Popular Bengali movie star, Jisshu Sengupta, who has made sporadic outings in Hindi cinema with films like Barfi!, Mardaani, Piku, Manikarnika, and more recently in Shakuntala Devi, will be next seen in Durgamati, the official remake of the 2018 superhit Telugu horror thriller, Bhaagamathie, to be out on Amazon Prime Video on December 11. Over a telephonic conversation, the actor, who is also working on Tamil and Telegu films alongside Hindi projects, talks about the movie, the renewed interest in horror films, and admits that OTT platforms have brought more visibility and exposure to regional actors than ever before. Excerpts:
In the last couple of years actors from Kolkata have been doing more work in Mumbai than before. How have things come to such a pass?
It is because of the OTT platforms we have more visibility now. I am doing films in Tamil and Telegu as well. It is because of the OTT shows that actors like me, Parambrata and Swastika are getting good work in Bombay. We have got more exposure, which has led to more scope to work in other parts of the country outside Bengal. Like me, actors in other states have also felt the difference; it has made a great difference and a positive one so to say! Directors sitting here can now think of us to play important character roles. It is now easier for them to get to know about the kind of work that we have been doing outside Mumbai.
Tell us about your role in Durgamati — The Myth.
I play a cop who is strong-headed and level headed at the same time. It is a very interesting role though I cannot reveal much about it now, or I might just give away the plot! Since this is a thriller-horror space, you have to watch the film to get to know more.
The sets look grand and gothic at the same time. Is all that a set?
The main hall was built as a set. Apart from that all the other scenes in the building were shot outdoors in real locations. We had a whole outdoor schedule at Bhopal and the haveli scenes were all shot in two or three of the ancient palaces of Bhopal. We had a lot of fun exploring the old city of Bhopal and its architecture.
With Bulbbul, Pari and now Durgamati, do you think there are more Hindi films being made in the horror-thriller genre now?
A lot of it actually depends on the director. Both Bulbbul and Pari happened last year. This year, as of now, we have only one in this genre and that is Durgamati — The Myth. I think every year you get to see one or two good films, which are also horror films. But utna bhi nahi, abhi bhi nahin…unlike the frequency of such films we had in the 1980-90s, where most films were of this particular genre. We still have a long way to go, but we do have more quality films in this category now. That is for sure. But thriller as a genre has really come up, people love watching thrillers. I love watching thrillers, I’m a huge fan of that kind of cinema even though I never watch horror films. I’m very scared of them!