Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ
Having made her debut in 2007, Priyanka Bose has quietly been carving a niche for herself, portraying strong roles like Gangor (in the Italian production ‘Gangor’), which won her the Best Actress at the New Jersey Independent South Asian Film Festival, a sex worker in ‘Yeh Jawani hai Deewani’, Sandhya in ‘Gulaab Gang’ and Kamla Munshi (mother of Dev Patel) in ‘Lion’. Today, she enjoys the love from the audience and the roles she gets to essay which pushes her to excel in her work.
Her recent film ‘Pareeksha’ starring Adil Hussain and directed and produced by Prakash Jha was screened at IFFI. The film tells the tale of a parent’s dream and struggle to educate his son in an English medium school, where the father is a cycle rickshaw puller.
Talking about how she managed to get to play the lead role in the film, Bose, who was down in Goa for the screening, recalls that it was a casting director she knew who put her in touch with Jha. “I have wanted to work with him for awhile so the timing was perfect. I was getting the same kind of roles a lot at that time, so I was very grateful that he shared the script, and my choice was clear,” she says. And she enjoyed working with the director who is known for making films on topics like politics and social issues. “He had a very clear and pure vision from where the script came from,” says Bose, adding that Jha “has so much experience and still his wonder about things is not jaded”. This, she says, kept her on her toes during the production of ‘Pareeksha’.
Sharing great onscreen chemistry in the film with Adil Hussain who plays the role of Bucchi, her husband; Bose tells reveals that Hussain and she are great friends. “I feel safe with him. The learning is mutual,” she says.
While the film was based in Jharkhand, Bose says it wasn’t tough at all to prepare for the role. “Ranchi was fun. Prakash ji helped me with the accent. I like doing accents. Observing how people speak is my favourite,” she says.
Among her much acclaimed films is also ‘Lion’ in which she acted as Kamla Munshi, Saroo’s (Dev Patel’s) biological mother, and which was nominated at the Oscars. But for Bose, award functions don’t matter all that much. “My confidence is the same whether the film gets an Oscar nominations or not. I like to work so which award function the film goes to truly doesn’t matter,” she says. However, being nominated and winning is an amazing and exciting experience says Bose, who reveals that the Oscars platform provided a bigger pool from where she gets more diverse work.
And indeed, her roles in the various films that she has been a part of are different. And while Bose says she does her best in every role she gets, she still feels that she isn’t getting work that is very diverse.
“The color of my skin is still dictating the demographic I play. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel uninvolved in the other things that are going on; but it is a fact and it happens,” she says.
While she loves being experimental with roles, she reiterates that the script is paramount. “The script is king. I’m as experimental as the director who has faith in me. I don’t think actors are important. The written roles are,” she explains.
As long as roles for Bose are not sacrificed, it allows her to be creative. “The criterion for choosing is simple, if I love it, I’ll do it. And of course the people I work with have to be good people. I get lucky in both cases, sometimes,” she says, adding that she has no problem doing films for monetary benefit. “What’s wrong with that?” she asks.
She admits however that she sometimes wishes that she were born in a different era, when the air was fresher. But goes on to say, the films of the yesteryears are timeless and “all those leading ladies were special.”
Although, today, she isn’t the only Priyanka in the film industry, Bose states that she doesn’t see a comparison between Priyanka Chopra and herself and that she gets the attention that she needs. Appreciative of her she goes on to say: “She is amazing and doing amazing work and her way of life is inspiring.”
And like Chopra, Bose is also equally at ease in international cinema and contantly shuttles between Mumbai and Los Angeles for work. Having acted in ‘The MisEducation of Bindu’ which released in October 2019, she will be seen in the upcoming Norwegian-American fantasy adventure film ‘Mortal’ that will be released on January 2020 and in a medical drama series ‘The Good Karma Hospital’. Speaking about her Hollywood work, Bose says that she manages to get a response when she puts in work. “My agents are aware that I like to work so they are always looking for a best fit for me,” she says.