After five seasons in web series, actor Anirban Chakrabarti essays detective Eken babu in the big screens through Bengali film The Eken, a SVF production. India Blooms correspondent Souvik Ghosh exclusive speaks to onscreen Eken
You have been acting as Eken babu (detective character) for about four years now combining web and big screens!
We started this franchise of Eken babu in 2018 and over the span of four years, we have completed five seasons, so that’s great. It was possible only because the audience has showered so much love to this character. We never dreamt of a second or third season at the start but eventually that happened. At the end of the fifth season, it was decided to go for a feature film. It was a wonderful journey for me and I feel great about it.
Can you relate to Eken babu who is completely a Bengali person?
Yeah at some level, I do relate to this character because he has different layers. The outer layer of this character is like a child, has a habit of chatting with friends, passing poor jokes, and being a foodie. But the inner self of the person has a very sharp intellect and is good at work. But he does that with an attitude that makes his work look very easy. Due to these features, Eken babu becomes the boy next door unlike other detective characters who are mostly serious all the time.
At some levels, I do connect with the outer layer of Eken babu because personally I do have that kind of attitude towards life. I feel life shouldn’t be taken too seriously. At the same time, I am very attracted to the inner sharpness of Eken babu.
Anirban Chakrabarti | Image Credit: Avishek Mitra/IBNS
Did that correlation help you to play the role?
Yeah, obviously. As actors, we always put some part of ourselves into every character, be positive or comedy or dark shaded. No character in real life is monolithic. So it’s important for an actor to analyse that and even subconsciously put a certain part of oneself into that character.
Do you fear getting typecast as Eken babu?
Initially I had the idea that maybe people will cast me for this kind of role only. I was afraid of that. Even after the first and second seasons of Eken babu, I used to get offers for similar kinds of roles, but I restrained myself from doing those characters. But now I feel lucky that the directors and producers have offered me roles which are poles apart from Eken babu. So right now, I am not afraid of that.
Who has been your favourite detective character apart from Eken babu?
Apart from Eken babu, it must be Feluda if I recall. This is because Feluda was the first detective character I was exposed to when I was a child. Later on, I read detective stories of Byomkesh, Kiriti, Sherlock Holmes but they all have different layers but Feluda has remained special as it was my first exposure.
What is your favourite genre in films?
I love different kinds of films including non sense comedies (laughs). I like serious kinds of films, thrillers et al. But I am not a big fan of action and science fiction movies.
Also you don’t believe in too much preparation for a role, right?
If I am too much prepared, my acting may appear staged, mechanical, well rehearsed. So it should always look spontaneous and organic. So it’s important for an actor to learn and unlearn so that I am again the naive person in front of the camera. So I think too much preparation hampers spontaneity.
What kind of characters do you look forward to?
I always look for characters that will give me food for thought. Monotonous and monolithic characters don’t appeal to me. I search for complicated characters, ones with layers.