By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai, July 12 (IANS) As the conversation around nepotism within the film industries around the country heats up, actors in Bengal have also raised their voice. Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee, son of sixties star Biswajit, was accused a while back by actress Sreelekha Mitra of victimising her to favour a certain established actress. Prosenjit retorts saying he has worked with the maximum number of newcomers in his decades-long career.
“I know that the conversation around favouritism has been going on in the recent past and I really do not want to comment on anyone’s comment on the matter. All I want to say is that as an actor I have worked with the maximum number of new actresses and directors,” Prosenjit told IANS.
He added: “Till today, when I produce a film or a show for TV, out of 10 films you will get to see me as protagonist in maybe two films. In the rest of my productions, I do work with new directors, fresh faces, and a new cast of actors. There are many actors that I have launched who are now big stars. I do not want to name them, people know here (in Bengali film industry).”
The 57-year-old actor’s latest self-produced release “Nirontor”, which launched on Zee5 recently, marks the feature debut of filmmaker Chandrasish Ray.
Prosenjit explained: “Look, when I have money, I can start any business. Why film production? Because as an actor, I feel that the industry and the Bengali cinegoers made me the star I am today. The only way to give back to the film industry is to give them new talent. What else can I offer than talents that can carry forward the industry? After 10 years, I will not remain the ‘hero’ Prosenjit. If Chandrasish becomes the successful director, I will be the happiest person to say I launched him. That is my way of paying tribute to the Bengali film industry that has given me a lot!”
The conversation around nepotism and favouritism in Tollywood, or the Bengali film industry, took a fresh turn when actress Sreelekha last month put out a video on her YouTube channel alleging that Prosenjit practiced “favouritism” rampantly. She also said that she missed out on several opportunities to bag films of renowned directors because she never “compromised” before the power structure. She claimed she only got second leads in films as she never “slept with directors” like “other actresses”. However, many celebrities including actress Swastika Mukherjee countered the allegation.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)