‘Maidaan is the biggest achievement of my career’

Bengali actor Amartya Ray plays legendary footballer Chuni Goswami in the Ajay Devgn-starrer

‘Maidaan is the biggest achievement of my career’

One look at young actor Amartya Ray’s filmography and one will notice a sports theme running through his works. Three stand out: ‘22 Yards’, ‘Maradonar Juto’ and the special one, ‘Maidaan’. In director Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s recent Bollywood film ‘Maidaan’, he plays legendary footballer Chuni Goswami. Sharing the screen with actor Ajay Devgn, who plays the role of Syed Abdul Rahim, the coach behind India's hard-fought football gold at the 1962 Asian Games, Amartya finds the film closest to his heart.

“ ‘Maidaan’ is the biggest achievement of my career,” he said. Reflecting on the grueling four-and-a-half years spent filming ‘Maidaan’, Ray recalled the blood, sweat and tears shed by the entire team. “Khoon pasina sab baha diya,” he said with a hint of pride now that the film is being praised by one and all.

For Amartya and the entire ‘Maidaan’ crew, the wait of four and a half years for the film’s release was mentally exhausting. “We had to shoot for 12 to 13 hours in the scorching heat of Kolkata and Mumbai, often feeling on the brink of collapse,” recalled the actor, who made his Bengali film debut with ‘Uronchondi’. “But our camaraderie, like that of a sports team, kept us going. We knew our hard work would be recognised once the film hit the theatres.”

To prepare for the character, Amartya read books by renowned sports journalists and sought insights from experts in the field. “Chuni Goswami was an amazing dribbler, like a dancer on the field. The most challenging aspect was mastering Chuni Goswami’s physicality. So, I practiced hard to master his body feints and drop shoulder skills,” he said.

When asked how it was working with Devgn, he said, “He believes this is his finest role and honestly, no one could have portrayed Rahim’s character better than him,” Amartya said.

An FTII graduate in direction, Amartya is also working on his mother-actor Chaiti Ghoshal’s debut directorial ‘Never Mind’ alongside Rituparna Sengupta. Interested in acting, direction and music, he refuses to confine himself to a single path. He has a documentary in the works, set to be filmed in Mumbai and is also writing a feature film.

And no, he doesn’t regret not taking on the Bengali film ‘Khadaan’ alongside Dev. “I met Dev da and the character was interesting. However, it is not something I am looking to do at the moment. The film is happening on a grand scale and perhaps someday I will work with him. I believe in destiny,” said the young actor.

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