In the realm of Bengali cinema, Kharaj Mukerjee is a loved figure. He has been working as an actor since 1982 and has not been able to stop impressing his viewers since then. In Bollywood, he made an impressionable role in Vidya Balan’s Kahaani and Dharma Production’s Dhadak. At the prestigious ‘Garber Bangali 2021 award announcement, International Business Times managed to have a short interaction with him, where we asked about the present scenario of the Bengali film industry and scopes for actors to make it beyond that.
Do you think Indian cinema would have been largely incomplete without Bengalis?
See, the thing is this over here we have a culture, where there is a culture there is creation. In Bengal, we invest in culture, poetry, dance, theatre. When there’s a practice, research, investment in culture. People have build relations with each other and with that many regional actors have managed to make their mark in Bollywood. From Bengal, we have various actors, actresses, singers who have made their mark, and many of them started small at reality show performances. We need to search from these various talent shows that have come up.
I also started working with Robi Ghosh. Back then I was a struggler, there were days when I didn’t get work, then Robi Ghosh always told me to try not to be upset, that takes me back.
For the uninitiated, Robi Ghosh had been one of the most favourite actors in Satyajit Ray’s circle. He had played the role of Bagha Byne in the Goopy Bagha trilogy.
Always move forward. But in this industry, the usual routine is people wait outside the studios hoping to get that one break. But they are not actors who are working in the theatres. Those actors are so engaged in plays that they don’t have time to stand in front of the studios. Meanwhile, even directors don’t try to search for them. Until and unless they do the real hunt, you will never find good performance on screen.
Has the hunt has started…?
Of course, they are looking for performers in Bombay, which is why I’m able to perform in their films. Now they are looking for real performers. This opportunity did not exist back then. I am working as an actor since 1982 when black and white films were still happening, yes it was coming to an end. Post that I have worked in Bengali series, television shows, theatres, Hindi films not so much. But now my opportunities have increased. When this opportunity increased I started getting more exposure.
So you think in Bengal, this quality is developing in directors, to look beyond?
Sorry, not directors, actors are working hard for that. Directors are all puppets of producers, they hesitate to explore their creativity. There are exceptions. Most directors work only under the orders of the producers. They make compromises because they have a career to think of.