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Exclusive! Subhashree Ganguly on Boudi Canteen: Mainstream, commercial cinema gave me fame and made me the actor I am today

The actress opens up about her journey from being a commercial cinema heroine to becoming a regular actress in content-driven projects 

Exclusive! Subhashree Ganguly on Boudi Canteen: Mainstream, commercial cinema gave me fame and made me the actor I am today
Subhashree Ganguly
  • Shamayita Chakraborty

Last Updated: 11.29 AM, Sep 24, 2022

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Subhashree Ganguly has no time to rest. Her film Boudi Canteen will hit the theatre on September 30. Directed by Parambrata Chatterjee, the film also features Soham Chakraborty, Anashua Majumdar, and Parambrata. On the other hand, Subhashree is also busy shooting Debaloy Bhattacharya’s Indubala Bhater Hotel – a Hoichoi web series. Meanwhile, she will be seen as Ma Durga on Zee Bangla in their Mahalaya special show. In an exclusive chat with OTTplay, Subhashree talked about her journey from commercial heroine to finding a different space in the Bengali film industry, her experience of working with Parambrata as a director, and bagging the role in Indubala Bhater Hotel. Read on…

You have been shuffling between the promotional commitments of Boudi Canteen and the shooting of Indubala Bhaater Hotel. How are you managing?

I am balancing well, I guess. Women are generally good at multitasking. I am managing my shooting dates, and promotion dates, taking care of my son, and giving time to my family. I think I also have a strong will to do all these together. It comes to me effortlessly (laughs).

Did the holiday help?

The holiday helped for sure. The entire August I was busy shooting. We went on our holiday on September 10 and came back on September 19. I shot till September 9 and resumed shooting on September 20. I have been having a rigorous shooting schedule for months.

Subhashree Ganguly in Boudi Canteen
Subhashree Ganguly in Boudi Canteen

Between Boudi Canteen and Indubala Bhater Hotel, there are a few similarities. To begin with, both deal with a kitchen helmed by two women…

The similarities are purely coincidental. My characters in both projects are independent women. Both of them are confident and have strong entrepreneurial skills. But the similarities end there. In Boudi Canteen, my character tells a story that resonates with almost all the women around us. As women, our conscience often stops us from going all out to pursue our dreams. Poulami (her character in the film) tells us that it is ok to dream and chase your dream. On the other hand, Indubala Bhater Hotel is a story of Indubala – her journey, childhood struggle, and so on.

Tell us your experience of working in Boudi Canteen.

Whatever I do I try to do it out of happiness. Even before I heard the script of Boudi Canteen, I agreed to do it just by listening to the one-liner. The whole process started with happiness. I like to get into the process of getting involved with the character. Script reading and look sets were also very interesting. Set is another fun episode of fun. We shot in the summer. But Paramda (Parambrata) brought in a sense of breezy atmosphere.

You worked with Parambrata as a co-actor and now as a director. Which side do you like better in him?

I think Paramda enjoys being a director a tad more than an actor. But I liked Paramda as a director more.

For the longest time in the Bengali film industry, you were known as a hardcore commercial film actress. And then a transformation happened to you and you are becoming the face of alternative films as well. Tell us about this journey.

Everybody has their journey. This is my journey. Mainstream commercial films made me who I am today. It gave me fame and experience. However, at one point in time, as an actor, I wanted to challenge myself a little. I wanted to get roles that would make me think. I am grateful to Raj that he trusted me with such a character in Parineeta. And with that, I could prove to myself that I can. I did not know that I could succeed until I got such a role. I am thankful to Raj.

Do you miss those days?

I love my old days. Recently, there was an event at Boudi Canteen. When I started dancing with Tiring Biring, the song, everyone cheered and started dancing. It reminded me of my old days of dancing and singing in films. I became nostalgic. I miss those days too.

Given a choice, will you do the song-and-dance films once again?

Of course, I will. I believe we must have more commercial films. I will definitely work in those films and I will deliver a better and brighter performance there also.

Amid all this, you are also playing Ma Durga in the Zee Bangla’s Mahalaya programme…

Yes, I am playing Ma Durga again. I think I played Ma Durga the most number of times. When I was young while watching Mahishasurmardini on TV I used to pray to god to get a chance of playing Ma Durga on TV. Ma Durga heard my prayer and I have been doing it for years. In 2020, I didn't do it. But Zee Bangla officials say that I am their permanent Ma Durga (laughs).

Subhashree Ganguly in Indubala Bhater Hotel
Subhashree Ganguly in Indubala Bhater Hotel

In the first look of Indubala Bhater Hotel, your look is of an elderly woman. Some people are saying that this role could have been played by one of the veteran actresses in the industry…

Why I was chosen for the character is something Debaloy has to explain. He told me that he saw Indubala in me. I agreed to do this character because it was tempting for me as an actor. I am playing a character from 24 to 75. Isn’t that amazing? There is so much to do. I was just telling you about challenging myself. What could be a bigger challenge for me? I lapped up the offer.

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