Bengali actor-director Anirban Bhattacharya received the award for Best Dialogue (Series) in his directorial debut Mandaar at the inaugural OTTplay Awards held in Mumbai
Last Updated: 12.17 PM, Sep 16, 2022
After years of acting extensively on stage, in films and web series, Anirban Bhattacharya debuted as a director with the Hoichoi web series Mandaar in 2021. The series has been critically acclaimed as well as liked by the audience. Based on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the show also features Sohini Sarkar, Debasish Mondol, Debesh Roy Chowdhury, Sankar Debnath and others. Besides direction, Anirban has also acted in the show and along with Patik Dutta, he also penned the script. At the inaugural OTTplay Awards held in Mumbai on September 10, Anirban received the award for Best Dialogue (Series) for Mandaar.
After receiving the trophy from Family Man 2-actor Uday Mahesh, Anirban said, “Any recognition is great but this one is a little extra special because I received it on a pan-Indian platform.” Explaining why the award in dialogue writing is important to him, he said that, unlike direction, acting or cinematography, writing might not have a universal appeal. “Dialogue is generally area specific. The emotion, quirk, and wit vary from one place to the other. In Mandaar, the dialogues are rustic, and it has a flavour of rural Bengal. I am extremely happy that the jury liked that rustic flavour. My team and I are super happy with the award. Also, this is the first year of the OTTplay Award and Mandaar is my first directorial work. The first film and first year of awards are always special,” he said.
Anirban has been a student of acting and has a prolific career on stage. Hailing from Midnapore, West Bengal, he came to Kolkata in 2004 to pursue his Master's degree in acting from Rabindra Bharati University. He received the Young Artist Scholarship in 2009 from the cultural ministry of the Government of India.
He debuted on the Kolkata stage in 2005 with Bijalibala-r Mukti, directed by Adrija Dasgupta. Along with her, the actor took part in multiple productions. In his prolific theatre career, he has worked with a number of leading directors, including Suman Mukhopadhyay, Debesh Chattopadhyay, Bratya Basu, Chandan Sen, Arpita Ghosh, Abanti Chakraborty, Joyraj Bhattacherjee and several others. He was part of Minerva Repertoire before he started his journey as a freelance professional theatre actor. In 2017, he won the Mahindra Excellence Theatre Awards (META) as Best Actor in a Leading Role (Male) for Awdyo Shesh Rajani.
In 2010, he started his theatre group, Sangharam. He directed a number of hit productions, including Chowmatha, Udorniti (a short play), Pontu Laha 2.0 and others.
His film career started in 2015 with Aparna Sen’s Arshinagar. However, it was Arindam Sil’s Eagoler Chokh – the second instalment of Goyenda Shabor (played by Saswata Chatterjee) – in 2016 that put the spotlight on Anirban as a film actor. His portrayal as Bishan – one of the main suspects won hearts soon after the release. In fact, the role got him multiple awards.
Anirban did not look back after that. Along with Arindam, he delivered several powerful performances. Despite his limited screen presence, his performance in Durga Sohay and Dhananjay was talked about among the critics' circle. His popularity started rising after that. Around this time, he took a temporary break from the theatre and concentrated on films. By his admission, he never really took a break as he continued to work on the existing theatre productions but briefly stopped undertaking new theatre assignments.
It was in 2018, that Anirban first tied up with Srijit Mukherji in Uma. Le3d by Jisshu U Sengupta, the film was released in 2018 and impressed at the box office. Anirban’s portrayal as Mohitosh Sur once again was much talked about. Ever since, he worked with Srijit on multiple hit projects, including Ek Je Chhilo Raja, Shah Jahan Recency, Gumnami and Vinci Da. Anirban’s portrayal as Khoka – a gangster in Chinatown – in Srijit’s Dwitiyo Purush became a massive hit with dialogues being massively replicated in the popular culture scene in Bengal. From memes to skids and even in other forms of projects, ‘Malik-ke giye bol Khoka esceche (Tell your boss Khoka has arrived),’ became a popular phrase across Bengal.
After establishing himself as a prolific actor, Anirban has now focused on the direction. He debuted as a director with Hoichoi’s World Classic, Mandaar, and knocked it out of the park. The show has received several laurels from Bengal before getting a nod for its dialogue at the first ever OTTplay Awards 2022. Besides direction, Anirban penned the script with his friend Pratik Dutta. Set in the coastal fishermen's village of Geilpur, Mandaar delves into the conflict of power, lust, revenge and exploitation.
The journey that began with Mandaar, is being continued by Anirban. His first feature film Ballavpurer Rupkotha will hit the theatre during Diwali this year. Based on the eponymous play by playwright Badal Sircar, Ballavpurer Rupkotha is a fantasy romcom. He will also work as a creative director on other projects.
Meanwhile, Anirban is waiting for the release of his maiden Bollywood film, Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway. Along with Rani Mukerji and the team, the actor completed the shooting that also took place in Estonia. Though his Bollywood debut is just a matter of time, the actor unequivocally stresses his love and confidence in Bengali as a language and wishes to bring more to the table in terms of good content.