Celeb Magazine

Interview of Tollywood Superstar and Action Hero - Bengali Actor DEV

By Ishita Roy @ishitrozel

Tollywood's Very Own Chocolate Boy speaks about life and Chander Pahar

Interview of Tollywood Superstar and Action Hero - Bengali Actor DEV

The ever smiling Dev

 Tell us something about the snakes used in Chander Pahar…..
     The first time I shot with a snake was a python. Well, I won’t say I’m afraid of snakes; it’s just that I find it incredibly gross when their skin meets mine. It’s something like the phobia you may have of cockroaches. Some of you may not necessarily like the feeling of a lizard or cockroach, you know. You may see snakes on Discovery Channel and even I love the little shows they put up on the road, but the practical experience is entirely different! So, the snakes crawling all over my body with their slimy skin was perhaps, the most terrible experience of my life, trust me. I think, it was the first fight scene we had shot for Chander Pahar and we shot the entire sequence in a cave, the Tutwala cave, which is the second largest cave in the world. I can say it is approximately as huge as South City, including the residential complex – that big.
  While doing the movie, how much have you deviated from the book, Chander Pahar by Bibhutibhusan Bandayapadhay?
                  We have actually followed everything that is there in the book – everything. Well, you can’t say word-to-word because it’s a film, and for that a little tweaking of the story is required. You see, at the end of the day, movies are entertainment media. When you read a book and then watch its movie, it’s a Hell and Heaven difference. For example if you read Harry Potter, then watch its movie, it’s different. They’re two completely different things, you know. Movies are larger than life. When you read the book you can simply just imagine the creatures, but when you watch a movie you see the creatures and it’s just amazing. For movies, you have to give each and every detail of a particular scene. You can simply write that the python came in, but for movies there has to be a proper entry even for the python. And I think for this reason, we have perhaps changed ten per cent of the book, but ninety per cent of it is the same.
 Did you, as a child, read the book? What were your thoughts on reading the book?
   No, I did not. Even though I’m a Bengali, I was mainly born and brought up in Bombay, so I’m almost a ‘Bombay Boy’. But once I signed the film and everything, I bought the book and read it.
The only thing that stuck to my mind was – “how is this going to be converted into a film?” There are snakes, a lion fight, an elephant; trained, tamed land, and also a black mamba which we don’t get in India. What about the volcanic eruption? The mountain? How will we get the canvas of the film, you see. The look and the feeling; it’s usually something you’d expect out of a Hollywood film. So this is what stuck to my mind. I asked my producer where and how we were going to shoot these scenes in India. Usually what we do in India, is that we shoot ninety per cent of the scenes in India and then go outside to simply create an ambience with look-alikes of the locations and then shoot the entire film abroad, but mostly we simply do it all here itself. And then the budget is also an important factor, so we had to see to that as well.
 Was the role of Shankar challenging?
              O very! You might have read the book in the comfort of your home but we had to execute it in the real desert and jungles with the looming threat of wild animals. We were subjected to extremes of temperature and had to shoot in the middle of Kalahari Desert. I have vertigo nevertheless I did the stunts. Sometimes they would made me sit atop an Afrian giant horse or even keep me hanging from the cliff for hours in order to get a perfect shot.
 What was running through your mind before signing this film?
   The role came to me – it just happened. First thing that actually came to my mind when I signed this film was, “Why me?” *chuckles* and the answer I got was: “You need Chander Pahar and Chander Pahar needs you.”
I said: “Are you sure?”
Again the answer I got, was, “I don’t think anyone can play the role of Shankar as well as you. So that was quite flattering.
Tell us about the lion sequence…
         I came dangerously close to the lion a couple of times. Whenever we came too close for comfort the lion would be distracted from a different direction with red meat.
 Chander Pahar does not have any heroine. Will that affect your usual audience?
   Oh, I’m very happy *laughs*. I’m bored with girls! The lions and pythons I have in this film are far more exciting!
 Do you relate to this character?
         I think so, yes. Because Shankar goes to Africa all alone and then starts befriending people. Similarly, when I came to Kolkata, I didn’t know anybody. I used to come here for three-four days and stay in a lodge; give my photos in this studio and then return back to Mumbai. So, yes. And I would say that as an actor, you are able to easily pick up on a character.
  What has been his best experience as an actor till date ?
   I don’t think there is one particular experience, it’s just the amount of affection I get from people not only in Calcutta or India but from all over. Like previously when I visited London, people knew me by my name. There are a great number of Bangladeshi people in London, and I was caught by surprise at how they were taking autographs and clicking pictures. Even when I was in Paris, the people knew me by my name, of course only the Bengalis but you know; it was surprising since Tollywood isn’t among the top movie industries. With the drastic change that you’ve seen with new directors and actors coming in, if you see a Bengali movie today, you will be greatly impressed. Today they say there is no difference between Bollywood and Tollywood. It’s great working in Tollywood today. I just hope Bengali films get a national platform so we can also make our films better.
As an actor I’m enjoying this phase of my life where I get to do films like Rangbaaz then I get to do Bhuno Haash and Chander Pahar; it’s lovely.
 You are regarded as the Chocolate boy of Tollywood [flashes the widest smile!] and are also known for your stunts. So which one would you like to be your image on screen?
I’m probably the luckiest guy on this planet who has got the opportunity to play roles of different genres. I’m lucky to do what Bumba Da is doing now, and I have already done them at the age of 30 – so it’s a big achievement. A successful actor is always known by his last film, not his chain of hit films. You may say my fans are used to seeing me in roles such as that in Rangbaaz, but then there is Chander Pahar. The audience will see what I show them, you know. But I won’t know from beforehand if they like it or not; and for that I have to try doing the film to know how my audience likes me better. At the end of the day, all I want to do is a great job so that the audience will appreciate me.
 You know the Tollywood movie industry had shot up to great heights right after your arrival. How do you shoulder the responsibility?                   No, I don’t. You see every industry has its growth period, extremely good phase or a bad one. By luck, I think the phase or time period that I came into Tollywood, was the growth period of our industry – it was going from one phase to another. And I happened to fit perfectly in that phase. Maybe at that time, the audience wanted the Bengali actors to dance a little bit like Bollywood actors, do stunts and act and I could do that. And the same time even Jeet Ganguly came in and started doing a few peppy numbers too. It’s sheer luck that I just fit in. The industry and I complement each other.
 But won’t you take any credit for it?
   No yaar! It may happen, that there would be another phase change and I won’t fit in at that time. Maybe Ankush will. So, I won’t take credit now. Maybe 20-25 years down the line, I will. Today, it’s just been six years of being an actor, maybe those were simply my “practice years” – there’s a long way to go *smiles*.
 Do you put in any extra effort from shifting roles from a playboy film to a semi-intellectual one?
   No, actually. I can say I find commercial films very difficult. It’s because I think in intellectual films the author has made everything ready for you. Like in this film, I already know how Shankar walks, talks, looks - he’s a village boy and even Bhuno Haansh is a novel-based film – both my characters in the mentioned movies are author-backed. I just have to read the book two to three times and I know what to do and how to. Before doing a shot, I don’t have to think twice. And the best part about semi-intellectual films is that your team is always superb. Your look is ready, your costumes and dialogues are ready; you’re always prepared. But in a commercial film, you have to make the audience laugh and that I find, is the most difficult job. Even when I’m given a dialogue, they don’t expect me to say it simply; I have to think a thousand times how to actually say a particular line.
Now let me ask you something, don’t we follow Salman Khan’s style? Aren’t Bollywood actors ever copied? So when you’re doing a commercial film, you’re watched by the mass and have to think twice before doing anything. At least half a day goes by thinking how a step is coming off or how a costume is looking because you know that people are going to follow that trend so it’s a difficult task.
 So how do you balance between the two kinds of films?
               You can say I am on a “bridge” between the commercial and so called intellectual films, right now. Intellectual films are not hits commercially and commercial films are not appreciated in an intellectual manner. Say for example, my film Rangbaaz did well. That’s my comfort zone. In the film, there are two songs, nice locations that serve as a delight to your eyes and also pretty costumes so I knew that it’ll do well. But you know what happens in semi-intellectual films, like supposing in Buno Haansh, there are only real locations. I’ve basically worn the same shirt throughout. It was so obvious, that while I was shooting at the airport, a lady came up to me and asked me if I was wearing the same shirt in which my photo was published in the paper *laughs*. But anyway, doing these kinds of films is new right now, and it’s just what I’m trying. So I’ll wait for the result after it releases; if I can do both kinds of films then nothing like it.”
 Which kinds of films do you prefer?
           I am dying to do Bindaas, my next commercial film. Being an actor, if I’m not biased, then I think I’m happy doing both kinds of films. It’s just that, change is necessary, they say. You need to get out of your comfort zone. The word is – challenging actually. For people like us who are in the creative field, we have to constantly try something new and extremely challenging. Unless we do this, we’re doing it wrong. So you can’t stay stagnant and have to try something new; that for me is Chander Pahar or Bhuno Haash. The bottom line is, I’ll do what I enjoy doing. The day I think something is getting slightly boring, I’ll switch back.
 Before signing a film, what is it that makes you decide that it’s the one for you?
         See, that depends on the industry I belong to. For me, the producer is very important. He has to be very passionate about the film; which you rarely see in producers in Tollywood. And it is very important for me that the producer be passionate.
There are two types of movies, one made for a money-making motive, and the other, just because you want to make it. We need more producers who don’t just sit and stress about his money coming back. I want producers who believe in the film – since I do that, too. If he’s passionate, then I’m passionate. You will see most of my songs are very expensively shot. Now, since the producers are putting in so much, I try to work harder; I practice more and simply try to do what they want me to.
 How do you decide?
         Be it Bengali or any industry, the first thing you need to see is the type of audience that is watching your film; it’s mostly the mass audience. So it depends on the genre you’re going to choose. I think Bengali industry has the largest canvas. You can do an art film, a novel-based film or a hardcore mass film. So it goes by what people like.
 Is there a film that you saw when you were young that you would love to work in?
   Well, I used to really love the movie Castaway. I’ve watched the film four-to-five times now, and I absolutely love Tom Hanks. The movie gives you a larger than life experience, you know.

 Which directors would you like to work with?

       There are two directors whom I would like to work with – Srijit and Koshik da. I’ve had meetings with both of them actually. But I’ll tell you truthfully, each meeting we both promise each other to do a film together and we just forget it next morning! *chuckles* He gets busy in his work, and I with mine. It’s too early to say right now but, yes, Srjit and I are planning something. Ritu Da and I had had several meetings where we would discuss about this film I was going to do with him – the shooting was going to start in December. He has so much knowledge, it’s unbelievable. I think he is one of the most brilliant directors I have ever come across.

Interview of Tollywood Superstar and Action Hero - Bengali Actor DEV

Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhay's famous adventure novel Chander Pahar

 Do you think this film will match up to your expectations after its release?
   I truly don’t know. Nobody can say whose film is going to be a hit and whose isn’t. It’s just that I, and everybody else in this film has made great efforts. It’s a film that is rarely seen in India. We are not doing too loud a promotion for this film, and I just hope our hard work doesn’t go to waste. Sometimes the simplest of things can have a huge impact. For instance we had gone to a lodge in the Kalahari Desert, 400 km from the airport. We read one sentence that was written there and it left us stunned. “Next liquor shop after 300 km” No details were given but just think of the impact of the promotion!

 What goes on in your mind a day before a movie of yours is to be released? Nervous or excited?

          Well, I’m definitely nervous but the thing is – I want everyone to watch the film. We make films with so much honesty and effort. It’s not just my hard work, it’s the efficient management of the cameramen, the art department, the director; the entire crew basically. So, yes, I’m nervous as well as excited.
The movie was made possible because of the crew and I must say that my producer was extremely keen and passionate on making this film. Our director, Kamal Da, is genius. I mean, you can give him a topic to debate on and he can talk about it for an hour, he’s that intelligent and updated. In this movie, everything was detailed. We had legitimate sketch-boards going around that explained everything that was going to happen in the movie. So, I think I saw Kamal Da’s zeal and was encouraged to give my best as well. He’s also a theater actor, so yes, his guidance was wonderful.
To go to Africa and shoot in the Kalahari Desserts is almost an impossible task. The weather there was truly bipolar. It was freezing cold and scorching heat in the morning and afternoon, respectively. To read about elephants coming in and to make it all a visual experience are two totally different things. So hats off to the execution of this film.
They had bought century-old articles, just for the film. There was this shop in Africa that sold old articles and they were considerably expensive. The gun, for example, that I used in the film is the original one – Manchester. It is from the eighteenth century and is about as heavy as twenty kilograms. I think the art department in this film was one of the best. They even made the boat there – in Africa, in those conditions. That was a hard-working lot we had.
Now that Bengali cinema has entered a new era, when are we going to see mythological films?
          Very soon. My next film with Raj Chakroborty is a mythological film in which I play the role of a warrior from 400BC who is reincarnated in 2014.
  You seem to appear in most of the cultural events that are organised by our Chief Minister, Mamata Di. What do you think is the role you play as the Tollywood actor in promoting Bengali culture?
          Earlier it was you who had asked me about responsibility, isn’t it?. As I said previously, I have responsibilities on my shoulders as a Tollywood actor. But those responsibilities don’t just finish after making a hit movie; it’s the role I play after that. If I don’t go for the Film Festival, it’ll be a loss for my industry as I am the face of Tollywood. Now I’m not doing unnecessary work by going to every possible event that happens – I go to events which I know will help promote my industry.
Also, if you get a call from the chief minister of your state, who on earth has the courage to say no? (chuckles)
 Many directors are experimenting with films based on Bengali literature. Your comments….
            Bengali movie making canvas has the widest variety where I think it is the only industry where we still make Literature-based films. There are producers everywhere, there’s a literature in every language. But they don’t make the most of it – we do. Do you see people listen to Marathi songs outside? Hardly anyone does. But here we still have Rabindra-Sangeet. It’s all still alive.
 Do you like theatre?
        O I love it. It’s sad that most of the theatres have closed down. I have spoken to the chief minister regarding its proper promotion. Nowadays we get everything at home including the latest movies. So why would a person go out and watch theatre? The trick lies in marketing. It can ensure the movie is a hit even if it is bad. Hence some serious promotional measures need to be taken for the Bengali theater.
 So do you think the film industry is becoming a money making machine and is moving away from the art of moviemaking?
             Any industry is money minded. Do you think the bill that your mobile company charges you is perfectly alright? But do you question them? It’s much easier for you to question the film industry, especially the Bengali film industry. Let me assure you that the Bengali film industry is still culturally vibrant. We make movies on Tagore. But ghar ki sabzi daal barabar. No matter what we do we would always be criticized. You go outside and see and then you will learn to appreciate our own industry.
 How do you manage to balance your family with your work?
          This year, I absolutely couldn’t give time to my family and have got complaints about that too! (sheepish smile) I’ll tell you something, there omens a momentum, a phase, and when you’re stuck in that, and you just want to finish one task then do things. This year has been very crucial for me. But I’m probably going to take a break in February when I’ll be done with most of my projects.
  Who do you idolize as a role model?
           I absolutely and completely love movies. I just go there to relieve my stress and have a great time. I love movies of the three Khan’s. People say that some of their movies don’t make sense, but all I have to say is that, So what if it doesn’t? You’re going there to relax and entertain yourself. It’s not school that you always have to focus on the technicalities and learn something.
For me, the people or stars who can entertain their audience or make them laugh are like role models. Whoever it is, be it Ranbir or Salman.
Now I loved the movie Lunch Box, too. An amazing film, truly brilliant. I’m happy Indian cinema is touching such great heights. But, you know, these films will look boring and monotonous on paper/script and will be done in almost three pages. So these films need a lot of efficient execution. In some movies, the script is good but the execution isn’t so it doesn’t work out. A good film is a combination of a good script and great execution.
 Will we get back the singer Dev?
            No that’s not going to happen. It was a promotional gimmick and everyday is not a Sunday. My next song might turn out to be a disaster and people might beat me up! *chuckles*
 Many movie stars are acting in television shows? Do you have any such plans?
           Yes. I’m doing it in January but it’s still too early to say for sure.
If they ask you to play the role of Rabindranath Tagore in a movie, will you accept the challenge?
          *laughs* If they can make me play the role of Vivekananda, they can make me play absolutely any role!
   There was a time when the bollywood used to copy from tollywood. Then the vice –versa happened. Astonishingly, history is again repeating itself. Who do you give credit to?
      Copying is harmless as long as the credit is given. See, even Hollywood copies from various Korean movies; it’s just that we don’t realize it as those movies don’t come here. We only call someone a thief when the person is caught. In these 100 years of industry, the boy meets girl love story remains the same. Isn’t it also a copy but with different presentations each time.
If Chander Pahar is a greater hit than Rangbaaz, would you like to do more such films? Your usual audience is not used to it…    I’ll do such films as long as I am not bored. One should do a variety of films. And the audience watches what I make them watch. If this film doesn’t work well, you guys will come and tell me about it. It’s not the actor who makes a film a hit or a flop. The masses do. Don’t take people who are successful for granted. If they are successful, it means they have talent. I’m not talking about myself; but if you ever criticize someone’s acting, just keep this in mind, that no one talks about failures. We all talk about successful people. Simply, the fact that you are speaking about him shows how successful he is!

Interview of Tollywood Superstar and Action Hero - Bengali Actor DEV

Dev's autograph loaded with goodwill

 Finally, your message to the readers….
   Well, I really worked hard for Chander Pahar. Thank you for the warm ambience and all the best to all of you! Hope you all reach great heights!
Interview courtesy:
TTIS Reporters Kareema Barry, Ishita Roy, Sayantan Datta, Raktim Neogy, Jaismita Alexander, Megha Das, Chandrayee Chattopadhayay, Arka Roy, Resham Das
Have you watched Chander Pahar? Did you like/dislike the movie?
Has Dev done justice to the role of Shankar? 
Leave your comments below :)

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog


By Nicole
posted on 02 February at 23:36
Report spam/abuse

What's up, all is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that�s genuinely fine, keep up writing.

By Ushri Roy
posted on 23 January at 11:35
Report spam/abuse

I think Dev has done both justice and injustice to the role of Shankar. I liked the movie Chader Pahar, I watched it half and next time I will see full.

By Ushri
posted on 23 January at 11:30
Report spam/abuse

Dev your first picture at the starting of this, you are looking very handsome and young. You are the number one example of becoming boyfriend for girls.

By Ushri
posted on 23 January at 11:24
Report spam/abuse

I have saw half of the Movie Chader Pahar, its very nice and Dev was also looking very fair and handsome both in the movie.

Paperblog Hot Topics