PITOBASH – Creating Ripples in The City of Dreams
Posted by barkha on January 17, 2012 | 1 Comment
SHOR IN THE CITY, ended on Pitobash’s face. But it began a love affair with the audience for this wonderfully talented actor. Pitobash was also part of the award winning I AM KALAM and there too his skill as a trained and seasoned performer, came to the forefront. Here we talk to this Oriya Engineer, about what lies ahead and what got him into Bollywood. Over to Pitobash:
On your journey from Orissa to the Mumbai film industry?
I am an Engineer from Orissa, I always wanted to be an actor from childhood but growing up in Orissa I realized there was a lack of infrastructure to make a profession out of this. So I shifted to Kolkata after my high school to pursue Engineering more because I was good academically so I figured that I might as well get my graduation done. This also gave me an opportunity to do theater in that city, since Kolkata provides a lot of opportunity to grow culturally. On wrapping up my Engineering I applied to the Film and Television Institute (FTII) in Pune, after that I shifted to Mumbai. I have been in Mumbai for the last four years.
So lets talk about your two breakout performances last year, I AM KALAM and SHOR IN THE CITY?
Raj and DK had made the short film by the same name. I had just passed out of the FTII and they auditioned me and cast me in the short film. Based on that they offered a small cameo in their film 99, an interesting role nevertheless and then SHOR happened. Since I had then known the makers for 3.5 years, the concept and the character was very clear in my mind and that helped immensely in the portrayal. Madhab Panda, the maker of I AM KALAM, is also from Orissa and we have interacted even prior to working on the film, on a social basis, in Mumbai, although did not know each other in Orissa. I got a call from him when he was in Delhi, informing me that he is doing a very small film with no budget, but it is for a good cause and is for a NGO. The NGO, The Smile Foundation, had done a lot of documentaries on the issue of children education/ child labor, but this time they had wanted to make a feature to try and get a bigger reach for their message. So the subject had an underlying message, albeit wrapped in an entertaining film. On reading the script I agreed to come on board. I did realize that it is not every time I will do a no budget film, but for an actor to be a part of something useful to society that opportunity also comes quite rarely, especially when it is linked to doing your work and showing up to work. I did not charge a single rupee for the film, while it was being filmed in Bikaner and I do know that a lot of other people also have worked for free on this film. Iam glad that the film has got the recognition it deserved. It will be a memorable film for my life.
Future and upcoming projects?
There is Alaap by debutante director, Manish Manikpuri. It is a musical based in Chhattisgarh, about four engineering students who did not want to be engineers in the first place and how they are making music as a rock band and attempting to win over the naxals via their music.
Then there is Joker by Shirish Kuder with Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi, Shreya and Minisha Lamba.
Am also doing Dibanker Bannerjee’s next film, Shanghai, with Emraan, Kalki and Abhay. I want to take it slow, post SHOR I declined approximately ten films as they were offering the same Mumbai tapori role. I need to be push myself as an actor to do different roles. I guess that is the challenge for most actors, to not get stereotyped, yet what is expected is a recreation of an earlier successful role.
Likelihood of seeing you on television or stage?
Theater, I continue to do along with film acting. Right now I am not looking actively towards television, but you never know what the future holds since I always follow my heart.
Using your grey cells, since you are an Engineer, of playing other parts in the creative industry?
Writing is something I did even before getting the acting breaks and I continue to do so. I have lots of concepts that I keep penning. At this point I don’t have plans to direct or write since I am not in a hurry to do anything in life without proper training and work going into it. Just as in acting where I paid my dues via theater and FTII, so I gave time to that faculty. Likewise I want to give my dues to other aspects, before I say I am ready to indulge in it. Polish my craft and upgrade my skills. So when the confidence comes that I can make a good film, as opposed to making something for the sake of making, I will be inclined to do so.