I look for impactful characters irrespective of screen time in scripts: Sauraseni Maitra
After earning attention as Durga in 'Generation Ami', actress Sauraseni Maitra has paired with director Mainak Bhaumik for a second film, 'Ekannoborti', which is produced by SVF. Ahead of the film's release, IBNS correspondent Souvik Ghosh catches up with Maitra, who candidly speaks about her journey to film industry, 'Ekannoborti' and more
From ‘Generation Ami’ to ‘Break Up Story’ to ‘Ekannoborti’, your association with Mainak Bhaumik is increasing. Is Bhaumik much like a home for you now?
Obviously. He is my best friend now. I met him for the first time back in 2017 when he had taken notice of me in a film called ‘Machher Jhol’. In my childhood, I didn’t watch a lot of Bengali films but Mainak Bhaumik had always been the director whose work I used to look forward to because his portrayal of women on screen was very different from what the contemporary directors were doing. So that had really attracted me about him and his work. It was a dream come true to feature in his film. Though he is my best friend, Bhaumik, who is very serious about his work, is just like my director on set.
Glimpse of Ekannoborti shooting | Image Credit: SVF
Does this comfort level sometimes affect the process of acting?
Sometimes, not always. The comfort level doesn’t always come when one is friends with a person. The only thing that really matters is wavelength and I am a director’s actor. I have no schooling on acting. Whatever I have learnt is entirely on the job. So it’s very important to have the wavelength so that one understands the director’s psyche. The work becomes easy when an actor is in sync with the director.
Do you offer your perspective of a character to the director during the shooting?
Absolutely. It’s a team process. Listening to the director and conveying one’s own outlook are equally important.
Tell us about your character in ‘Ekannoborti’.
My character’s name is Sheila, who is the elder daughter of this Ekannoborti household. She is a working woman. Sheila has problems with work, has relationship issues but she is trying to keep it all together. Sheila is the backbone of the family.
Your on screen sister-brother bonding with Rwitobroto Mukherjee from ‘Generation Ami’ has turned real after the film. Now you have a younger sister, Ananya Sen, in ‘Ekannoborti’. How has been the experience of working with Sen?
That’s really great. I have known Ananya for quite some time now. I had already worked with her on a different project which never really saw the light of the day so I had that bonding with her already. In ‘Generation Ami’, I and Rwitobroto connected instantly. But with Ananya, the chemistry was always there having known her already. It was very fun.
(From L to R) Rwitobroto Mukherjee and Sauraseni Maitra | Image Credit: Instagram/Sauraseni Maitra
How do you approach your scripts now?
Ten years ago, there were two kinds of films, commercial and art ones, especially in the Bengali film industry. Thanks to Rituparno Ghosh, art films at least had some strong, interesting characters while the potboilers or commercial films had mainly no brainers. The heroines in the potboilers didn’t really have much to do.
But now the Bengali directors are writing meatier roles for women. So I find myself as an actor only and not an actress (gender blur she meant) when I approach a script now. Now, there are a lot of films where women are the heroes. For me, it is important to have impactful characters irrespective of the screen time. Also I see the importance of a role in the script.
You had once said that your acting career happened by fluke.
My first film was 'Chittagong' for which I had given my first audition in life. I had landed up with the role three months after giving the audition while I was shooting for my second film which also happened by fluke. So working on the sets of 'Umrika' changed it for me.
Poster of Ekannoborti
Did that help you to become a more spontaneous actor?
That’s what becoming the character is. Once a character is internalised, whatever one does becomes natural. So, it’s more like behaving in the skin of another person all together in my body.
Any dream role you want to portray on screen.
(Laughs). I am still dreaming of it (laughs). No, there is nothing like that. There is nothing specific that I would want to do but I would love to give all to every character I play. I want to treat every character as my dream role.