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'I found myself deeply moved by...'

March 12, 2024 14:27 IST
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'I had the opportunity to portray a wildlife crime fighter on screen, which allowed me to express my concern for society, wildlife, and the environment.'
'I strongly believe that humans share this planet with countless other species and hold immense respect for every living creature.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Dibyendu Bhattacharya/Instagram

The talented Dibyendu Bhattacharya, who has been proving his mettle for a good 25 years, finally seems to have come into his own, thanks to OTT.

"My journey in theatre since 1988 has led me to this point, as I have been involved in Rangmanch, i.e theatre, studied at NSD (National School Of Drama), and then joined the NSD repertory company as a senior actor. I am grateful for the abundance of roles I have been receiving lately, as they provide me with meaty opportunities to showcase my acting skills," Dibyendu tells Subhash K Jha.

"When given a well-crafted role, I feel empowered and confident in my ability to carry a film on my shoulders. This newfound success in my career can be attributed to the emergence of OTT platforms, which have revolutionised content creation and offered a diverse range of roles for actors like myself."



IMAGE: Dibyendu Bhattacharya in Poacher.

Among the highlight of Dibyendu’s career is the thrilling Web series Poacher.

“My ultimate goal was to work with talented directors like Richie Mehta. Upon learning that he was the director of Poacher, I knew I had to give my best during the audition," he says.

"Having admired Richie's work in Delhi Crime, I was eager to collaborate with him. Fate seemed to align when I received an audition call for Poacher. My dedication and hard work paid off, as I was selected for the role. I am grateful for the support and guidance provided by Mukesh Chhabra and his associate Sanjay, who played a significant role in my selection for the project.”

As a wildlife enthusiast, Dibyendu cares deeply about the well-being of our planet and its diverse ecosystem.

“I had the opportunity to portray a wildlife crime fighter on screen, which allowed me to express my concern for society, wildlife, and the environment. I strongly believe that humans share this planet with countless other species and hold immense respect for every living creature. My connection with animals extends to having a dog at home and growing up with cats.

"As a Hindu, I hold even greater reverence for animals, particularly elephants, whom we consider divine. To nurture my love for nature, I often visit forests and reserves whenever my schedule permits. These experiences not only fuel my passion for wildlife but also serve as a reminder of our shared responsibility to protect and coexist with all the wonderful creatures that inhabit our beautiful planet.”

He is all praise for the Poacher director: "Richie Mehta is a remarkable director, known for his extensive research and dedication to crafting well-balanced scripts. It takes him two to three years to develop a script, refining it through numerous drafts. And his work is never preachy.

"His scripts delve into complex, thrilling narratives while maintaining a focus on interpersonal relationships, family life, and nuanced character development. Richie's ability to balance these elements makes him a fantastic writer and director.

"His disciplined approach extends to his collaboration with every department, ensuring that no aspect is overlooked. He is deeply concerned about his cast, crew, and the environment, providing specific instructions to minimize impact on the natural surroundings. Working with such a thoughtful and meticulous director as Richie is enjoyable and enriching. His fascination with detail and character development creates a captivating atmosphere, where every character has a unique metaphor, and the script serves as a blueprint for the entire production. Collaborating with Richie, Nimisha (Sajayan), and Roshan Mathew has been a fantastic experience, as their combined talents create a harmonious and creative environment.”


IMAGE: Dibyendu Bhattacharya in his NSD days. Photograph: Kind courtesy Dibyendu Bhattacharya/Instagram

Poacher familiarized Dibyendu with the world of tusk vandalism.

“Upon being introduced to the project by Richie and immersing myself in the script, my role, and the series' broader context, I found myself deeply moved by the plight of elephant poaching and the unwavering dedication of real-life wildlife crime fighters," he says.

"Their selflessness and willingness to risk their lives for such a noble cause made a profound impact on me. Given that my character was based on a real person, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to authentically portray their story and give them the recognition they deserve. The multifaceted, nuanced, and complex nature of my character made this role challenging and deeply rewarding.

"I believe that it not only resonates with audiences but also has universal appeal as it delves into the complexities of the human nature. Despite the scheduling challenges posed by my other commitments, my passion and connection to the character and story fueled my eagerness to be part of this project. I was determined to make it happen because I firmly believe in the importance of shining a light on these real-life heroes and sharing their inspiring stories with the world.”

Dibyendu chose to surrender to Richie Mehta’s vision.

“His work is meticulously detailed and well-researched. As my primary point of contact, I would consult with Richie for any questions related to or unrelated to the script. He would provide valuable insights, ensuring that I understood the character's nuances effectively," he says.

"Although the character was based on a real life person, I did not meet them and had no intention of doing so before the shoot. My focus was on embodying Richie Mehta's interpretation of Neel Banerjee, capturing the essence of the characters and their internal conflicts.

"To prepare for the role, I conducted some research on ivory smuggling, which not only enhanced my understanding of the subject matter but also added to my overall knowledge. Ultimately, Richie Mehta and his script served as my primary resources for portraying the character authentically.”


IMAGE: Roshan Mathew and Nimisha Sajayan in Poachers.

Dibyendu enjoyed working with his Poacher co-stars.

“Nimisha Sajayan and Roshan Mathew are two rising stars in the Malayalam film industry. They are not only exceptional talents but also genuine, natural individuals both in their personal lives and as actors. They possess an innate ability to connect with their co-stars, making them a pleasure to work with. Their openness to rehearsals and improvisation allows for seamless collaboration, ensuring that everyone involved remains on the same page.

"Having had the opportunity to work with these remarkable actors, I feel incredibly fortunate and grateful for the fantastic collaboration we shared. Nimisha and Roshan's dedication to their craft and their infectious enthusiasm create an enjoyable working environment. When you collaborate with such passionate individuals, it is impossible not to feel a strong sense of camaraderie and shared purpose.”

IMAGE: Dibyendu Bhattacharya in BonbibiPhotograph: Kind courtesy Dibyendu Bhattacharya/Instagram

Dibyendu is excited about his new projects.

“It began with the release of Bonbibi, a Bengali film, on March 8. On March 7, the third season of Maharani began streaming. In April, I will be reprising my role in the much-awaited third season of Undekhi. I am also eagerly waiting for the release of Chakda Express, a film that showcases my versatility as an actor. I have recently wrapped up a film titled Ek Ruka Hua Faisla, an official remake of a well-known story," he says.


IMAGE: Dibyendu Bhattacharya in Undekhi.

His character in Undekhi, interestingly, remains his favourite character.

"Undekhi allowed me to explore and improvise extensively each day, as I contributed new lines, thoughts, and songs to the role. Collaborating with a talented and close-knit team, including my dear friend Ashish Shukla and the master creator Siddharth Sengupta aka Goldie, made this experience even more memorable. During the lockdown, Undekhi offered a unique form of entertainment that resonated with audiences and garnered immense love and appreciation."

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