“OTT brought golden time for actors”

Indian actor Raima Sen, who has recently been a part of the successful Netflix series Mai, shares with Souvik Ghosh how lockdown has shaped her thoughts, vision towards life and work.
Your web series Mai has been a success.
I am very happy to be a part of a web show which has done so well after the lockdown. So for me, this was the biggest gift in 2022. That was my first release (after lockdown). So many people have watched it and I am still getting (congratulatory) messages. I am very excited.
How do you want to look forward in terms of work?
After Mai, I am getting very good offers. I used to do a lot of work earlier. But now, I am thinking of doing a few projects with my mind in it properly and giving my best.
So your approach towards work has changed?
This is because I have learnt a lot on my Netflix show. I had learnt a lot from the workshop organised by Mai casting director Atul Mongia two years ago. The workshop was an eye opener for me. Mongia has taught a lot including breathwork, exercises (for acting). I am happy to get the knowledge at some time. Now at least I can use the experience in my future work.
You mean OTT platform has opened a new arena for the actors?
Yes, of course. Unlike films, OTT has the advantage of telling a story in six-eight hours. Every character is important and well defined on OTTs, which are not star-driven. So a lot of actors, who hadn’t got work for long, are featuring in the web shows. It’s a golden time for actors, especially after the lockdown.
Do you think that kind of approach is lacking in Bengali web series?
We can’t compare because a lot of things are involved. It’s completely different here.
How did the lockdown period help you to grow?
I am very happy that the lockdown has happened. This is because I was constantly working before the lockdown. I had no time for myself. When we were forced to sit at home during the lockdown, we realised the value of small things, people, the fragility of life. It taught us to appreciate life more.
Now I have stopped thinking about the future because life is so unpredictable. I have learnt that. Now I am more happy to be at home. I don’t go out unnecessarily. Unlike before, I love to stay with my parents at home more because I have learnt to value it.
So you mean a balance has come in your life?
Yes, balance, a lot of discipline and also a realisation of our requirements. I think a lot of people have also grown up in the lockdown period. When we are faced with certain situations, we grow up. It was tough for everyone but in a way, it was also nice to be at home with parents and families.
A lot of Bengali actors are venturing into the south Indian industry. What about your plans?
I have done Malayalam and Telugu films in the past. I didn’t do Tamil before. But I was lucky to be a part of a Tamil film two years ago, though its release is being delayed due to the lockdown. It will be released in one or two months.
How has been the exposure in the south Indian industry?
Working in south Indian films is quite tough because the dialogues need to be learnt contrary to the popular belief. It’s tough but we used to get a coach who teaches us dialogues and helps us with prompting and all. It’s fun too.
Is the work culture in the south very different from other industries?
They are very updated with the latest technologies. The DoP of my Tamil film was from L.A.! Technically, they are very advanced.
Are you planning, by any chance, to shift the base from Kolkata to any other city for your profession?
I have always lived in Calcutta (Kolkata) and will continue to do so. I will stay here and travel for work. My parents and friends are here. (IBNS-TWF)