Even though he may not be seen that often on the Bollywood screens like all his contemporaries, still, there is no stopping the extremely talented Joy Sengupta, the man who has been dabbling in almost all sorts of creative arts right from the word go. Be in stage, films (Bollywood and Bengali), television, this man has ‘been there, done that’. Very soon, Joy Sengupta will be seen in Hello, the most talked about web series by Shree Venkatesh Films (SVF).

Satish Sundaresan of KoiMoi met up with Joy Sengupta for a super cool interview. Presenting the excerpts:

Joy, to start with, what is Hello all about?
It’s a psychological thriller cum triangular love story cum marital drama cum controversy’s own child. It’s an amalgamation of all of these.

“I Am Not A Very Good Storyteller”- Joy Sengupta
“I Am Not A Very Good Storyteller”- Joy Sengupta

Why has the web series been titled as Hello?
When you hear a voice that calls you ‘hello’ and you do not know who that person is, you can imagine that feeling that must be running down the spine.

What role do you play in the web-series Hello?
I am in the centre of a triangular love story. I am the centre of the success as well as the deceit. I am both, an aggressor as well as a victim. I am the one who is dragging the plot and at the same time, I am also the one who is the victim of the circumstances and recognition of the two characters.

How was it to work with Raima Sen, your co-star in Hello?
She is one of the most matured personalities I have ever come across. She is as natural an actress as much a human being. There is nothing to hide about her. She is exactly the way she is.

What was it about Hello that made you give your nod?
Firstly, it is the first Bengali web series. Secondly, it is being produced by Shree Venkatesh Films, the biggest name in Bengal. Lastly, the way the whole plot of Hello was written, fascinated me to do it.

Hello is being directed by Anirban Mallick. How was it to work with him?
Terrific.

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Since Shree Venkatesh Films is at the helm of things, how was your experience to work with them?
They are mostly known for the mainstream cinema in Bengal. With Hello, it’s a completely different approach. It’s completely targeted at the urban audience and young urban audience. They are trying to reinvent themselves with this.

What’s your opinion about the ‘Hoichoi’ app, which is being launched as the one-stop online video streaming destination for the largest collection of the best in Bengali entertainment content?
It’s fabulous. The app has been able to create a bouquet of interesting web series, themes, artists, and technicians. I am sure and confident that it will surely be a major hit amongst the consumers.

What’s your take on the web, which is now being hailed as the future for all kinds of content?
The web, according to me, is a very democratic platform that allows anyone and everyone with talent.

You are a part of Zoya Akhtar’s web series Made In Heaven. Tell us a bit more about that?
It’s a massive project. The production value of the show is very high. I was really impressed with the sets, which is definitely a precedent of sorts. I have never ever seen anything of this magnitude.

You are also doing Jhalki, a film based on Kailash Satyarthi’s ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’. What’s that about?
It’s a film which has been very close to my heart. It’s got a very interesting cast. The director is a national award winning documentary film maker who has got a a very keen eye for details. Besides me, there is Tannishtha Chatterjee, Boman Irani, Sanjay Suri and Divya Dutta amongst others.

Even though you are doing the Bengali feature film Bilu Rakkhosh directed by Indrasis Acharya with the popular Bengali actor Koneenica Banerjee as the female lead, when will we get to see you in mainstream Bollywood cinema again?
It’s not that I am not willing to do mainstream cinema. I believe that there is a space for everybody. Likewise, I too have my unique space in the world of cinema and entertainment. I belong to the thinking actors’ space, which always goes for the challenging and complexities. Now, if that talent of mine gets used in a commercial potboiler, then, it will be fantastic!

Is it true that you want the West Bengal government should ensure every multiplex has a mandatory show for Bengali films just like Marathi films are screened in Maharashtra?
Very much. It is really true. Bengali cinema has a unique space in the world cinema as well as Indian cinema. They have actually led the art cinema movement in India.

We know that you firmly believe that acting is just not limited to films, but also gets extended to theatre, advertisements, radio, and television. Which of these mediums do you find it creatively satisfying?
As an actor, theatre is a very personal medium. It’s not governed by any market. Here, I can talk about stuff which I cannot talk about in cinema.

How important is money to you at this stage of your life, wherein you can call the shots?
Because I have worked in different mediums, I have found my life to be satisfying over the year. If I do an ad which is for money and is also aesthetically enriching, I also end up doing a small house art film which has been shot in the backwaters of a village or a tribal region. I will do a theatre which is experimental in Prithvi, but, I will also do a theatre in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York or London. There is a certain balance of commerce and arts in my life. Whatever I do, I want to keep the level of compromise minimum.

Speaking about ‘calling the shots’, have you ever thought of directing a full-fledged Bollywood film or maybe a web series, since you think that it’s the future of entertainment?
Always! I have tried producing as I feel that India lacks genuine producers. I did succeed at some level and also I failed at some level. I am very open to be the creative producer. And, if everything falls into place, then, I am all open to direct a film!

You play an important role in Ananth Narayan Mahadevan’s new film Roughbook…
It’s a film that’s really close to my heart because I began my career as a teacher, whereby I used to teach the children from age 16. My way of teaching was very unconventional. The main focus of Roughbook is to make every child feel that he is intelligent and capable.

You are a hard-core and ardent literature lover. Any plans of writing a book?
I am very good at writing essays and stuff that is personal, direct and non-fictional. But I am not a very good storyteller.

Looking back, how has been your journey so far from debuting in Govind Nihalani’s Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa to Hello?
It’s been a very diverse journey. My journey has touched upon things which I had dreamt and aspired for.

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