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Alaap: Had my school crush, got anonymous letters, but everybody feared the team captain, says Mimi Chakraborty
In frame: Mimi Chakraborty | Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Alaap: Had my school crush, got anonymous letters, but everybody feared the team captain, says Mimi Chakraborty

| @indiablooms | 20 Apr 2024, 01:06 pm

Leading Bengali film actress Mimi Chakraborty reunited with Abir Chatterjee for Premendu Bikash Chaki's romcom Alaap, after last year's superhit Raktabeej. Ahead of the film's April 26 release, IBNS correspondent Souvik Ghosh catches up with Mimi on a scorching summer afternoon in Kolkata...

Q. The trailer shows you are settling down in a new city by renting a flat. Did that remind you of your initial phase of career when you shifted from Jalpaiguri to Kolkata?

A. Definitely. My initial days in Kolkata were much harder than what has been shown in the film because I had no money. I was completely dependent on my parents. I used to stay in a PG. My hardship was way more difficult. Having said that, the film captures Aditi Mitra's (Aditi is Mimi's character in the film) struggle related to her job. So, when someone from outside comes to settle in a city, the person already has the baggage of finding a house. To be very specific, the flat rent consumes a huge part of one's salary. So the struggle starts there.

Q. Alaap brings back the flavour of love letter romance, a kind of expression of emotion to which millennials can connect.

A. Absolutely. We millennials have seen the revolution. From Walkman to AirPods, from no phone or landline to mobile, we have seen all. Going back to my days in Arunachal Pradesh, people used to visit us, keep bottles in the refrigerator or make phone calls since our home was the first in the area to have those facilities. We have seen the revolution, yes! (smiles)

Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSImage by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Q. Aditi indulges in love letter type romance through sticky notes. But Mimi Chakraborty is digitally very active. How challenging is it to keep up with the pace in real life?

A. Given a chance, I would go back to the time when there was less social media and its pressure. Nowadays, we share weirdest posts on social media. So now social media is no longer a space which I find worthy to give attention. In my case, I have a lot of brand endorsements through Instagram. Frankly, if there was no earning from Instagram, I would have deleted all my social media profiles. Moreover, social media is a platform for promotions. I keep my followers updated about my works, films, songs et al.

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages and social media is no stranger to it. During Covid times, we had been able to reunite a person, who lost his way, with his family. So that also happens due to social media but a negative part always remains. In the days of lesser social media, I didn't have the pressure to share every update.

Related article: Alaap' trailer: Abir Chatterjee, Mimi Chakraborty indulge in 'subtle' romance with love letter essence

Q. You claim to be tom-boyish. Did you go through the love letter kind of a romance ever?

A. Umm... definitely I had a crush in my life. I received a lot of letters, which were anonymous because everybody was scared of me. I was the team captain, head girl et al in school. Everyone was or is scared of me (smiles). When I used to return home from hostel, I used to check my bag multiple times to leave no trace of such letters out of fear of my mother. Moreover, people used to hire me to give threats to others in my school days (laughs). So I didn't have any love and romance. Who would want to date someone who gives threats? I couldn't even propose to anyone (laughs).

I had a crush on the head boy of my school. Both of us were aware that I liked him but I never approached him. Moreover, he also had a girlfriend, who was the head girl (laughs).

Abir Chatterjee (L) and Mimi Chakraborty (R) | Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSAbir Chatterjee (L) and Mimi Chakraborty (R) | Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Q. You have starred opposite several male co-actors in your career. Are you aware of the fact that the Abir-Mimi duo is taking a shape as a popular onscreen pair?

A. I have never thought of on-screen pairing in my career. I believe a successful pair is made when one doesn't think about it. So, myself and Abir-da never thought of our chemistry. We got a good script and worked for it. I think one unique aspect of Raktabeej (Mimi's 2023 Bengali film where Abir was the co-lead) was having no love angle between both of us. And I think that is why the chemistry, which depends on script, story and individuals, worked. I think myself and Abir-da have nothing to hide in front of each other. I never have had any insecurity over a male co-actor when it comes to pairing.

Related article: Grand music launch of Abir Chatterjee-Mimi Chakraborty's Alaap

Q. Did you have any reference point to play a woman who works in the corporate sector?

A. I have never gone through any formal acting course. I am self-taught. I learnt acting through my vision. I have read books, watched films and observed to learn acting. I have worked on myself because I wanted to be an actress. Even if I am prepared with the script and dialogues, something happens in my body and veins when the camera starts rolling. It's impromptu. Neurons give me something which gets projected on screen. I have noticed that working excessively on scripts and dialogues doesn't work for me. I improvise after knowing my script without stressing. I think I excel when stress is removed from my character. In Alaap too, I had removed stress from my character.

There were a few mannerisms like having a key, travelling on a friend's bike, having a laptop and she is messy. It was difficult to play someone who is messy because I am not in my personal life. Aditi smokes while I had never smoked in my life. I had to practice holding the cigarette like a regular smoker. I was afraid that I might turn out to be a regular smoker. These were the small nuances which I had to put into my character. Rest is body language.

Q. You recently said your image projected in the media prevented you from having a romantic relationship in life and hence, you remained single. Do you intend to change your off screen image too?

A. No, no. It's absolutely fine. I can pretend for a film or art but not in my life. I am the same person to all. I have no double image. I speak the truth, remain honest to what I do and that is who I am. So if people know me beyond this, it's their luck.

Q. How do you see the online debates over comments made by Mamata Shankar on women's way of dressing or very recent Nora Fatehi's trashing of feminism.

A. We all are different people. We all have different visions and perceptions of life. All of our upbringings are distinct. It's very natural to have a difference of opinion. I believe in living and letting others live.

(Images by Avishek Mitra/IBNS)


The writer is a Kolkata-based entertainment, sports and political correspondent with IBNS. He can be reached on thisissouvikghosh@gmail.com

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