The charming Moushumi Chatterjee returns to celluloid after several years in “The Japanese Wife” and is as self-effacing as ever, calling herself a “very lazy actor” who never took her career seriously and doesn’t want to work hard.
Moushumi, 61, says of her role as Rahul Boses’s “funny” Mashi in the Aparna Sen-directed film, based on a book by Kunal Basu: “I play Snehamoy’s Mashi. My character is very funny in the film. I have a special look in it. I had to put on weight — almost double of what you see now.”
The film, based in the interiors of the Sundarbans in West Bengal, tells the unique love story of Snehamoy, a schoolteacher, and Migaya (Chigusa Takaku) who don’t meet each other even through 15 years of marriage.
Moushumi, who had to speak in the colloquial language of the Sundarbans, told IANS: “I had to speak funny language and my movements are also very funny.”
She remembers getting cold feet while doing the film.
“I got such cold feet that on first day of the workshop I was trying to run away. She (Sen) caught hold of me and said that if she was expecting 80 percent she got 110 percent from me so I will have to continue with the role. I had requested her to replace me with someone else because I am a very lazy actor and I don’t want to work hard.”
She says she always wanted to work with Sen.
“I am glad that I got the opportunity to work in this project. It was an awesome experience. After seeing all her (Aparna Sen) movies – most of the movies I have seen – I always wanted to work with her. I know her as an actress. I didn’t have any experience working under her direction.”
Moushumi started her career with veteran Bengali director Tarun Mazumdar’s 1967 movie “Balika Badhu” when she was only in Class 5. The same director introduced her daughter Megha Chatterjee in “Bhalobasar Anek Naam”.
She may have featured in movies like “Parineeta (1969)”, “Kuchhe Dhaage” (1973), “Zehreela Insaan” (1974), “Roti Kapada Aur Makaan” (1974) and “Angoor” (1982), but she says she has never taken her career seriously. Her last Hindi film was “Hollywood Bollywood”.
“I haven’t taken my career seriously ever. I am so grateful to the film industry, all my colleagues – be it a director or a producer or an actor – all were kind enough to keep giving me films.
“I don’t have a PRO, neither do I have anyone to pitch for me. I don’t believe in doing so. People who remember me give me a call directly,” said Moushumi.
Asked about her future projects, she said: “You know I am at a stage in life where I have to be convinced about my role in a particular film. There should be some substance in the character and I should feel it’s worth doing it. I didn’t get any good offer. I am basically a very lazy person.”
Moushumi isn’t sure whether her daughter will choose acting as her career.
“She is really into the fashion world. It is too early to forecast whether she would be able to make it in Bollywood or not. I never knew that I would survive in the industry so long. When I was in 5th standard, I did ‘Balika Badhu’, but people still recognise me as balika badhu,” she said.
“Megha started with modelling only. Then she shifted to films. She feels she can justify both. You have to get the movie or the offer. It has to go with your terms and condition.”
The veteran says she has been teaching her children to be “very humble” and not to make any compromises with one’s self-respect. “By god’s grace money is not a problem,” she added.
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