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Indubala Bhaater Hotel a lifetime experience for me: Subhashree Ganguly
Image Credit: Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Indubala Bhaater Hotel a lifetime experience for me: Subhashree Ganguly

| @indiablooms | 06 Mar 2023, 12:24 pm

Bengali actor Subhashree Ganguly is the latest Tollywood star to plunge into the OTT world and her first project is Debaloy Bhattacharya's Indubala Bhaater Hotel, which is an adaptation from Kallol Lahiri's novel of the same name. Ahead of the show's Mar 8 premiere on Hoichoi, IBNS correspondent Souvik Ghosh catches up with the actor for a candid chat... 

Q. Your co-actors were calling you Subhrashree-di during the trailer launch. Was a seniority established on the shooting floor?

A. No, no, I was just joking. I absolutely don't mind if someone calls me Subhashree-di. Almost all my co-actors barring one or two in Indubala Bhaater Hotel were junior to me. It feels good to get respect. I can relate to my junior co-actors' feeling because I have also gone through it while working with Jeet-da (Jeet, Tollywood superstar) or any other senior artist. But I always try to ensure that my co-actors are comfortable working with me. I am very careful about that.

Q. Barring a few, leading Tollywood stars are not much present on OTT. Do you consider yourself as a pathbreaker in that respect?

A. I haven't thought about it. I didn't venture into OTT thinking of doing something pathbreaking. But honestly, I don't feel that any actor thinks that way anymore as OTT and web series are very much in. Even actors in Bollywood are very much on OTT. I feel actors should explore OTT considering the kind of good quality works being done on this platform.

Q. OTT makes a star easily accessible to the audience with just one click on phones. Did that thought cross your mind before doing Indubala Bhaater Hotel?

A. No. I have never thought of it. The saying that 'go with the flow' has a meaning. Being in the system, I have always wanted to do a good role on OTT since I have been watching web series for so long.

Q. Were you waiting for a suitable project before making the OTT debut?

A. Yes, Though I have been getting various OTT offers, I waited for the right project. When Indubala was offered to me, I wished it was a film because I have been working on that medium for all these years. But later I realised it was impossible to capture such an illustrious journey in a film. I couldn't have got a better web series for my OTT debut.

Q. So it was a planned step to venture into OTT.

A. Yes definitely. I planned it for me at least if not for anyone else. I have always wanted and still want to play challenging roles. Indubala's character was a great challenge for me. I felt playing Indubala would be a lifetime experience for me when I read the book.

Q. You played a school girl in Parineeta and an aged woman in Indubala. How difficult is it to transform yourself to these diverse ages mentally?

A. Huge. I would say Indubala's character was a bigger challenge for me than the role I played in Parineeta. In Parineeta, I relived an age and life which I have crossed already. But in Indubala Bhaater Hotel, it was way more challenging to reach the psychology of a 75-year-old woman.

Q. How did you overcome that challenge?

A. I have a process. I always read scripts 100 times, if not more. It helps me in remembering my lines and leads me to the crux of the story. Slowly, I emerge as the character I play and live with it throughout the shooting period. I take some time to liberate myself from the character I played even after the project is done.

Subhashree as Indubala | Image Credit: Twitter/HoichoiSubhashree as Indubala | Image Credit: Twitter/Hoichoi

Q. So you carry the mannerisms of a character to your real life!

A. Yes. I take time to liberate myself from the character because I do method acting. As an effect of my process, I have been diagnosed with spondylitis for maintaining a hunch, which Indubala's character has in old age, on the shooting floor.

Q. Do you think Subhashree Ganguly was not exploited properly as an actor before Indubala Bhaater Hotel?

A. No, I have no such complaints. I believe in time and things happen only at appropriate times. I was offered every film, be it Parineeta or Indubala, at the appropriate times. I believe in God's grace.

Q. Questions were raised as to why veteran actors were not roped in to play the aged roles in Hindi film Saand Ki Aankh. You too played an aged woman in this web series. What's your take on this discussion?

A. I have no response to people's thoughts. I wouldn't have found Induabala's character this interesting had her older version not been offered to me. It was very challenging for me to play the older version of Indubala which was one of the biggest reasons for me to say 'yes' to the script.

Q. How would you judge OTT now after working on it?

A. I didn't feel like working for OTT during the shooting because the working process is no different than that of the films. I feel I would experience the medium after the premiere upon receiving the audience's reactions.

Q. You said the work in Tollywood being done with so many constraints is a lesson for all working outside the city. Was it a message for actors who left Tollywood?

A. No, no. It was not a message to anyone but my expression of love to all my co-workers in the industry. It's a show of gratitude to all my co-workers in Tollywood where all projects are being made with various constraints and in a limited time. One of my friends working in Mumbai couldn't believe Parineeta was completed in 20-22 days! It's unbelievable for people outside Kolkata.

(Images of Subhashree Ganguly by Avishek Mitra/IBNS)

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