Malini (played by Ishaa Saha), who hails from a conservative family in Kolkata, meets Angshuman (played by Gourab Chatterjee), her brother Mallar’s (played by Saurav Das) friend who has just flown down from the US and slowly falls in love. But there’s a twist in the tale. Angshuman is in love with her brother. How does she take it? You will have to watch the ZEE5 Original film Bhalobashar Shohor- Kolkatar Kobitara, to find out. In the meanwhile, we caught up with Malini aka Ishaa Saha, who opened her heart out to us. And we are sure you will love how much this north Kolkata girl is in love with our city. Here are edited excerpts:
Q. What made you take up the role of Malini in the ZEE5 Original film Bhalobashar Shohor — Kolkatar Kobitara?
A. Content matters a lot these days. I think the audience these days wants good content. Bhalobashar Shohor — Kolkatar Kobitara has a storyline that is quite different. Initially, I was wondering whether I should do the film because it’s a short story. Then I thought that content is king. And here the story is beautiful. It’s about a conservative family. But there are lots of shades in the character of Malini – love, anger, obhimaan. The audience sees the film through Malini’s eyes. That was important for me. That’s why I decided to do the film.
Q. Your character fell in love with that of Gourab’s, who turned out to be gay. Have you had a similar experience in real life?
A. (Laughs) It’s really funny because in the story, Malini fell in love with Angshuman (played by Gourab Chatterjee) and then she found out that he is her brother’s love. However, nothing similar has happened with me so far in real life. Because it happened in the story, that’s why I found the concept to be fresh and new and agreed to do the movie.
Q. How did you prepare for the role?
A. To be honest, it’s not like I had to prepare a lot. I think when an actor gets a script, it is most helpful as it lets them understand the character. When I got the script, I started thinking what can this girl do, how can she talk, what can be her relationship with her brother – all these things. My first question to my directors was about the character. Sudeshnadi (director Sudeshna Roy) gave me an idea. Then I spoke to Rohan Ghose (co-writer) That’s how I got an idea about the character. I think that when an actor gets into the costume of a character – how that character will walk, talk, eat… all these things happen on the flow. The directors are there to rectify the rest. I had a young team, including the director, so there wasn’t any difficulty.
Q. Kolkata is bhalobashar shohor. Have you ever dated in Kolkata?
A. All the dates or ‘prem’ I have had so far have happened in Kolkata and with people from Kolkata. I don’t like people who stay outside Kolkata much because they don’t love the city. Amar shohor amar kache khub priyo. I have grown up in north Kolkata and know all the lanes and bylanes. I am very close to them. When we shot in north Kolkata — be it fuchka or chop shop or Gangar ghat – I felt like I know all those places and that is because I actually know those places well. Since I am that close to my city, if the person I am in love with doesn’t like the city, then I don’t think the relationship will work out. Of course, all the people I have dated so far are from my city.
Q. What are your favourite dating spots in Kolkata?
A. Since I am from north Kolkata and I know the places in that part of the city well, so of course Baghbazar ghat or Sobhabazar ghat or any good Gangar ghat, the College Street area –Coffee House, Paramount – they are all good dating spots. In south Kolkata, to be honest, right now a lot of things have changed. So, malls, cinema halls, etc. are good places to date. For me, purono Kolkata is most important. And of course Victoria Memorial.
Q. What makes Kolkata bhalobashar shohor?
Kolkata itself is a bhalobashar shohor. For me, Kolkata is an emotion. Even my Instagram bio says ‘I’m a proud Kolkatan’. I am always proud about my city. Whenever I go out of the city, within days I feel like I have to come back because everything about this city, such as the journey from north Kolkata where I stay to south Kolkata where I work, even that I am very fond of. Everything about this city is love for me.
Q. How would you describe the emotion of love?
A. To me, love is a beautiful emotion. Bhalobasha to me means friendship, respect and trust. If a relationship has all these three things, it can be a relationship of love. That could be between Malini and Mallar, it could be between a brother and sister like in Kolkatar Kobitara, it could be between Angshuman and Malini or even the relationship between Malini and her thamma.
Q. What are your future projects?
A. I am doing a bi-lingual show called Mafia for ZEE5. Along with that I am doing a film called Sahobasi.
Loved watching ZEE5 Original film Bhalobashar Shohor – Kolkatar Kobitara? Watch ZEE5 Original film Daawat-E-Biryani, a love story centred around biryani, now streaming.