In 1992, when Rituparna Sengupta made her big screen debut with the National Award-winning film Shwet Pathorer Thala though she shared her screen space with an iconic actress like Aparna Sen back then, she managed to create her first impression right. With more than 30 years of career along with several awards, including the National Film Award in her kitty, Rituparna says the only way to stay relevant is moving with time by embracing the change.
“I think I have gradually made this transformation with time. When I started, for an actor, the only avenues were theatrical film release and the vantage of an actor was based on his or her stardom based on audience love, box office collection. Back then, seeing my face on the poster of the film was such a big deal, that surely was a parameter of success and visibility. For other visibility, it was only commercial ads and that was it. So, celebrity status was a hard-earned factor for us, back then,” recalled the actress.
She continued, “In the last decade, things have changed owing to social media and other digital avenues. The whole game of publicity designing for talent has also changed that did not even exist earlier. And, here I am talking about before the corporatisation happened in the business of cinema.”
It is quite interesting how Rituparna not only balanced her filmography with commercial Bengali films paired opposite another Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee, but also appeared in critically-acclaimed films like Paromitar Ek Din, Dahan, Utsab, Alo, Mondo Meyer Upakhyan, Rajkahini by celebrated filmmakers like Aparna Sen, Rituparno Ghosh, Tarun Majumdar, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Srijit Mukherji respectively. She also explored Hindi cinema and worked with actors like Kay Kay Menon and Rajpal Yadav in Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh, Atul Kulkarni in Gauri: The Unborn, Ajay Devgn in Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji among others.
Asked about what made her explore Hindi cinema, apart from ruling the Bengali film industry as a much-celebrated face, Rituparna said, “I am always interested in working with the changing phase of cinema, because I do not want to be typecast. I rather want to step out of my comfort zone. I want to grow and that can happen if I explore different genres and languages of cinema. Perhaps, that is why you can see me in a typical commercial potboiler, at the same time in those films that we count as intellectual cinema or art house. There are experimental work in storytelling also happening, which in a middle-path, one can find me there as well. From the time I started, I think I have evolved as an actor because of the choices that I made, within my capacity.”
The actress is currently shooting in Uttarakhand for the film Antardrishti, a directorial debut of veteran Bollywood cinematographer Kabir Lal. An adaptation of the Spanish film Julia’s Eye, this one is a multi-lingual film being made in four languages — Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi. Produced by Ajay Kumar Singh of Lovely production, the Bengali version of the film also features Sean Banerjee and Indrajit Chakravarty.
“It is a story of two sisters and a murder mystery. When the younger sister dies, the elder sister, that I am playing, set a journey to find out the truth behind the death of her sister, and how it becomes difficult for her since she is visually challenged. How she navigates the way despite all the challenges, is the interesting part of the narrative,” shared Rituparna.