Anirban Bhattacharya on Byomkesh: He’s the typical lazy-Bangali
Samarpita Das -
You know him as the communist turned nationalist for his role in Gumnaami, you know him as the saffron-oriented person from Uma, and very soon you will also know him as the potential murderer in Dwityo Purush. In short, Anirban Bhattacharya is a versatile actor and you don’t just remember him for one of his performances Anirban Bhattacharya, the new rising superstar of Bengali cinema is an avid watcher of Hoichoi. During an exclusive conversation, he said, “OTT platforms around the world are emerging very fast and it seems that it can be or it will be the main platform of entertainment. This is a very good, or great initiative for LetsOtt to promote such things. Hoichoi is mainly a Bangla based OTT platform but it also helps us to reach out to the global Bangla audience through the film library and with retro characters like Byomkesh and other contemporary films. So any kind of OTT initiative (such as LetsOTT) is important because I think OTT is the future of entertainment.” But what inspires him? During an exclusive conversation with LetsOTT talked about his favourite shows on Netflix and Hoichoi. It was a good friend-cum-manager of Anirban Bhattacharya who informed LetsOtt that he is an avid watcher of shows on Netflix and manages theatres, acting on big-screen, small-screen. In short, he is a busy busy man. “Not much but yes regularly,” said Anirban when we asked him if he is into binge-watching. Being a vital part of SVF’s digital branch, Hoichoi he watches every content on the platform. “Yes, I watch a lot of OTT content but not like a hooker you know. Aaa..aa.. it’s not like a….umm yes binge-watch..but not like everything,” he continued. “Like Narcos, House of Cards, from Hoichoi I watch all of them since I am a part of that platform so it is necessary for me to watch all contents on Hoichoi for work purpose. So, I prefer to watch everything on Hoichoi.” While talking about his experience as a theatre director and on-screen actor he said,” The experience of working in films, web-series (you know) OTT content is not very different. But theatre is a different platform of art, a platform of work. It is very different. (Gestures with hand movement). After an agreeable smile, we started talking about his character in Byomkesh. Usually, the man who is popular in the novels for his objectivity and alacrity was seen in a different form in the fifth season of Byomkesh. Here he is an angry patriot, who glares at the British soldiers for wrongly draining India of its wealth, nutrients and resources which led to the Bengal famine. While talking about this phase of Byomkesh, Anirban said,” I would use the word human being than a patriot. As a human being, he is very much affected by the famine and in his deduction, he feels disturbed. His job as a detective is to conduct a deduction and under the contemporary atmosphere, his strengths and emotions get over lapsed. I think this is the first on-screen disturbed Byomkesh in our times.” So what is it about Byomkesh that keeps Anirban Bhattacharya so attached to the character. What makes him better than Feluda, Sherlock Holmes and other detectives worldwide? “Byomkesh is that rooted-Bangali…lackadaisical but intelligent. Lazy....refuses to get up unless pushed, he is the Bengali guy which we are in our day-to-day lives. Feluda…well yes, Feluda is also Bengali but he is a sharp and fit. Byomkesh is lousy and drowsy.” The first Byomkesh in the history of films was donned by Uttam Kumar under the direction of Satyajit Ray in Chiriakhana. Since then various other actors such as Jisshu, Abir Chatterjee, Rajit Kapur, even Bollywood’s Sushant Singh Rajput has gained fame on-screen for the portrayal of Byomkesh. We asked Anirban Bhattacharya if somewhere he felt a different kind of pressure while playing a character which was first donned by the ultimate star in the history of Bengali film industry, Uttam Kumar. “Eventually it makes no sense to take the pressure because that place is very much protected and untouchable by the…you know Bengali public. So I don’t really think that much, I mean (shrugging his shoulder) what’s the use right? So, I don’t think so much.” So to a non-fan of Bengali literature, how would Anirban Bhattacharya introduce a character such as Byomkesh? “I wouldn’t recommend Byomkesh…if they don’t want to see,” he said indifferently.