Post Kahaani, Saswata Chatterjee says he is stunned by the Bob Biswas craze that has taken the whole nation by storm
Madhusree Ghosh (BOMBAY TIMES; March 30, 2012)
Khannai’s baddie Bob Biswas aka Saswata Chatterjee is the talk of the town. The facebook profile of his character has 13,835 likes. He is also the adorable Ajit in the popular sleuth stories of Byomkesh Bakshi. BT engaged him in a candid chat about his sudden rise to fame.
Tell us about your journey as an actor…
During my adolescent years, I watched a lot of theatre. I had the habit of enacting every scene I saw in front of the mirror. My father (late Shubhendu Chatterjee) didn’t have any clue about what I wanted to do in life. His continuous pestering made me decide to take up acting as my profession. There was also another reason behind my choice. Acting is the only profession in the world where you can travel and see various places without having to spend money from your own pocket. I started acting in group theatres, including Jochon Dastidar’s Charbak. Subsequently, I assisted him in daily-soaps and then, Topshe happened. Of course, Kahaani is my huge break. Lady Luck smiled at me.
How did you bag the role?
When Sujoy offered me this character, I was surprised. Bollywood has loads of talented people who could have done an equally good job. So why me? Sujoy claimed that he knew me since my childhood. His maternal uncle’s house was opposite mine. Also, he had seen me act and wanted only me in that role. I am touched by his confidence in me.
How did you prepare yourself for Bob Biswas?
Sujoy, while briefing the character to me, called him “Binito Bob” (polite Bob). That phrase explained many things about him. We discussed and decided that Bob would have a belly and would have a bald patch. Then it struck us that Bob must have a special mannerism of rubbing his nails together. I’ve seen many people with a receding hairline do that hoping that it will increase their hair growth. That mannerism was my brainchild and it also worked fabulously. Many told me that they noticed that particular detailing in the character and were very impressed.
Did you have any idea that this character would achieve this kind of attention?
I’m still stunned by how Bob is becoming a craze. Usha Uthup was the first person to congratulate me. She called me up from Kochin where she had watched the film with her family and said: “Darling, I didn’t know you could be so mean!” But my wife showed me the pages created on his name and I was left zapped. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this would happen. I feel very humbled that people are appreciating my role so much.
Can your popularity post-Kahaani make you use a mobile phone?
(Laughing loudly) Absolutely not. Till date, I’ve managed my life quite well without the irritating presence of a mobile phone. Bob or no Bob, I’ll continue doing just that. In some cases, mobile phones have made people extremely unsocial. I don’t like that.