“When I Went Through The Script, There Was No Way I Could Not Have Agreed To Act,” Says Jhilik
Enthusiasm is what describes the bubbly, down-to-earth Jhilik Bhattacharjee who has grabbed the attention of film makers and the audience with her consistent performance in films she has worked in her short career span. Being one who has successfully proved her mettle as a good actress; Jhilik, in an exclusive conversation with MCL, talks about her upcoming big release ‘Agastya’, her experience of working with Anubhav and how her role in the film has brought her great satisfaction as an artist.
Excerpts from an interview with MCL
Your second movie with Anubhav released this Raja. How excited have you been?
I’m excited because as an artist, this movie has given me immense satisfaction and helped me climb another step in my film career. The director, DOP and everyone has put in their best and this sure looks like a movie that will appeal to the changing taste of the Odia audience. I have a lot of expectations from this film.
But there were two other big releases during the same time – Arindam’s ‘Premare Premare’ and Babushan’s ‘Love Station’. Did that make you insecure?
Raja is definitely a festive time in Odisha and film makers try to encash on the holiday season. Even earlier such big releases have had a clash during Raja but as of now I am concentrating on my film. I have earlier worked with both Arindam and Babushaan. They are my friends and I wish them well. However, as an actor it is important for me to be confident about my own craft. I’m aware that the other films will be good, but I’m biased and not thinking about anything else other than my film. My confidence also comes from the fact that this film has turned out to be brilliant post-production and will reach a wider audience. I feel it is going to set a benchmark in the industry.
How did Agastya happen?
You will be surprised to know that I had no clue that I would be a part of this movie. I was in Bhubaneswar to do a Bharatnatyam performance with Saswat Joshi at the Aeklavya Festival. That evening I suddenly received a call from director Murlee Krishna. He told that I am the leading lady for his next movie. Although I had to travel back to Kolkata the next morning, I cancelled all my plans. Later I went through the script with him and there was no way I could have not agreed to do the movie!
What attracted you to do Agastya?
Apart from the story that was gripping, I can say director Murlee Krishna was also one of the reasons I did this movie. As an actor I completely believe in him. Also Krishna is one of my favourite directors- I find that he knows his work well and does justice to every bit of the film. It is also the unit involved in the making of the movie that has made me feel comfortable whenever I have worked with them earlier.
According to you, what could be the highlight of the film?
The movie is already out and a high number of viewers have also appreciated it on social media and YouTube. But after watching the film, you will realise it’s different. All of this has more to do with the way the film has been made. For instance, a number of Odia movies are being shot at foreign locales these days. But for Agastya, we have shot all the sequences at various locations in Odisha and they look spectacular on screen. So the cast and crew with the effort that they have put for the movie, makes it look no less than a Bollywood flick.
The highlight of the movie obviously is watching Anubhav and Akash coming together in the movie in intense and power packed roles. Besides being a multi starrer, Agastya is also a politician starrer film with two good looking politicians sharing the screen together (chuckles).
Agastya has an impressive star cast – Anubhav, Akash, Mihir Das and you. Did you ever feel lost amongst the other big names?
Not just them, there is a whole bunch of veterans in the film. I never felt that I was lost. It’s a waste of energy to think that way. I feel privileged to be a part of this film. When you’re working with such brilliant people, they will only bring out the best in you. I certainly believe that. It was not only challenging but inspiring to be on the sets with them.
What character are you playing in the film?
I play Neha in the film and she is all heart. She is sweet and child like but is also a vulnerable character. You will see in the movie how Agastya (played by Anubhav) protects her from threats, how they gradually bond and their love evolves through a series of events.
You have mentioned that you’re an Anubhav admirer…
Of course, Anubhav Mohanty tops the list of actors I look up to in the Odia film industry. Even after becoming the star he is today, he is a very humble human being and a truly sincere and dedicated actor. I was happy to work with him again.
How was it romancing him on-screen?
It was difficult! Most of my movies were with Babushan that had less of romance and more of comedy. Babushan, being a friend, we had more fun and were lucky that in the process, the audience also appreciated our on-screen pairing.
But Anubhav has this overwhelming power in his personality that just puts you in awe of him. The character he played also demanded certain gravity – so were his dialogues that were powerful in the way he delivered them. So infusing romance was difficult but fun too.
Most actresses would want to work with Anubhav Mohanty. How was your experience working with him?
I have already worked with him in Jaga Hatare Pagha. He is a thorough professional when it comes to his work. As a co-star, he has been very cooperative and supportive that puts me at ease every time I work with him.
What’s your favourite song from Agastya?
The entire music track of Agastya is my favourite. Music composer Premananda has come up with beautiful music and the singers too have rendered their best. But if I am compelled to pick any one, I would say it is ‘Dhire Dhire’ that features Anubhav and me in a beautiful dream sequence. The music stays with you and reminds you of all things beautiful. The other songs are special too and I love them all.
How do you feel when you see your rivals doing good work?
It’s motivating to be around people who are doing good work. I can’t say they are my rivals, as most of them have entered the film industry much before I did. I’ve never been a cut-throat competitor. I mind my own business, learn and develop from my own experiences of every movie that I worked last in. Though I am not much bothered about what others are doing, I believe it is inspiring if the entire industry grows as a whole.
Your upcoming projects?
Currently it is ‘I Love You 2’, a sequel of ‘I Love You’. I’m also doing a film ‘Tamaku Dekhila Pare’ along with some other projects that may release during Dussehra.