February 15, 2020
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Saswata Chatterjee

The veteran Bengali actor on the killing he made as assassin Bob Biswas in Kahaani

Saswata Chatterjee
Saswata Chatterjee

Nomoshkar. Bob Biswas? Outlook. Ek minute.

Ha ha. That’s how everyone greets me now.

You are now better known as Bob Biswas.

Yes, people expect me to behave like him. But I’ve nothing in common with the character.

Looking like the classic Bangali bhalo chhele (Bengali good boy), how’d you land the role?

Actually, that is exactly why. A character whom no one would suspect. The director’s brief was “binito Bob” (polite Bob).

Bob was MMSed photos of his targets. But you don’t use a cell phone. Why not?

Cell phones are addictive. People are constantly on the phone, either talking, messaging or playing games. It eats up time. I don’t want that.

Did you train for your insurance agent role?

No, I didn’t need to. The brief was very clear. I would have to be silent and soft-spoken. I have an insurance agent and he is definitely not as inefficient as Bob Biswas was.

The way his boss shouts at him. Why didn’t Bob just pull his gun out and shoot him?

Ha, ha. Yes, I think I’d have. But Bob killed only for money. If you notice, he was disturbed when characters who weren’t on his list died accidentally. It was about being focused on his work.

More Bollywood roles now?

A couple of offers, but I couldn’t accept them because of date problems. I don’t think I should disclose anything, but one of the roles was that of a director. I’d have loved to do it.

You pick quirky, offbeat roles. Never a lead?

Bob Biswas was on screen for only about 10 minutes. But he has become so successful. I enjoy such roles because it’s more difficult to play a villain or the comic relief than a hero.

Your wife got scared watching the metro scene where you push Vidya Balan?

Yes, she grabbed my hand and I had to tell her, “Relax. It’s me. I’m not Bob Biswas.”

But you are Bob Biswas.

In that case: Wait. Ek minute.

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