I am a humongous fan of Kajol: Jisshu Sengupta

The actor plays Kajol’s husband in courtroom drama ‘The Trial’ and says he never explored options in Mumbai seriously before 2018

I am a humongous fan of Kajol: Jisshu Sengupta

In 2005, Jisshu Sengupta portrayed the role of freedom fighter Sisir Bose in Shyam Benegal’s biographical war film, ‘Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero’. He then had a brief role in Anurag Basu’s highly acclaimed film, ‘Barfi,’ released in 2012. Following that, he appeared in ‘Mardaani’ (2014) and ‘Piku’ (2015). However, it was his role in the 2018 historical film, ‘Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi’, that made this Bengali superstar seriously consider exploring opportunities in Mumbai.

Today, Jisshu boasts a filmography in Hindi that most Bengali actors would be envious of. Notably, he has played the role of a husband opposite almost all the leading ladies of Bollywood. In his latest OTT project, titled ‘The Trial: Pyaar Kaanoon Dhokha,’ which is the Indian adaptation of ‘The Good Wife’, he will once again portray the character of a husband. However, this time, there’s a twist - he plays the role of a ‘bad’ husband to the good wife, portrayed by Kajol. The story revolves around Noyonika, a housewife (Kajol) who starts practicing law again after her husband is put in prison for a scandal.

“I have been part of some excellent Bengali films, most of which have won the National Awards. I was happy in my comfort zone. I did my first Hindi film with Shyam Benegal. Then, I started getting offers in Mumbai and I used to leave Mumbai after shooting for the Hindi film. I never tried my luck in Mumbai seriously. But after ‘Manikarnika’, I gave it serious thought. Today, several Bengali actors are exploring opportunities in Mumbai and pushing their boundaries. This is a great time to be in the business of entertainment,” said the actor, who dabbles between Bengali, Hindi and South Indian films.

Jisshu was recently in Kolkata for the promotion of ‘The Trial’. He was accompanied by director Suparn Verma, who’s a bundle of energy. “His energy is infectious,” Jisshu laughed. Even when Suparn offered him the character of Rajeev Sengupta in ‘The Trial’, Jisshu was a bit apprehensive. “I discussed with my team that I don’t want to get typecast as an actor, who mostly plays husband. When Suparna came to me with ‘The Trial’, I knew it was a fantastic role. I love characters with grey shades. It allows you to push your character. Yet, I was slightly apprehensive. But when I heard Kajol is part of the series, I instantly agreed. I am a humongous fan of Kajol,” smiled the ‘Abohomaan’ actor.

Jisshu had just watched the first half of the first episode of the American legal and political drama ‘The Good Wife’. He didn’t want to get influenced and hence didn’t continue watching it.

“ ‘The Trial’ and ‘The Good Wife’ are very different. Yes, the structure is similar, but the shows are different. The law of the USA and India is completely different. Also, we handle relationships differently,” he told ‘Millennium Post’.

At the end of this month, Jisshu will start shooting for Srijit Mukherji’s ‘Dawshom Awbotaar’. He had some of his best roles with Mukherji be it ‘Jaatiswar’, ‘Zulfiqar’ or ‘Ek Je Chhilo Raja’. “It’s been quite some time since I had worked with him. So, looking forward to the shooting,” he smiled.

Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s Byomkesh Bakshi story, ‘Durgo Rohoshyo,’ has become a significant topic of discussion in the Bengali film industry. The last time Jisshu portrayed the iconic sleuth was in Anjan Dutta’s ‘Byomkesh O Agnibaan’ (2017). Currently, two directors, Mukherji and Birsa Dasgupta, have completed shooting for a web series and a film based on the Byomkesh story, with Anirban Bhattacharya and Dev playing the role of the Bengali detective.

When asked about the reason behind the abundance of Byomkesh adaptations in Bengal, Jisshu promptly responded, “I have been offered the role of Byomkesh twice after Anjan Dutta’s films, but I declined. After me, Abir Chatterjee portrayed both Byomkesh and Feluda. I didn’t want to confuse the audience. Abir is doing a great job with various detective characters and it’s wonderful that the audience has accepted him. However, personally, I don’t want to enter that space. As long as the audience continues to enjoy Byomkesh stories, they will continue to be made.”

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