New Delhi, Jun 26 (PTI) As someone whose filmography boasts of headstrong characters, both in Hindi and Bengali cinema, Paoli Dam says it was interesting to switch to playing a victim in writer-director Anvita Dutt’s revisionist story “Bulbbul”.
The Netflix film is being praised for subverting the ‘chudail’ (witch) legend into a powerful feminist drama about the coming-of-age of a woman in late 19th century Bengal.
Dam, one of the biggest names in Bengali cinema, plays Binodini, the sister-in-law to Tripti Dimri’s Bulbbul.
Despite being elder, Binodini, whose name reminds one of Rabindranath Tagore’s protagonist in “Chokher Bali”, she has to play second fiddle to the young chirpy Bulbbul, wife of the much older patriarch (Rahul Bose) of the family.
The actor said in her initial reading, Binodini came across as a shrewd person who schemes against the young bride to gain authority in the household, but as one goes deeper into her life she turns out to be a “tragic” character.
“I was confused about how to approach her initially because on paper, she came across as straight. Then I realised she is a tragic character in the film. As a child, she believed in what she was asked to believe without questioning and she never crossed the line.
“She has always played by the rule because she realised that she did not have any power to change as she was not the ‘Badi Bahu’. That’s what made the character so sad. The small Binodini never grew up or got the chance to bloom,” the actor told PTI in an interview.
Dam, 39, said her character represents all the women in the society, who succumb to patriarchy.
“She is the victim of the society that existed at that time. Till now, I have mostly played women who are strong and they take charge. I was attempting a victim for the first time.
"She is a lot like women that we see around. They can’t do what they want and succumb to the patriarchy of our society. I wanted to be the medium of her journey through cinema,” she added.
Known for her roles in Bengali movies "Kaalbela", "Shob Charitro Kalponik", "Chatrak" and "Moner Manush", Dam made her debut in Hindi cinema with "Hate Story" and followed it up with "Ankur Arora Murder Case”.
The actor has since taken it slow in Hindi film industry as she wants to play complex parts.
“I look for multi-dimensional characters like this something different from what I have done before. I am a little laidback.
“I get bored easily and don’t like monotony so I need to enjoy what I am doing. As an artist if I enjoy my craft only then the audience will enjoy the role. I want to be a part of stories and characters that excite me.”
"Bulbbul" also stars Avinash Tiwary, Parambrata Chatterjee and Rahul Bose. PTI BK SHD RDS