Raima Sen: Speaking Hindi was a challenge for me in Bollywood
Apart from having a strong footing in Bengali cinema, Raima Sen has also done enough remarkable films in Bollywood. She was recently seen in Vodka Diaries and will play a lawyer in her upcoming movie Kuldip Patwal: I didn’t do it.
Raima Sen is the perfect example of beauty with brains. The granddaughter of Bengali icon Suchitra Sen and daughter of actor Moon Moon Sen, it wasn’t surprising to see Raima entering into films too. The actor has successfully juggled between Bengali cinema and Bollywood for almost two decades. Though she agrees both the industries are quite different, her major challenge has been speaking Hindi. In an exclusive chat with 4funmovie.com, Raima talks about how she juggles between the two film industries and more.
“They do function differently. See for me, because I’ve been born and brought up in Kolkata, it is more like they pamper me over here, they still call me by my pet name because they know my family. Mumbai, it is more respectable like ‘Raima Ji’, and in Kolkata they treat me like a kid. So, that’s the only difference I find. And the language is also a challenge over there. I’ve never studied Hindi. Bengali was my language. When I had to do a Hindi film, I really had to concentrate on my dialogues. In Kolkata it comes pretty easy to me because I speak Bengali and not Hindi in daily life,” Raima said.
Raima started acting as a child artiste. She says she used to regularly visit her mother’s film sets and have deep conversations about the craft with her grandmother. Ask her how it is being born into a family of actors and she says, “It’s always going to be extra pressure and expectations on those who come from a lineage. I think its easier for a newcomer with no baggage. I used to feel the pressure initially but now I don’t feel it. Now I feel the pressure to use my skills. Now the pressure is on myself, like I have to perform. So it’s more about me now.”
Raima shares memories from her childhood days too. “When we were growing up, my grandmother had given up films. But she used to tell us about her experiences. So it’s good to know how that generation worked and how my mother’s generation worked and how our generation worked.”
Raima debuted in Hindi films with Godmother. She did Daman too but her breakthrough performance was in Rituparno Ghosh’s Chokher Bali. She followed it up with more Bengali films like Anuranan, The Bong Connection and Noukadubi. Her known Hindi films include Parineeta, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd and Manorama Six Feet Under. While her filmography boasts of several popular Bengali movies, she is seen less in Hindi films. The actor explains. “I choose the best from what I’m offered in Bollywood. What keeps me busy is I’m doing so much of regional cinema. I’m doing such good work with very good directors so it’s not that I’m waiting or getting frustrated or need to do every film. So I get to choose the best,” she shared.
Raima, who recently appeared in Bollywood film Vodka Diaries opposite Kay Kay Menon, will soon be seen in a crime thriller titled Kuldip Patwal: I didn’t Do It, where she plays a lawyer. Talking about her role and the film, she shared, “It was very challenging as I’ve never played a lawyer before. I got very scared when I read the script, you know all that lawyer language, I’ve never done all that. I took it up as a challenge more than anything. Now, if I have done my part, given it my 100 percent, I don’t really look up to the film’s outcome. My philosophy tells me to give my best shot, at least prove to myself that I could do it. Then whatever the outcome of the film is, that’s not in my hands.”
So what does Raima bring from her experience in Bengali cinema, when doing a Hindi film? “I’ve worked with several top directors in Bengal like Aniruddh Rai Choudhary who did Pink, and Aparna Sen. I’ve never gone to an acting school. For me it’s always been like learning on the job itself. So I learn little things, and then I go there (Bollywood). There are some directors like Pradeep Sarkar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who tell you what to do and what they want. But there are also some directors who leave it on you completely. So then all my knowledge comes to hand.”
Ask her any recent role she wanted to play and she says, “No! When I watch a film, I just watch it. I don’t judge it or review it or critically say anything about it. I think if you are supposed to be in a film, you’ll be in a film. Otherwise I just look at it as an audience and enjoy it.”
She however quickly adds, “I’ve never done a historical period drama. I would love to do that, like a Jodhaa Akbar type.”
Raima’s younger sister Riya Sen tied the knot recently. Talking about her wedding plans, she said, “I think marriages are made in heaven. I don’t think you can plan these things. So when my time comes, I think it’ll just happen. But I don’t think my time has come yet because I’m still so busy with my career.”