January  2005




January  2005 


 Protection of World
 Heritage Sites
 Bangladesh & Nepal

 Pakistani Handlooms

 Bird Trade in India


 The Sacred Bride

 Victor Banerjee

 Soha Ali Khan

 Looking Back 2004

 Single & Happy

 Fashion Designers
 add new dimensions


 the craft shop

 the print gallery

 the art gallery


 Between Heaven and Hell

  Silk Road on Wheels

 The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

 Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in









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Victor Banerjee…Eloquent & creative

Victor Banerjee, the angry young man of Bengali cinema rues the fact that he started his career with all-time greats like Satyajit Ray, James Ivory, David Lean and Roman Polanski. He says, " They typecast me into a certain serious image. Now no one can imagine me in a fun role…."

He is suave, smooth and doesn’t look a day over forty. His roles are well chosen - unconventional and unusual, serious and thought provoking. Yet he remains restless. Victor Banerjee wants to do more challenging roles and grow as an artist with every film.

Though his latest film Ho Sakta Hai, may have sunk like the Titanic, the 57-year-old Banerjee is out to change his image with variegated roles. "Flops and hits are a part of an actor’s life. Here the subject of black magic and the uncommon story line both intrigued me enough to accept the role," says Banerjee who began his career on the Kolkata stage but it was only with Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi in 1977 that he shot to fame.

Best known for his superb performance in David Lean's A Passage to India, he admits that he personally does not believe in black magic but acquiesced to the role only because it was unusual. "It’s just like I don’t believe in ghosts but consented to playing the doctor’s role in Ram Gopal Varma’s Bhoot," he quips.

The angry young man of Bengali cinema however does sometimes rue the fact that he started his career with all time greats like Satyajit Ray, James Ivory, David Lean and Roman Polanski to name just a few. "They typecast me into a certain serious image so now no one can imagine me in a fun role. Since I am no longer at an age where I can play the hero, I try and choose roles that are eloquent and effective."

However after Bhoot, Amavas (still in the final stages of production) and now Ho Sakta Hai, one does tend to wonder a bit about his sudden tilt towards the paranormal. The response is immediate and witty. " It’s like this. If I don’t act I will starve." However on a more serious note, he admits that scripts that are a bit off the wall attract him. "Maybe," he muses, " it is the Hollywood in me that drives me towards the atypical. Or maybe, people approach me with these roles because I look calm and unruffled."

Restless Energy

And despite all the restless energy that surrounds him, one has to admit that he does exude a certain aura of serenity both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, even when it comes to playing the part of a love struck old man in Jogger’s Park opposite Perizad Zorabian.

So with one thing and another, one is naturally very curious as to where this terrific actor was between the release of Bitter Moon in 1994 and Jogger’s Park in 2003. " Well let’s just say that I had this outlandish, old-fashioned notion where I didn’t want to miss out on the best years of my children’s lives. So I decided to take a few years off till they graduated and then eased back into films," says he.

Though the offers never stopped pouring in, Banerjee was firm in his resolve. He turned to writing and became an accredited journalist. And once he decided to go back to acting he was flooded with film offers. But he decided to take one unorthodox film at a time. Says he, "I have always believed in doing one role at a time so that I remain in character throughout the shooting period. Maybe that’s one reason that I don’t have a film history that’s a mile long."

But the short history makes engaging reading. The films in the pipeline include My Brother Nikhil where he plays the role of an AIDS patient’s father, Amavas in which he is the fatherly landlord and Yatna where he plays an old man in love with a 21-year-old French girl staying in Kolkata. Incidentally, the French girl is played by Kiera Chaplin, granddaughter of the legendary Charlie Chaplin.

Though he says he accepts only sensitive roles, Banerjee is quick to establish that cinema is all about entertainment. At least Hindi cinema is. "It’s not like in Hollywood, where everything depends on one film. Here the syndrome that ‘stars rule’ is predominant. There is no insecurity and therefore the reason to perform well is sometimes lost."

Though he states that good cinema is all about enjoyment and not always pertaining to a subject that is a moral or a social phenomena, he also feels that one should be talented enough to imitate one’s own success.

And does he consider himself a success in life? He’s quick to shake his head. "I may not be young but I am one of those people who live in the subconscious belief that tomorrow will bring something better, so I strive for more everyday."

And one of the things he is striving for is direction. " I love direction and have written a script I hope I can be creative enough to portray it in the right fashion," he says. But if one probes into the contents of the script, he just smiles enigmatically and refuses to comment. All that he says is, "Wait and watch and I might surprise you yet again!"




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