Does the casting of Chanchal Chowdhury guarantee that the film is going to be a hit? Is it just the positive word of mouth, or does the actor really have the chops to make or break a story? Ever since its release, 'Hawa' has consistently seen long lines at the theatres, which might lead the average moviegoer to contemplate the aforementioned questions.
TBS endeavoured to get to the bottom of these questions and sat down for a brief chat with the leading man.
We started off talking about the reception of his most recent film. "It obviously feels good. Whenever we work, we definitely aim for it to resonate with the audiences. We want people to want to see it and for it to have the widest appeal. 'Hawa' achieved all of those things and I am proud of the producers and the crew for having accomplished this."
The last time a film resonated this much was 'Aynabaji', which also starred Chanchal, and no film since had quite reached the same buzz, until 'Hawa.' Chanchal humbly refused to take all the credit and said "I did a lot of other work after 'Aynabaji', especially TV dramas. If the story is as good as the production team, it will reach the audiences invariably. I alone cannot take the credit, I am part of a bigger whole."
The actor makes several considerations before throwing his lot in with a project. He assesses five aspects of a prospective project, they are: budget, director, story, cinematographer and co-stars. However, it does not seem like the actor thinks attaching himself to a big production always results in critical accolades or the support of audiences countrywide. This leads us to wonder what the core of his drive really is.
"My sole focus is being able to perform my craft to the best of my ability," said Chanchal "I get inundated with screenplays alongside lofty promises of awards, both international and domestic, if I take on the role. I have to be direct and tell them that their goal is the prize not the production, which doesn't normally coalesce into a worthy project. I don't feel the need for validation from award ceremonies. The bar I set for myself is to be able to use all my talent, dedication and experience to deliver the best portrayal I can."
Chanchal says that he doesn't give much thought to whether the film will be a hit or a flop, that even if a movie of his doesn't reach too many people, he would just be content knowing that he gave it his best effort.
The actor poignantly remarked "When the history of Bangla cinema is written, it will find its place." This is a very refreshing and professional assertion of one's work ethic in an industry where big name actors are more worried about how they measure up to Shah Rukh Khan and Tom Cruise.
In that vein, we asked him for his thoughts about his most recent character in 'Hawa.' He said that apparently a lot of the viewers assumed that his character was a villain. He attributes this to traditional storytelling tropes wherein bad and good are clearly signposted. This leads to traditional thinking within the audiences themselves, they constantly look for the hero or the villain.
"Our aim is to present a story with well rounded characters. I admit that my character in 'Hawa' is a negative one but it is not enough to consign that character to the realm of antagonism. People are more complex than that and are made up of positive and negative aspects" said Chanchal.
Chanchal Chowdhury's next project, 'Karagar' is set to debut on OTT platform Hoichoi and the marketing push has already begun with a release of its trailer. When asked about it, the actor remained tight-lipped and left us with a tease saying "Most of it was shot in the Central Jail of Old Dhaka, it is the story of a prisoner. That is all we can reveal at this moment."