Actor Chanchal Chowdhury talks to Dhaka Tribune Showtime about playing the villain in 'Contract'
While glimpses of Taqdeer are still swirling in the audiences’ mind, two times National Award winning actor Chanchal Chowdhury renders yet another powerful performance in his recent web-series Contract. In the series, he plays Black Ranju, a dark yet humane portrayal of an infamous gangster. From stage, television, silver screen to the recent OTT originals, his performance graph has been rising consistently. In a recent interview with Dhaka Tribune, the actor speaks about Contract premiering on Zee5 Global.
Acting is perhaps one of the most difficult jobs in the world. To hop from one character to another without losing oneself is a daunting task. Chanchal Chowdhury, however, seems to hone his skills with ease. Revealing the secret, he gives credit to theater that offered a practice ground for him. According to him, observation and imagination are the two most important skills an actor must possess. “I haven’t met Black Ranju, but through hints from the directors and writer and observing characters of our surroundings, I can imagine what the character might be. We have come a long way from concepts where villains were all bad and heroes were all good. In reality, the concepts of good and bad are often subjective. While Black Ranju commits certain gruesome crime, he has his ways of justifying it,” he explains the undercurrent of emotions running through the character.
Living in the skin of the character for a long time to create magic on screen can be challenging especially with a reference from a novel. “The readers must have imagined his character while reading. My challenge therefore is to bring something new on the table. From my experience, when I felt comfortable playing a character, it has mostly been accepted by the audience. I hold Black Ranju close to my heart and can only hope it echoes the same.”
After Mainkar Chipay and WTFry, Contract is Zee5 Global’s third and largest local production in Bangladesh. In the cat and mouse game of Beg and Bustard, Black Ranju walks in as the third angle—a role that not only brings obstacles in the story but also the thrill to it. Does it bother this A-class actor to play a non-protagonist role? He laughingly commented: “The early days of my career began as a passing character, then came roles with one or two lines. If I look back, the journey was far from smooth. I am an actor; I do not bother about a protagonist role as long as my character challenges me to perform.” In fact, he believes it gives him more scope to play around a role that does not dominate screen time. Although in the first season of the series, Ranju captures a substantial portion of the screen time.
Talking about an actor’s take away, he said it is the expectation of the audiences and their reciprocation that fuels him to push his boundaries. He shared an anecdote of a fan’s response on the streets of New York City. “He was furious! He challenged my morals and ethics as a son. It took a while for me to realize that he felt I was the character of a tele-fiction. While I was taken aback then, recalling the incident gives me a sense of satisfaction of my work.”
His dedication to his art is evident in the performances he rendered through the years. From home and across the borders, Chanchal Chowdhury is now a household name of an actor who brings varied characters to life.