Bengal has the most amazing set of directors: Sushmita Sen

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Mumbai: Sushmita Sen has finally made her father, Subir Sen’s dream come true. Her father had always wanted to see Sushmita in a Bengali film. Now that her debut Bengali film, Nirbaak, releases, the former Miss Universe is happy to have realised her father’s dream. The Bong beauty, who was last seen in Anees Bazmee’s No Problem in 2010, is all praise for director Srijit Mukherji and her co-stars. The actor spoke to HT City on films, motherhood, daughters and more.

You haven’t been seen in films after No Problem, which released in 2010.
Films have always been my priority but I have often said this that the past seven years have been a very important phase of my life as a mother. Alisah was barely a month old when she came into my life. She needed my attention. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s something I really wanted to do. Now that she is grown up and actually likes to have her own space, I have once again started doing films. I am really enjoying the process.

Did you miss being in front of camera all these years?
(Laughs) As an actor most people would say this. We love the camera. We love being in front of it. I did it miss at times when I saw a brilliant piece of work… a film that made me say as an audience, Oh how I wish I had done this. But having said that, you have so much time in a day and you know you have to do something else at that point of time. Cinema is an intimate process. When you get into it, you should be there 100 per cent. So, I knew it wasn’t time yet for me to be there. But I did definitely miss it.

A few days ago you tweeted a few lovely pictures of your daughters, the caption of which read, “My Lakshmi n My Saraswati:) I AM a proud mother n a divinely blessed one!! Love u B’ful people:)”. Renee has grown up. Has she decided what she wants to be?
Renee is going to be 16 and Alisah will be six. They both have various plans. One day Alisah wants to be a pilot and another day she wants to be an astronaut. So she has varied interests which we all had at her age. Renee is growing into a young lady. She is much focussed. She wants to stay close to the field of liberal arts. She dances beautifully and loves the camera. She is grooming herself with the one point approach that she wants to be an actor. I am very excited about her because she has everything is takes to be an actor. But she wouldn’t be near a film set unless she gets herself a degree and gets well educated. So, that’s the plan. She is preparing for her class 10 examinations.

What took you long to do a Bengali film?
(Laughs) Everyone is asking me if I decided to do a Bengali film after such a long time, then why a niche film. Nirbaak is about silence. It’s not very verbose and wherever I have spoken, Srijit (Mukherji) made sure speak ‘suddho Bangla’. There was an initial fear. I always thought that if I did a south Indian film or any other regional film, people would say, ‘Oh, she is a Bengali girl attempting this film. Not bad.’ But being a Bengali girl and doing a Bengali film I had to get everything right. So, when you have that kind of inhibition you sometimes tend to pull it way too long. I will forever regret not getting a chance to work with so many great directors from Bengal. After Srijit’s script came along, a few like-minded people asked me to watch his earlier films. He is brilliant. Out of all his other films, Nirbaak is the biggest experimental work. He is brave and tries to break the rules. I came with an instinct and a desire to learn and I knew I would learn because Srijit is a director of great calibre. Also, he made sure I was surrounded by actors such as Anjan Dutt, Jisshu Sengupta and Ritwick Charkraborty, who are brilliant. For me, it was going back to school and this is what I love about cinema. So, I don’t know if I made the best choice or not but this is the film I said yes to and I am very glad I did.

You must have had received offers from other filmmakers in Bengal in the past too.
Bengal has the most amazing set of directors. After having shot my first film here, I need to take a bow. Right from the technicians to the sound designers, everyone is brilliant. However, five years ago, when I got offers for films, something or the other stopped me from doing it.

Do you watch Bengali films?
My baba is an avid Bengali film buff. It is because of baba that I started watching Bengali films. My baba would send me DVD of Bengali films but I really got into it in a big way when I saw Srijit’s works.

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