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I didn't even audition for 'Halka': Paoli Dam

Playing the role of a mother of an eight-year-old kid living in a slum, the Hate Story fame actor thinks that Halka is a dream script for her as it promises her a great comeback in Hindi film industry.

Dusky and gorgeous Bengali actor Paoli Dam, who recently scorched the small screen playing the role of Sucharita, modelled on the iconic Bengali actress Suchitra Sen, is all set for an eventful 2017 with at least 10 films in her kitty, most of them ready for release. Paoli, who shot into fame playing Madhabilata in Goutam Ghose's much acclaimed film, Kaalbela, made waves with Chatrak, earned kudos and brickbats alike with Vikram Bhatt's Hate Story, is now geared up for a comeback in Hindi cinema with Nila Madhab Panda's Hindi film Halka, where she plays the mother of a child, the father 's role being played by Ranvir Shorey. Other upcoming films by Paoli include Buddhadev Dasgupta's film, Tope, plus films by Suman Mukhopadhyay, Sourav Chakraborty, Pratim D Gupta and others. Living with her parents in Kolkata, Paoli has not yet felt the need to buy her own apartment in Mumbai. The actor enjoys watching films, listening to music and going out with friends when she is not facing lights, camera and action! Excerpts from a candid interview with Nandini Guha.

You played Suchitra Sen in a television series recently. Was it tough?

It was a difficult and challenging role, playing Sucharita in the television series, Mahanayak. But for once I got to dress up glamorously, like Suchitra Sen used to. She used to wear such lovely bouffants and elaborate make up. All my directors usually want me to shoot without any make up in their films(sighs)..so I was very happy with my look in this production.

You are back in Bollywood films with Halka opposite Ranvir Shorey…

I didn't even audition for Halka. It is a dream script. It seems I almost waited for a script like this to re-enter Hindi films. I play the role of Sobha, the mother of an eight year old kid who lives in a slum. In Indian films, we mostly get to see the seamy side of life in a slum but in this film, it's all about magic realism and how children always believe in celebrating life. Shorey, a great actor, plays the child's father. The film will be shot in New Delhi and I can't wait for it to begin. The director Nila Madhab Panda won over 30 awards for his 2011 landmark film, I am Kalam. I'm really looking forward to working with him.

You have a number of Bengali films awaiting release this year. Can you tell us a bit about them?

There's Buddhadev Dasgupta's Tope, where I play the role of a madari khiladi, or juggler who shows street acts, often using monkeys. Then there is debutant Sourav Chakravorty's Arani Takhon, which sees a multi-country release this week. This film deals with communal tension. I've also acted in a Pratim D Gupta film, titled, Macher jhol. I am waiting it to be released. Suman Mukhopadhyay's Asamapta is one of my other films made this year. Ritwick Chakraborty and Swastika are my co-actors in this film. I'm also acting in a Bangladeshi film where the protagonist goes in search of her roots. Another film, Black Coffee got released in 2017. This film by Atanu Bose is based on the relationship between a director and an actor.

Tell us about Hate Story where your bold act landed you in controversy.

It was not so bad actually. A lot of men and woman actually tell me even now that they enjoyed Hate Story. However, I dislike being stereotyped and so, I have consciously decided to look at different kinds of roles, in both Hindi and Bengali films. So when Halka was offered to me, I felt ever so happy. We will begin shooting for Halka soon.

Now that you are acting in Hindi films again, do you see yourself buying a house in Mumbai or settling down there?

No, I live with my parents in Kolkata. Also, I'm choosier about the roles I accept nowadays.

How do you unwind?

I love travelling. I travel a lot due to my shooting schedules. I watch a lot of films. These films have iconic actors like Waheeda Rehman, Meena Kumari and Sadhna in it. I also love watching Bengali films which have Suchitra, Sabitri and Supriya in it. I love listening to music and I do it everyday. I'm not a party animal.

What kind of roles do you want to play in the future?

I would love to act in rom-coms. I also want to play the role of a handicapped person. I hate stereotypes.
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