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Ishaa Saha: Bengali OTT needs more exploration within constraints
Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Ishaa Saha: Bengali OTT needs more exploration within constraints

| @indiablooms | 08 May 2024, 05:21 pm

Bengali actress Ishaa Saha is gearing up for her next web series, Paashbalish, where she reunited with Suhotro Mukhopadhyay and Saurav Das. Ahead of the show's May 10 premiere on Zee5, Ishaa speaks to IBNS correspondent Souvik Ghosh... Excerpts...

Q. You intended to explore OTT more. Do you think you have been able to do that in the last one year?

A. I don't think so. Umm... in Hindi, series like Laapataa Ladies, Amar Singh Chamkila are being made alongside some TV+ projects. In Bengali, the problem is the number of good projects is far less as compared to other industries.

The competition is much more here. As a result, the number is lagging behind. Makers, who are also helpless, have to cater to the wider audience. I can't blame them for that. I think it will take a bit of time to see better projects popping up here. We have to wait. It's very unpredictable when it comes to cinema or OTT.

Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSImage by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Q. You are always praised for your acting skills. Do you feel misfit in the Bengali film circuit, which you claim needs to explore more?

A. I won't say mifit. But it would be better to explore more and broaden our horizon staying within our limits and constraints. Paashbalish would have been a greater project had we got more time to shoot. We had just 22 days to wrap up! I don't know how but it would be ideal to tactfully broaden our horizon and explore more within the constraints. Like in Hindi, some projects like Chotolok are coming up but it would be great if we can ramp up.

Q. Paashbalish signifies comfort. Is OTT a comfort zone for you?

A. Nothing like that. Floor is comfort for me irrespective of medium. It can be OTT or cinema. I won't say television right now because I don't want to box myself into those repetitive characters. Frankly, floors irrespective of medium are the same for actors. The process remains the same. I don't even realise whether it's a film or OTT while shooting.

Q. Paashbalish has a thriller tone. Did that excite you?

A. No, actually. It's also not always possible to find completely unique characters. I have worked with Suhotro (Suhotro Mukhopadhyay) previously (in Indu). Our onscreen bonding was loved by the audience so Zee5 wanted to explore that further. So naturally we are working as a pair. Suhotro is a brilliant actor.

I frequently work with Saurav (Saurav Das), who is also a great actor. Apart from pairing with Suhotro, the reasons behind opting for Paashbalish were collaborating with Zee5 after a long time and the entire set of actors! The story of Paashbalish is fully commercial, a family package with romance, thriller, action, drama. So a number of factors led me to choose the series.

Q. You are a director's actor. Do you always follow the same process?

A. I blindly follow the director. But in Paashbalish, both me and Korok-da had offered inputs. We have collaborated on the basis of logic and discussions.

Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSImage by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Q. At one point, your character wears a glamorous dress for raids, but also goes on to fire a gun in another scene. How did you explore the two shades?

A. As I said, I am a director and script's actor. I followed the script. When it comes to the character, she has experienced diverse situations which changed her completely. Honestly, I don't think much about whether the character is multi-shaded or not. I discuss scenes with the director and execute accordingly. Now, the rest depends on the audience and their point of view.

Q. You have recently posted some pictures from Mumbai. Any work update from tinseltown?

A. Talks are underway. I have been giving auditions. Unlike in Kolkata where my previous work is the testimony, I have to give auditions in Mumbai. Some of those auditions are obviously fructifying. I will also not work for any Hindi project for the sake of it. There have to be solid reasons behind jumping onto a Hindi project. A strange idea that actors from Kolkata are easily available is prevalent in other film industries. There have been occasions where I went through the audition but couldn't make it due to certain other reasons. But I am hopeful. I am trying to grasp Hindi, which is not my mother tongue. Though I used to be afraid of auditions in Mumbai earlier due to the language, I speak Hindi a lot better now.

Q. Do you follow any process to brush up your Hindi?

A. There is no particular process. I just follow my ways. I watch a lot of Hindi content. My confidence level in auditions is growing with the reception of positive feedback. I am sure I will make it to a Hindi project at some point of time. I have a lot of role models who inspire me to flourish in other industries hailing from Kolkata. Jisshu-da (Jisshu U Sengupta), Tota-da (Tota Roy Choudhury), Swastika-di (Swastika Mukherjee) have proved themselves at this age. A plenty of time is left for me (smiles).

(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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