I had to really struggle to find my place in cinema. I would like to do a role similar to what Vidya Balan did in Srijit Mukerjee’s ‘Begum Jaan.’ My journey continues, crossing language borders,” says the actress looking longingly at the rain.