Expressing anguish over the row over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama Padmavati, National Award winning actor Prosenjit Chatterjee says directors will stop making historical films while actress Rani Mukerji said she stands by the director.
“It’s very hurting… Directors will stop doing historical films the way it has been handled. For a performer, any creative person, they should have their own (voice)… Somebody blaming an actor… because they are paid and are ready to perform their best,” Prosenjit said at the India Today Conclave East.
The actor, who has essayed diverse roles in his 35-year film career, says actors are driven to give their best to a character as per the director’s vision.
“As an actor, for a performance, for us, only my director and my character are most important and I have to deliver as my director instructs and there should be no issue with that,” he said.
Prosenjit lamented that actors today will never chase sensitive portrayals as that of Lalon Fakir, the 19th-century spiritual leader, poet and folk singer of Bengal.
The actor had essayed Lalon in the 2010 Indo-Bangladeshi joint venture “Moner Manush”. “I’m suddenly hearing these reactions. Actors (today) will never do a Lalon Fakir.”
Prosenjit recalled that he was told in Bangladesh that people started “keeping your image as Lalon Fakir in the calendar and being a Hindu you had done the role and were accepted in Bangladesh.
“Because he is like a God there… I had to deliver as an actor.. they accepted me (a Hindu) as Lalon,” he added.
Rani, during her session, emphasised that the society needed to be more loving.
“We need to be more loving as a society, as humanity… We need to go towards love. We have to disassociate with something which is unloving. I believe in love because I am a new mother,” Rani said when asked if she believed that a director must have cinematic liberty with historical or quasi-historical characters without facing protests.
Prodded to openly back Bhansali, Rani said the filmmaker knows she backs him.
“Bhansali doesn’t need Rani Mukerji to back him on a platform like this. He knows that I back him, love him. He is my darling and Sanjay truly believes how much I love him and he knows how I stand by him. I don’t need the platform to express that,” added the actress, who worked with Bhansali in Black, which she said changed her “as a person and as a performer”.