Getting reel about Bollywood

Bengali actor, Soham Majumdar, popular for his role as Shiva in ‘Kabir Singh’, is enjoying films, the sun and sand in Goa as his film ‘Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti’ is being screened in the Indian Panorama section at the 51st IFFI. NT BUZZ in conversation with him

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

His first Bollywood film ‘Kabir Singh’ crossed the `200 crore mark. Riding high on its success, actor Soham Majumdar now has several film projects that he’s working on. The actor who believes that films find actors, hopes to continue working and be part of the storytelling process.

In the film ‘Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti’, which is being screened in the Indian Panorama section of the ongoing IFFI, Shabari, is a lecturer, performing artiste, and a priest. She learned the right way of performing Hindu rituals from her father. When Vikramaditya (Soham), son of a Panchayat Pradhan, proposes to her, she tells him that she performs puja, among other things. The film then deals with Shabari’s struggles after marriage.

Excerpts from an interview

Q. From Bengali cinema to your first Bollywood film. How did ‘Kabir Singh’ happen to you?

It is not a popular thing to say, but it was my first audition in Mumbai. In January 2018, I had gone for a musical called ‘Aladdin’ produced by Disney and BookMyShow. Through that musical, one of the assistants of the Mukesh Chhabra Casting Agency saw me and they approached me to give an audition. After getting that role I genuinely feel that you make your own luck. Fortune was on my side. The universe conspired and Shiva (his character in ‘Kabir Singh’) happened to me. I feel that you don’t get films, films find you.

Q. So, which films have you got then post ‘Kabir Singh’?

I got a lot of Hindi films and a multilingual film which I am not allowed to talk about (smiles).

Q. In recent times, and also due to the rise of OTT platforms, we’re witnessing fresh acting talent. So do you think the age of superstars ruling the cine space is passé?

We have to stop saying that someone is ruling the film industry. We are here to tell stories and we are here to live the souls of those characters. I don’t know about ruling, about stars and their children. I don’t think nepotism can cause a problem if you are talented. You can think of it differently today and look at it in a different way tomorrow. Viewpoints are continuously changing. Everyone is doing a fine job and during this pandemic there have been some good stories that are being told. My father has watched so many films and I feel that’s going to shape him. I believe you are what you see.

Q. Coming from land where we’ve had cinema stalwarts, do you feel the pressure?

I have long a lineage to live up to. We are still marinated in more ways than one. There are many who are doing a fabulous and entertaining work. I feel in some way if I can just be a part of history and cinematic history where I did my job to the team, if I have touched your heart, moved a nerve, then I will live on forever. If that is happening then I see no problem at all.

Q. Your first big film saw you sharing space with Shahid

Kapoor, were you nervous?

It wasn’t difficult but it wasn’t easy. You are in a zone and you have to tell a story. You are sharing a story, a life. The director made it easy for us. I got nervous because it was such a big setup. This was my first Hindi film. It was phenomenal working with Shahid Kapoor, I do hope I get the opportunity again. It was like a six months film crash course. I will inculcate the lessons in my future works as well.

Q. Since you have so many films you’re working on, life must be moving at a very fast pace, isn’t it?

I don’t like being too busy. I like to think… take a pause. What I do today is going to be somewhere in some archive for the future generation to see. I would like my grandchildren to be proud of my work.

So, I make time to play the guitar, I sing and watch a lot of movies. My girlfriend and I watch a lot of movies and talk about something that is not about movies. I am very Bengali in that sense.

Q. While you essay several characters in films, do you still carry a part of you in the roles you essay?

Some form of you will always work in the kind of work you are doing. If a producer wants me in the film then he has seen my way of doing it and has agreed upon me playing the character. If I have played it in a certain way I try to be as close to it as possible taking the director’s instructions and then playing the character. I studied engineering but I did not enjoy it. Here, I am getting to do what I love. I am doing it with passion and all my heart. We are humans and we all make mistakes. Accept us the way we are.

Q. Having moved to Mumbai, how are you coping with the life here?

I love my house in Kolkata. Mumbai gets a bit fast for me but it has given me a lot.

Q. So, how are you going to do the balancing act in terms of Bollywood and Bengali films?

I want to do films in every language possible. Language barriers are being broken. Today’s generation are thinking of stories that are local in nature and global in structure. This film I am here for ‘Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti’ is not limited to Bengal. Women menstruating is a natural phenomenon. And this film creates awareness more for men than women.