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Rituparna Sengupta

'I can be the demure Damini and the bold Piyasha' What is that one trait in you that has not changed since your White Dove (she got her first break in this fairy-tale like serial) days? I still believe in people very easily. Given the times we live in, this isn't a very wise trait, but I haven't been able to change it, not as yet.
You must be elated with the success of Chaturanga… Yes, I am. The movie has done well commercially and it has also been well-received at the film festivals in India and abroad. Everyone in the movie had put in a lot of hard work and now we are getting the best of both worlds. Its success proves that today's cine-goers are ready to accept experimental movies based on classics, provided the film is well-researched and sensibly executed.
While preparing for Chaturanga, did it ever cross your mind that your Damini might be compared to Aishwarya's Binodini in Chokher Bali ?
That's an interesting question. Yes, there are similarities between Rabindranath Tagore's Damini and Binodini. They are both widowed at a young age, they are aspiring, they follow their own minds. And comparison between them and the way Aishwarya and I have played the characters would be apt. Maybe, the students of Comparative Literature can do that. (Laughs). But, I can tell you that not even for one second did I think of Aishwarya's Binodini. I played Damini, the way my director, Suman Mukhopadhyay wanted me to. I was completely under his tutelage.
Are you happy with the response that you are getting from Mumbai now?
Yes. Earlier, I was new in Mumbai. I took time to understand how the system works, understand the work culture. And today, directors are sitting up and noticing me.
So, what are you forthcoming ventures?
There's Karan Razdan's Mittal vs Mittal, David Dhawan's Do Not Disturb, SRK, Dard-e-Disco, Saab Chai Pani, Love Game, Kalpana Lajmi's Mujhe Rang De, Paroshkar, Priyadarshan's Hindi version of an Iranian film — Children of Heaven, BBD, Piyalir Password and Trishna.
Right from Dahan, you have been getting women-centric roles.
And I am glad that the directors feel I can execute such roles. In Mittal vs Mittal, I play a marital rape victim. This movie has a social message, every woman should see it. In Paroshkar, I play a corporate professional while in Do Not Disturb, you will see me in a glam role. In Piyalir Password, I get to solve a mystery and in Trishna, I essay the character of Piyasha who is sensuous, loves money and there is no end to her desires. Yes, I am essaying a variety of roles.
Well, that brings us to asking you about Trishna. Do you think people are ready to accept you in such a role after Damini? See, I am an actor first. I can be the demure Damini and the bold Piyasha. At the end of the day, I am just doing my job. After so many years in the industry, I have learnt to take things in my stride.
You already own a production house, Bhavna Aaj o Kaal, so, when do we see you in the director's seat?
I haven't given any thought to direction. But, I have produced various dance dramas like Tagore's Chandalika and Shyama and a short film entitled Who am I, Ek Zindagi, directed by Jeet, who is based in Mumbai. It is a film that portrays the terror-filled times we live in. Recently, I had organised a function where we paid tribute to the victims of the terror attacks in Mumbai. My husband, Sanjay, played the sarod, Tanmoy Bose was on the tabla and Dona Ganguly presented a dance recital. I am overwhelmed by the support I received from all quarters.
You are also an avid social worker. Yes, mainly because I believe in these causes. And also because I feel that today, I am in a position to make a difference in whatever little way I can.
And lastly, what's your resolution for 2009?
You know, although I like to drive, I am not exactly a pro. This year, my resolution is to hone my driving skills and become an ace behind the steering. (Laughs).
You are also an avid social worker.
Yes, mainly because I believe in these causes. And also because I feel that today, I am in a position to make a difference in whatever little way I can.
And lastly, what's your resolution for 2009?
You know, although I like to drive, I am not exactly a pro. This year, my resolution is to hone my driving skills and become an ace behind the steering. (Laughs).
Favourite car colour: Black and greenish grey.
All-time favourite car: Lexus SUV (my husband Sanjay owns one in Singapore) and BMW.
Last long drive: We have a house in Santiniketan and last year, I had gone there to spend some time with my husband and family. In Kolkata, I ride in: Toyota Corolla and Innova.
Favourite drive in Kolkata: Red Road, around Victoria and Vidyasagar Setu.
Traffic nightmare in Kolkata: The crossing right after the Tollygunge Metro. I always get stuck here en route to the studios.
A bad car day: This happened a few years ago. I used to own an Esteem then. One day, I was driving to a shoot when a taxi came and hit the car right up front. It was pretty shocking.
State of Kolkata roads: Something needs to be done about the potholes and we need better traffic management. Why, the other day, I got stuck at Kolaghat. With all the trucks and lorries waiting, there was hardly any room left for the motorists to move their vehicles. It was chaotic.
On the job done by the Kolkata Traffic Police: They are doing a good job, but, there's always room for improvement. But here, I would like to add that as citizens, we too, need to be more conscious and make our city better. You know, when I visit Singapore, I see how the citizens feel responsible for their city. They are constantly making efforts to improve things. We need to be like that. As citizens, we need to understand that we cannot guide rules all the time, we need to be guided by rules as well.