Chaiti Ghosal has acting in her genes. Daughter of noted actor, late Shyamal Ghosal, she has been walking the tightrope between and among several roles successfully. With a track record of 20 years, she is currently featuring in two films around sports. One is Messi and another is 22 Yards in Hindi directed by Mitali Ghosal that revolves around cricket. It is a comeback story of two characters, a sports agent and a young cricketer who were lost to oblivion. Excerpts:
Q. You made your debut as Amal in Tagore’s Daakgharon stage as a little child. What happened after that?
I was just five-and-a-half when the rehearsals started. My first ever co-star was the great thespian Sambhu Mitra. I remember people forgot to clap at curtain call. After the silence came the thunderous applause that still rings in my ears. The rest is history.
Q. Was being the daughter of Shyamal Ghosal a liability for you in your acting career or was it an asset?
It was an asset. I would have never been this person if Baba was not around. My socioeconomic views, my humility which my parents taught helped me go under skin of the characters I enacted. That made all the difference in my acting. I try to learn by observing young and veteran actors. I know what to throw out and what to retain.
Q.Do you think television boxed you either in negative or character roles when you were young and attractive enough to do leading lady?
Television gave me the best roles. I was the best daughter-in-law who symbolised a voice of protest in serials. I did many controversial and dramatic roles. I did roles which were much older than my age. But in serials like Ek Akasher Neechey, Madhabi, my character went on to become the most coveted leading lady. I received the protagonist award across channels. At that time, housewives were the protagonists and not the young brides we see today. Television is very commercial. It boosts stereotypes. I am doing Jamai Raja now where people will see me in a very different role.
Q.As a very young girl, you played Raakhee’s daughter in Parama. But Aparna Sen did not take you in any other film and this applies to many other filmmakers. Why?
Aparna Sen did not repeat me but Goutam Ghose did. So did directors, Subhadra Chowdhury and Nabyendu Chatterjee. Messi is my third film under the direction of Riingo. My concentration is on my work as an actor and my focus is on my craft. I am aware that the concept of PR is very common today but I think through my work, which goes on 24X7, I am my best PR and I live life on my own terms.
Q.What criteria do you apply while accepting an assignment?
The importance of the character within the content, and the depth of the character are the most important criteria. The banner does count at times to let the audience know about your work as an actor.
Q.How do you manage the tightrope walk between and among your professional identity and your personal life?
You cannot give 100 per cent to any single role all the time. Sometimes I am a better wife than anything else. Sometimes I am a better actress but I try my best to be the best mother.
Q.You have recently stepped into directing an all-women play enacted and presented by women from exceptionally affluent business families of Kolkata.What is the purpose of this mission?
Affluence is a coincidence. But they suffer from the same angst and struggle we all go through to make life more meaningful. We have named it Millennum Mams and they came up with the offer of theatre as therapy is already popular in Europe. The entire process of theatre cleanses you from within and enhances your confidence.