It's a pleasure to meet you after such a long time, Chandni. How are you doing?
I am fine, Rafi bhai. Thank you.
When does one realize that a relationship has run its course?
I am not sure if I can point out exactly when a couple realizes that it's an end for them. In my case, it was my first marriage and an arranged one at that. Any relationship goes through difficult phases but it's the responsibility of both the husband and wife to support each other in such times and not discard them like an used rag. However, it's not right to blame one partner for a failed marriage. Often, it is the incompatibility that leads to divorce and separation. In our case, this incompatibility pulled us apart and forced us to part ways. As it was an arranged marriage, lack of love was probably the main reason which kept on pulling us apart, ensuring a constant gap that we could never bridge. This chasm led to many misunderstandings and by the time we had realized this, we were already poles apart.
Do you think it is the lack of patience for which relationships tend to fall apart more nowadays?
My married life with Bappa started in 2008 and we pulled the plug on the relationship in 2018. 10 years is not a very short time, right? It was a long journey; we went through many ups and downs. And then at one point we realized that it wasn't working out anymore. We both tried to save the marriage but all our efforts had failed. I desperately wanted a happy family life and worked hard towards nurturing it, and I still wonder where I went wrong. People ask me numerous questions – mostly negative. Instead of trying to explain to them why my marriage didn't work out, I simply smile.
Why did you take a sabbatical from your work? What led you to take such a decision?
I wanted to focus solely on my family and dedicate myself to building a happy married life. On her death-bed, my mother-in-law told me to always stand beside Bappa. She said, “Bappa is my life line. No matter what happens, you should never leave him. He is a hot-headed person so try to pull him back to the right track whenever he goes astray." We've been through the toughest times of our lives the past few months as he lost his parents and even I lost my father lately, and it is my earnest request to everyone to not pry into our personal lives and make matters worse for us. We both tried our best, but probably I overlooked his efforts and he never noticed mine. My biggest mistake was my decision to leave the industry and abandon my career. However, after coming back I have realized that some of the stars are being slowly pushed out of the industry. I wonder who is doing all these.
Why do you think this is happening?
Some of the incidents I have faced have left me disturbed. I debuted in this industry as a movie actor and now I wish to pursue my career in films, be it the artsy creations or the commercial ones. I even personally mentioned it in many interviews and gatherings, but to my surprise, I did not receive a single acting offer yet! Now, at this point of my career, if I have to call a press conference or beg people for work, I think I should return the two national awards that I have received for my work.
Many stars are expressing the same concern. The number of TV channels has increased over the years, so why do you think this crisis exists?
I don't know. Everyone seems so detached! I am actively doing dance shows but I am interested in doing something better! When Lalon was being produced, director Goutam Ghose's assistant offered Bappa a role for me in the movie. He also asked for a date from my end in order to meet the director. Goutam Ghose knew me through Lal Shalu. We projected the film in Kolkata where I received an award for my character in the movie. After watching my performance in Lal Shalu, he promised me a role in his film if he ever undertook a joint venture project. Bappa told me about the offer and Raisul Islam Asad, who is like a father to me, encouraged me to be well prepared for the project. I must mention here that Tanvir, Raisul Islam Asad and Morshed are my biggest supporters and they have played a big role in my career. I waited for three months, yet did not receive a single phone call from them. I called up Raisul Baba again who was in America back then. I too had to move there to get my green card but I was really looking forward to working in the film. A few days later, I returned only to find out that someone else had already bagged the role. I consoled myself saying it was probably not meant for me. But this is not a one-off incident. This has happened repeatedly. And the producers and directors come up with excuses like, “You don't receive our calls”, “We can't find you”, “You don't stay in the country” etc, but none of these are true and I wonder why this is happening.
Is it because you are too choosy about your work?
It's true that I am selective but that should not lead to situations like these! I made my comeback with a dance show followed by a negative character in a daily soap by Akram Khan. Though not my genre, I did not hesitate to portray the negative character because I thought it might not be a bad idea to try out something different this time. I have always preferred satisfaction over fame. I did a project with Shajal too. So, the news of my comeback was already in the air. Newspapers and reporters played their part too. So, why am I not getting any work offer? Of course, newcomers are going to have more on-screen space, but this does not mean that the experienced artists will be sidelined. Sweety Apa, Bonna Apa, Tomalika Apa, Chumki Apa are still working in the industry, though not as much as before, which means they are still getting offers. Then why am I not getting a single call offering me a role?
Do you have any regrets about your separation from Bappa?
No. I don't have any claims, rights, responsibilities or regrets. Love is an unknown concept to me. I had probably never fallen in love with Bappa.
Why do you say so?
Because, bonding is essential in a relationship. It is the affection for the person you are married to that strengthens the relationship. In our case these disappeared overnight. At least, on Bappa's part. So, now I really don't know if there ever was any love between us.
What's the definition of love in your dictionary?
A good home!
So, what's the plan now – are you afraid to move on or optimistic about starting a new phase of life?
It all depends on the Almighty Allah. I am always an optimist.
Are you open to working in TV drama?
I might, depending on the role. But movies will always be my first priority.
I want to continue with my dancing career, while also acting in movies.
Right now I want to focus on my career alone. I want to nurture my acting skills and contribute to the growth of our industry.
Interviewed by Rafi Hossain