What happens when two brightest stars of Bengali films meet? It is not a casting coup, so hazard another guess. Kanan Debi conversed with Soumitra Chattopadhyay on the occasion of an exhibition of an assistant cameraman’s guild. Chattopadhyay turned down the proposal of an interview and the two icons chose to speak to each other on the common bond between the duo — cinema.

The result was Akapat Kanan Debi : Alape Soumitra — a booklet brought out by publication firm Sutradhar.

One will miss a treasure trove of information about the unique duo if he/she judges booklet by the slimness of the publication. Nuggets tumble out of the
pages a perusal of which will enrich the present day film actors and movie goers.

How many actor of these days can compare a studio to a college where lessons in histrionics can be learnt. The studios were acting schools when Kanan Debi was a leading lady and Soumitra, himself having won many a laurel for his acting at home and abroad, does not disagree.

Underscoring the great actress’s contention, he regrets that film education
is lagging behind these days despite the mushrooming of film societies
and proliferation of film festivals.

It is surprising that the histrionic standards have not improved despite an increased exposure to overseas films. Time was when cameramen, editors as well as the actors made a beeline to see foreign films.

Known for her ability for calling a spade by no other name having bemoaned the fact at Uttam Kumar’s condolence meeting that the screen idol was blessed with everything an actor can desire but not a true friend. In this freewheeling conversation, she lives up to her reputation.

Kanan traces the lacuna of the performance of some of the present generation of actors to their efforts to clone the acting style of their Mumbai counterparts leading to lowering of their working standard. Elaborating her point, she is quick to point out that the fact remains that there are good actors in Mumbai whose acting styles hardly find any reflection in the work of many actors in Bengal.