"I Wouldn’t Be an Actor If I Couldn’t Get Back to Normal" : Raima Sen
Raima Sen has carved a niche for herself with her unconventional choice of roles
Raima Sen is unpretentious from the word go. She is the granddaughter of the late Suchitra Sen and is an actress who can easily be crowned as the contemporary queen of Bengali films. Right from her first movie Godmother to The Japanese Wife, she is one actress who has always been applauded by critics for her performances. Her upcoming Hindi film The B*****d Child has been creating a strong buzz and the actress feels that it is among her strongest performances. Masala! gets in conversation with this Bong beauty about her upcoming films, her inspirations, her family life and much more.
What is your latest film all about?
The film deals with the birth of Bangladesh in 1971 and focuses on the genocide when 400,000 women were raped and three million people were killed. Most of the rapes were done by army personnel and the children who were born ended up without fathers. So the title is very relevant to the film.
Tell us more about your character Fida and the kind of research involved in playing her on screen.
Fida is a victim of the genocide that took place in 1971 in East Pakistan. The films director Mrityunjay was very clear about my role in the movie. Just his guidance was enough for me to get into character for the film and I feel it is my strongest performance till date.
Did the brutality your character endures in the film take a toll on you emotionally?
I am very professional. I get totally into the role and can get out of it as well easily. I always grasp all the positive aspects of my characters and learn from them. I do various films where I portray different roles. I wouldn’t be an actor if I couldn’t get back to normal after a shoot is over.
What do you expect the audience to take from this film?
The message of the movie is acceptance. The only thing I can expect the audience to take from the film is a sense of compassion towards the victims and create awareness about this tragedy.
Considering the film is about crimes against women, what is your take on the entire issue?
The judiciary system of our country has been improving over time but somehow, I still feel girls are not safe at night. There have been many instances of rape. Apart from blaming the law and order, I feel girls should also learn to defend themselves physically and should be alert and cautious at all times.
Society is often affected by what’s shown on celluloid. So how do you justify the brutal scenes in the film?
What is shown in the movie is reality and we are not justifying anything. It is a mirror image of what happened back then during the time of the violence. The actual incidents that took place were more cruel and inhuman.
How was the experience of working with director Mrityunjay Devrat?
He is young, passionate and an energetic director. It was a fresh feeling to work with him. He was very clear in his mind about the movie and our roles. He is a true visionary! I really enjoyed working with him on this film.
You have always done unconventional roles, is that a conscious decision?
I do not identify myself as someone who does unconventional roles and it has never been a thought process. Even though I love period films I have done fun movies like Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. I do films that have a good script and those my fans would want to see me in.
Which of your famous grandmother Suchitra Sen’s roles would you like to reprise on screen?
I wouldn’t like to reprise any of her roles. But I have always loved her role as Aarti Devi in Aandhi.
You were born into the royal family of Tripura. Can you tell us what your childhood was like?
Even though I was born into a royal family the Rajwadi aspect of it was long gone in 1947. I have had a very normal life considering I was born and brought up in Kolkata itself. I had a simple upbringing. But I still am passionate about my culture and tradition.
Can you tell us one character that is your personal favourite?
My character of Ashalata in Chokher Bali.
Which co-star/director helped you master your craft better?
I have learned a lot from the late Rituparno Ghosh.
Name one contemporary director you would like to work with and why?
Mani Ratnam. I have always loved all his movies. He is an actor’s director. He is an extraordinary filmmaker.
What are your upcoming projects?
I am doing a Bengali movie with my mother, Moon Moon Sen and my sister Riya called Kolkata Calling. We have not started shooting yet, so I can’t say much about it right now.