By Anindita Acharya
Gone are those days when Dev used to romance leading actresses on screen in Bengali films. In the last few years, the actor seems to have developed a deeper bonding with senior actors. One look at the trailer of Avijit Sen’s debut Bengali film ‘Tonic’ and the first thing you would notice is his incredible chemistry with Paran Bandyopadhyay. Addressing him as ‘kaka’ in the film, Dev says none but only Bandyopadhyay could have played Jaladhar Sen in ‘Tonic’, which hits theatres on December 24. Ask Dev the secret behind the brilliant onscreen camaraderie with the elderly actor and he smiles, “Both Paranda and I share amazing chemistry off screen too. So, what you see onscreen is exactly how we behave in real life.”
In ‘Tonic’, Bandyopadhyay will be seen as a 75-year-old man, who wants to make his wedding anniversary memorable. However, his son decides otherwise. At this moment, travel agent Tonic (Dev) takes the senior couple on a trip — an experience that’s filled with fun, adventure sports and laughter.
As someone who is always ready to pack his bag, Dev had a gala time shooting for ‘Tonic’. “Tonic is one role where I could see myself in the character. He enjoys life. Like Tonic, I believe in living in the present. When I grow old, I might be barred from climbing stairs and visiting the mountains, so I want to travel now,” says Dev.
It doesn’t happen too often in Tollywood that a senior actor bags a meaty role in a film, like Bandyopadhyay has in ‘Tonic’. In Kaushik Ganguly’s ‘Cinemawala’, too, he won the audience with his dynamic acting prowess. In fact, scripts were written keeping in mind Soumitra Chatterjee. However, that’s not the case with most elderly actors in the Bengali film industry. On most occasions, senior actors in Tollywood, be it Sabitri Chatterjee, Alokananda Roy, Madhabi Mukherjee or Anamika Saha, are struggling to get a good role.
The ‘Golondaaj’ actor says this is not the case only with elderly actors. Dev believes there are many young actors and newcomers in Tollywood who can be cast as second leads in films. “Take for example actor Subhasish Mukherjee. We all still remember his acting in ‘Herbert’ but all his life, he has been typecast as a comedian. Same is the case with Kanchan Mullick. Bollywood has started experimenting with actors, a major thanks goes to OTT. Vikrant Massey has become a household name, courtesy OTT. Kolkata, too, is placing bets on new actors and experimenting with them,” he says.
In ‘Tonic’, Dev has teamed up with debutant director Avijit Sen. He will direct Dev and Mithun Chakraborty in his upcoming film. This isn’t the first time Dev has paired up with young and new directors. Dev will share a screen with Prosenjit Chatterjee for young director Pathikrit Basu’s ‘Kacher Manush’ next. For the ‘Chaamp’ actor, the young directors remind him of his initial days in the film industry. “I love to work with new people. They come with a lot of energy and vision. I admire their dedication and hard work. I have been in the industry for 14 years and if we want to evolve, we will have to work with new ideas. New ideas will come when we collaborate with new people and I really feel comfortable working with them,” he says.