Posted by Vivek on August 7, 2012 | No Comments

Until Chandan Roy Sanyal’s character of Mikhael came on the screen, Bollywood had relegated the Hero’s Friend roles, for the most part, to the character who does nothing more than give a more defined personality to the Hero. But here comes Mikhael and he is his own person, driving the Hero to become the Kaminey (scoundrel) that he does become. The character of the crazed, driven Mikhael, was played to perfection by Chandan Roy Sanyal. It is his magnetism which hooks you and compels you to sit up and notice. Here we catch up with this classically trained and well travelled actor, as he readies for his solo in Bollywood with Prague:

We have Honey Trehan’s perspective of how he shortlisted you for Kaminey, give us your?
Honey was instrumental in for bringing me  Kaminey,  how,  is that I will tell  you. Honey was casting for Delhi Belly, it was a Belgian director then in  early 2008. I was shortlisted for that film  but somehow the film never took off. But Honey had  liked my audition immensely and later called me for Kaminey. By then I had  almost given up on a film career by then as  I was selected, then rejected a couple of times , like Rock On for Arjun Rampal’s role and Delhi 6 for Cyrus Sahukar’s role and also my bitter sweet experience where my role got completely edited in Rang de Basanti. So when Kaminey screen test came to me, Honey said its a role of  the hero’s friend, I got this fear. A hero’s friend role is a fad in Hindi films where you just drive around in  a hero’s  fancy car or cheer for him when he’s performing some stunts. I thought a  role of Shahid Kapur’s friend will be likewise ,so i aired my fears to Honey and he  said “bro are you  mad ? This is Vishal Bhardwaj !” I had seen Omkara and Makbool and I was in love with his genius.

I was on a world tour, with the  Royal Shakespeare Company Stratford, UK in a Midsummer Nights Dream. So  when I came back from England I auditioned for Mikhail while the script was still being written. Honey’s brief was that Mikhail is a cokehead and a wild horse on the prowl. I must say that Honey Trehan auditioned me  with all his patience and trust.  I performed a twenty minute  extempore on camera and he  took it exactly, as it is to Vishal . He loved what he saw on the tape. After two  rounds of screen tests, I left for my shows in San Francisco at the Geary Theatre and completely forgot about my audition.  After two  months one drunken night I called him from San Francisco just to say hello and he completely abused me on the phone asking where the hell was I? As he was looking for me  to inform me that I had got the part, and all his attempts in contacting me, had failed.
That is how it started, if I had not called that night, who knows…destiny

On your start in the profession of Acting?
I started with Habib Tanvir in Bhopal while I enrolled myself in Mathematics Hons. in Delhi University.  I had met Habib in a theater workshop in New Delhi being conducted by Spic Macay and did my first play with him. I did not have any lines. I don’t know what he saw in me that he asked me to come to Bhopal and work in his repertory.  I worked in his repertory for two years on a minimal salary, grooming myself as an actor with rural actors travelling from one corner of India to another in a caravan.

After that I came back to Delhi and took a fresh start of working in various amateur theatre groups, reading and watching films and plays. I knew the ‘actor bug’ was spreading in me.  I was day dreaming about having a career of a professional actor. So I  started saving money to go to Mumbai, as I come from a lower middle class Bengali family. We never dare to dream and are born to die in that rut and that  was not agreeable to me. Money came from my home tuitions, which I gave, for a  paltry  sum of Rs 1300 a month, so with  Rs 7000 I came to Mumbai to start my journey as an actor.
I did odd jobs of teaching in a junior college to selling newspapers to work as a runner in various production houses. Landed myself a part in a Alyque Padamsee play. Later  made my own theatre company and directed my first play Sakharam Binder, where I won the best actor and various other awards. I got a major role in Tim Supples play,  A Midsummer Nights Dream which took me to England, North America and Australia. It completely metamorphosed me as a human. I became super confident and educated as an actor and I came back and struck gold with Kaminey.

Upcoming releass?
I have two  releases this year, Prague and BMW.  Prague is psychological thriller romance where I play a solo lead for the
first time . It opened to packed houses in the Osian Film Festival in New Delhi BMW is opposite Tanishtha Chaterjee of Bricklane fame and with Javed Jaffery and Sarita Chowdhry of Missisipi Masala and Kamasutra and Vijay Raaz. It is directed by Aditya Bhattacharya who made Raakh with Aamir Khan years ago. It is  a romance and a murder mystery.

So is it Goodbye theater?
It is not  goodbye to theater as I have an active company called Proscenium Productions where I produce, act, direct, compose and write plays. I have done four plays since 2005: Sakharam Binder by Vijay Tendulkar , Aashsadh Ka Ek Din by Mohan Rakes
Chugad Dham Sym-phoney based on the opera by Bertolt Brecht called The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and it is still running.

Two Blind Mice inspired from the classic Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett which I opened for Prithvi children theater festival.
Plays not only  got me coverage in newspapers like Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle and Post but also the opportunity to interact with Cate Blanchett,Judi Dench, Ian Mckellen.  I stepped on various stages where people like Peter o Toole,  Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh have performed even the theatre where Marlon Bando did Streetcar Named Desire in New Haven.
I used to get fan mails while travelling from one city to another . I just loved that part of my life.

One day I want to do Broadway in New York and direct a play of mammoth scale in India like in Broadway and Westend

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