In a chat with OTTplay, Swastika talked about her character, the shooting days that took place during the scorching heat of summer, and a lot more.
Swastika Mukherjee has been busy working simultaneously in the national and Bengali entertainment industry. After her fierce performance in Shibpur, the actress is all set with her upcoming web series, Nikhoj, in which, she works with Tota Roy Chowdhury. Directed by Ayan Chakraborti, the web series will stream on Hoichoi from August 11. In a chat with OTTplay, Swastika talked about her character, the shooting days that took place during the scorching heat of summer, and a lot more.
Talking about her career, Swastika elaborated that Brinda Basu walks on a like while balancing her professional and personal life. “I play the character of Brinda Basu, DCP Lalbazar. The story delves into her life when she faces the biggest challenge in her professional and personal life. Her daughter goes missing and she takes charge of the investigation. It becomes tricky as none of the identities ideally should supersede the other. She has to strike a balance. I kept on calling Ayan (Chakraborti, director) and Sera (Banerjee, of the Hoichoi Content department). I kept on asking questions and sharing my ideas. Brinda Basu is a layered character and I had to understand her,” she said.
Swastika admitted that she enjoyed working with Ayan and his team. “I really wanted to work with Ayan and things did not work out. This time, I heard the stories of Seasons 1 and 2 of Nikhoj. I really like him as a person. He is calm. There is no drama, screaming, or shouting. It was a hectic schedule and I must acknowledge that there was a super team of associate directors and other crew members. I enjoyed working so much that I was a little sad that the shooting got over. Meanwhile, I look forward to working with Ayan again. He was telling me other stories with male protagonists in them. I suggested he changes all the male protagonists into women and sign me for the roles,” she said.
The shooting of Nikhoj took place during extreme heat in April and May. The entire team struggled to keep calm. Remembering the shooting days, the actress said, “We shot during the warmest time of the year when the temperature soared around 45 degrees Celcius. The entire unit went mad. Hoichoi production team tried their best to offer some relief. They arranged a lot of coolers. We were sweating like a waterfall. I remember men used to stop shooting to dry their costumes due to profuse sweat. The Federation came up with a proposal of not shooting outdoors during April and May. I think that is a welcome move. This heat can be fatal. We still have ACs and coolers indoors but outside, there is nothing. It was insane.”
Swastika is one of the actresses who took part in the journey of Bengali OTT space from the beginning. Her first show with Hoichoi, Dupur Thakurpo, was a hit in 2017. The actress talked about the way she saw the transformation in the OTT industry in Tollywood. “In the Bengali OTT industry, I only worked with Hoichoi. I feel it only got better in terms of work. It is way more professional and arranged not. It got good with the process. When I worked in 2017, the idea of OTT was very nascent back then. Everyone was trying to understand the pulse and as a channel, Hoichoi has become pro. Moreover, I am very happy to see all these women-driven shows on the channel. Not only do we have content with strong women in it but we also see a lot of projects being helmed by women directors. Most importantly, these shows are actually working. I think they need a pat on their back for this,” the actress said.
Swastika is a dotting mother. Does she need to balance her professional and personal life like her character Brinda? “No, unlike Brinda, I do not have any conflict. I am instinctively a mother. Everything comes later. And honestly, there has never been any problem in juggling between these two identities,” she said.
After Shibpur with Arindam Bhattacharya, Swastika will be seen in his next film, Durgapur Junction. The shooting has started already. “Yes, we were working on Durgapur Junction but a lot is left because during our shooting time, the Panchayat election was taking place. There were restrictions. And then it started raining. Hence, we will have to do a lot of work.”
Durgapur Junction also features Vikram Chatterjee, Ekavali Khanna, and others. Ekavali’s performance in Kohrra has been lauded by viewers and critics alike. Talking about her co-actress, Swastika said, “Oh yes. Ekavali and I go a long way. Her son and my daughter were in the same class in school. We used to meet at PTMs. I loved Kohrra. I was very happy to see her perform there. It gives me a kind of high to see artistes from the same industry I grew up in are doing so well nationally.”