My production house is for all irrespective of political ideologies: Soham Chakraborty ahead of L.S.D. release
Bengali actor-politician Soham Chakraborty is paired with Saayoni Ghosh for the Sayantan Ghosal directorial dark comedy film, titled L.S.D - Laal Suitcase Ta Dekhechen?, which releases on Feb 10. In a chat with IBNS correspondent Souvik Ghosh, Soham, who also produces this film, speaks on a range of issues including his party Trinamool Congress' ugly verbal fight with veteran Mithun Chakraborty in recent past, 'unity' in Tollywood and more
Q. Is L.S.D. a reflection of your choice of films you had taken much earlier in your career?
A. After Prem Aamar, I started taking part in content-driven films. I had done Amanush much early in my career. In every film, story remains the integral part. So I thank all production houses for keeping faith in me. I also had to groom myself for tough characters. However, in the middle of my career, I had opted for some other kinds of films to run the cycle. But honestly, I always look to build a relationship with the audience through my stories and characters.
Q. Do you go through a film initially as an actor or a producer?
A. I am not long in the business of producing films. So when I receive a script, I always tend to convince myself as an actor first. Often I remain in a dilemma between my actor and producer selves. Definitely I have to maintain a scale being a producer but as an actor, I am always cautious about the quality of a film. My production house will never grow if I compromise on the quality of a film.
Poster of L.S.D. - Laal Suitcase Ta Dekhechen
Q. What made you excited to sign this film?
A. I had found L.S.D.'s script very different and unique. I have never come across such a story or played a role like that. I hope I did not make a poor decision by signing this film.
Q. Whom do you consult when you find yourself in a dilemma between your actor and director selves?
A. I normally talk to my wife and mother but not in detail. Moreover friends, a few friends in my industry and my co-workers in my production house help me in overcoming the dilemma. I like to take suggestions from my house employees. I will be able to convince ten people in the audience only when I am able to convince my in-house members.
Q. A dark comedy is quite an unexplored terrain in the Bengali film industry.
A. I can't remember this genre was ever explored in this industry. I had instantly agreed to do the film when I heard of it and asked for the script. The script was, however, edited quite a few times and the final draft seemed very exciting.
Soham Chakraborty (L) and Saayoni Ghosh (R) | Image Credit: Avishek Mitra/IBNS
Q. How much do you contribute to the casting process?
A. I always discuss it with my casting director. As an actor, I believe my co-actors will have to be great in their craft which in a way challenges me, highlights all the characters and in turn makes the film acceptable. I prefer to cast actors who would look appropriate in the respective characters.
Q. Saayoni Ghosh, Kanchan Mullick, June Maliah are not just your co-actors but they are your party colleagues too. Do you fear allegations of favouritism?
A. I am keen to cast actors who would look appropriate for a character. Casting should not depend upon artists' individual ideologies. I would cast anyone who is appropriate for a character irrespective of his/her political ideology. My production house welcomes all.
Q. How did you feel when your party colleague (Kunal Ghosh, TMC spokesperson) commented on veteran Mithun Chakraborty's acting ability?
A. I don't accept such comments. Whoever said that is his personal opinion and he has every right to say that as a party spokesperson. But Mithun Chakraborty as an artist is beyond boundaries. I am a blind fan of Mithun Chakraborty, whom I know personally and I am aware that he is a political and a big-hearted person.
A scene from L.S.D. - Laal Suitcase Ta Dekhechen
Q. As a producer, how would you react to the pulling down of Bengali films and replacing them with Pathaan in West Bengal's cinema halls?
A. It is very unfortunate. Only our Bengali industry is deprived in this way. Regional films are always prioritised in south India or Maharashtra in case of halls and timings. Bengal is getting dominated. In response, the entire Bengali film industry will have to be united and not be selective in our criticisms. The corporate exhibitors, which are here for business, should also realise that not prioritising Bengali films is an unfortunate gesture. I feel the producers need to sit together and convince the exhibitors.