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Exclusive! Chandan Roy Sanyal: Bhopa from Aashram has given me more screen time than all my projects combined

Chandan Roy Sanyal plays the role of 'Baba Nirala' Bobby Deol's BFF Bhopa in Prakash Jha's Aashram. The third season of the show released on June 3 and the fourth season has been announced for 2023 release.

  • Shaheen Irani

Last Updated: 01.45 PM, Jun 05, 2022

Exclusive! Chandan Roy Sanyal: Bhopa from Aashram has given me more screen time than all my projects combined
Chandan Roy Sanyal (Instagram).

Chandan Roy Sanyal, recently seen in Aashram 3, feels really blessed to be a part of Prakash Jha’s show since it gave him the hope he lost as an actor. We at OTTplay spoke to Chandan, who is a prominent actor and has received all the love for his character Bhopa, who is likely to become the main lead in Aashram season 4. Apart from Aashram, Chandan spoke about being typecast as a villain while he’s a comedian, what kind of and language movies he wants to work in and more. Excerpts…

Bhopa has been the stone to the pillar called Baba Nirala but we saw the foundation somewhat breaking in season 2 and now, it appears that he is literally done with how Nirala thinks he's invincible. What would you say?

Yeah, basically. He just won't listen to Bhopa. All his foolishness could just take things down the hill. Bhopa ka paap ka ghada ab bhar gaya. Now that we see the differences, it will be interesting.

True. We see a lot of differences now and it looks like Pammi has brought a crack in their equation...

That's exactly it. Sab kaam kharab ho gaya.

Baba Nirala sits back and takes all the fame while Bhopa does his dirty work. It takes a real friend to be able to do that. How would you describe Nirala and Bhopa's friendship?

Everyone has a friend in their life like Nirala. One friend spreads all the mess and the other cleans up their mess. There is one friend you can fall back on for anything. Bhopa is that guy. It's why he gets affected when Nirala puts him down. It's such a great psyche. People who are very meditative and in control of their senses. Bhopa has control over his urges. He controls all his sense so beautifully sometimes. Baba is a slave of his own mind while Bhopa is the king of his mind. That chemistry is what excites the people.

What is it about this character that made you feel like you should take it up?

Everything was right tick marked for me. Firstly, it was Prakash Jha. He's a sensible filmmaker with years of experience. He calls me directly to tell me about my role. He said it's not the best role on the show and is quite a difficult one. This is one of the lengthiest shows of my career. In films, I had max 15 minute roles. In films, the character graph is very limited for an actor. Here, we have seasons so hours and hours of people watching me. We have all the space to develop the character. There's a nine-hour episode. It has a lot of work. Bhopa has actually given me more screen time than anything in my life. It's like 15-28 films. I have almost 400 minutes of screen time. That's how I look at it. That's what changed for me. I entered OTT and these web shows which was nice.

You once said that Aashram gave you an opportunity to rise and reconquer. Do you still believe that?

Yeah. Somehow, I was lost. I had a vision and dream but my work didn't match that. I got disheartened by what was coming my way. Jazbaa gave screen back to me. I did see me again after doing Aashram. It gave me a fresh point of view.

People still love you as an actor. While Aashram is Bobby Deol's comeback project, were you sure that you can stand out on the show?

Actually, the acting school I come from, I have learnt to never fight for space in a project. My guru has taught me only to build my character and work in sync with co-actors because it's a very domino effect if that is missing. I was very excited to be working with Mr. Bobby Deol because I remember I was in 10th standard and Barsaat had released and I went to watch that show for him. It happened even with Gupt. He is an icon. So, for me, to get a chance to work with Prakash Jha and Bobby, it got me excited. So, it wasn't about standing out for me. I have always worked towards my arc and formation of my character and the film. It was never about proving a point - to let people see I'm so great. Even Bhopa became Bhopa because he would never work from the point of arrogance as an actor. It will never come out right. I never act adamantly and try to be joyous about my characters. It was never a competition for me - that I have to stand out. If it has to stand out, it will stand out. I did Jab Harry Met Sejal just to work with Shah Rukh Khan and Imtiaz Ali. It was always about what I have to offer. I spend time and invest in my acting skills. There's always a point of innocence when I approach a role. It's never about me standing out.

The viewers know you as one of the most talented actors out there but somehow, you have not been appreciated with anything apart from praises - awards. So, do you feel heartbroken because you have been there for a long time and have done some really good work but do you believe you got your due as an actor?

I never got an award for acting. I have been nominated many times. I am a common man who feels weak. Like many, even I started questioning why me and why things aren't working. During the pandemic, Aashram came and then I did Sanak. All three of them did so well that I realized that my own thoughts were coming in the way of my success. I just felt weak because even if I am a good actor and did a lot of projects, there was discontentment of not getting the rewards. I should not feel that. I got an opportunity to restart, rework on myself and see where things go. I should be proud because nobody has given me bad reviews till date. I just got myself to feel happy and work. Sometimes you get influenced by what people say and think of you. Everybody has their own time to blossom and I'll get that time too.

Do you believe that there was a phase where there was only theatres and star power would rule. Actors got noticed but much later. Now, OTT is here and every person out there is shining. Would you say this change has worked out in your favour and thus, you want to explore OTT more?

Yeah, definitely. It's brilliant actually. I'm still gaining. All of my colleagues have gained and are happy. They are so happy. Everybody is getting something or the other. The crew has got many opportunities. We had so many unused talents who are now out there. The idea of star power - obviously there is a theatre where only star films and big-budget films work. Writing has also become important. Now, everyone wants to know what is the story and script. People are constantly watching something from Korea and Japan in 4 Bungalows or in Andheri. You can't fool around now that the audience is smarter.

Chandan, you still switch between working on Bengali and Hindi films. Is there a reason for doing that? Also, will we see you in other language films?

My mother tongue is Bengal so people call me there and I do their films. I love the language and people of Kolkata. I give my love back by doing one film a year. I like the people, food, culture. I consider it like a holiday when I'm there. I'd like to try Tamil or Malayalam cinema for sure.

Your upcoming projects?

I'm getting many offers for a show. At least one show per week. It's high time people have woken up. I am doing one show with Navdeep Singh, which will release on Amazon Prime.

Do you get similar offers or different roles?

I generally get villainous roles but since that is not how I want to stay, I pick my offers carefully. I want to do comedy, drama, romance. I want to try out different emotions. I think comedy is something I want to do now. I think I can make people laugh. I'm not a villain but comedian.