Swastika on working with Amitabh Bachchan: ‘I felt like my whole body froze’

She also reveals why she was so eager to do ‘Bijoyar Pore’

Swastika on working with Amitabh Bachchan: ‘I felt like my whole body froze’

The year 2023 was special for actor Swastika Mukherjee. It marked her collaboration with megastar Amitabh Bachchan in director Ribhu Dasgupta’s intriguing courtroom thriller, ‘Section 84’. Whenever discussions about the film arise, Swastika is instantly transported back to the first day on set, where she shares the screen with the iconic actor. Also starring alongside Nimrat Kaur and Diana Penty, Swastika plays a pivotal role, with most of her scenes featuring the legendary senior Bachchan. “I was a nervous wreck. It felt like my whole body froze and I couldn’t move. I even thought about whether facing him on screen was worth it or if I’d rather like to die. I prayed not to forget my lines. Thankfully, he was incredibly humble and gracious,” she said.

Swastika always seeks the opportunity to share the screen with senior actors, considering it an invaluable opportunity to absorb their work ethic and refine her craft as an actor. What stood out to her was Big B’s practice of patiently waiting to personally give cues to the co-actors and delivering them with the same intensity as the actual scene. Unlike some actors who delegate cue-giving to assistants, Swastika, inspired by her father (veteran actor Santu Mukhopadhyay), also waits on set to give cues. “But I don’t always give cues with the same intensity. Amitabh Bachchan did and that’s something I’ll never forget,” she said.

After undergoing major surgery last year, Swastika is back in work mode with gusto in 2024. She is thrilled about her first Bengali release of the year, ‘Bijoyar Pore’, directed by debutant Abhijit SriDas. The film already had houseful shows at Nandan. Soon, she will also be seen in ‘Matripaksha’, directed by newcomer Rajesh Roy.

Sometimes, Swastika takes on films for personal reasons and ‘Bijoyar Pore’ is one such project. Having spent most of her life with her parents, Swastika finds herself emotionally moved by any opportunity that brings her close to individuals resembling them, especially now when they are no longer present. In ‘Bijoyar Pore’, Swastika portrays the character of Minu, the daughter of Dipankar Dey and Mamata Shankar, who returns home after an extended absence. The narrative unfolds a story of homecoming, generation gap and inter-faith marriage.

“I really connected with the story. Working with Dipankar jethu and Momo (Mamata) pishi was something I wanted to do. I have done three movies with Momo pishi before (the last being ‘Shibpur’). My last film with Dipankar jethu was ‘Ebar Shabor’ in 2015, so I was excited about working with him again. I also think there’s a lot to learn from actors of their generation. They put so much heart into their acting. In ‘Bijoyer Pore’, the way Dipankar jethu says my name feels personal, like how my baba (veteran actor Santu Mukherjee) used to call me. After my baba passed away, there was a big gap in my life and my daughter is also studying abroad. When I saw Dipankar jethu on set, he reminded me so much of baba. In fact, as people get older, all parents seem to look alike,” said the actor of ‘Paatal Lok’ and ‘Qala’.

Meanwhile, Swastika has started shooting for Srijit Mukherji’s upcoming thriller, ‘Tekka’, scheduled to release during Durga Puja in 2024. The film also stars Dev, Rukmini Maitra, Tota Roy Chowdhury and Paran Bandopadhyay. Srijit shared the script of ‘Tekka’ with Swastika in 2021 and she found it intriguing. “It’s been a while since I worked with Srijit. My character in ‘Tekka’ might not have the same intensity as his earlier films like ‘Shahjahan Regency’ or ‘Jaatiswar’ but I liked it,” she said.

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