Rajit Kapur on his forthcoming film “Dam 999” and how theatre remains his first love

He probably made his first impact as the dhoti-clad Bengali sleuth in ‘Byomkesh Bakshi'. Yes, that's the 1993 television series on Doordarshan that saw Rajit Kapur nonchalantly solve murders and mysteries and become a household name. Since then there has been a spate of memorable performances from him in movies such as “Train to Pakistan”, “The Making of the Mahatma”, “Sardari Begum”, “Zubeidaa”… Next the actor will be seen in Sohan Roy's “Dam 999”, a film loosely based on the 1975 Banqiao Dam disaster in China.

“I play Shankaran, a man from Kerala who is into Ayurveda. He also has the power to look into the future. It's a story of three generations intertwined into a current social fabric that prevails in a country,” says Rajit. He explains that the movie has various levels. It is the story of a family from Kerala and of displacement and has quite a large web of parallel tracks running. “The movie represents the lives of nine characters that represent the nine states of emotional stretch or the nine rasas.” Initially Rajit was offered another role in the film but sometime just before the start of the shoot he was given this role which apparently has more shades of grey to it.

“Dam 999”, a 3D film, is set to release on November 25 in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and English. Another noteworthy feature is that the film's screenplay has earned a place in the Oscar library. Which means students, film makers, writers and others from the film fraternity can access the screenplay at The Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “According to me the USP is the way it has interwoven so many things together,” adds Rajit.

His next release will be “Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish,” which is Deepti Naval's debut directorial venture. “It's translated into English as ‘The Poet and The Prostitute'. It's a sensitive love story and set for release on March 8.”

A gamut of expressions, myriad roles and nearly two decades of successfully juggling theatre and television, which role does he rate as his favourite? “That's difficlut to decide. Whatever you are currently working on becomes close to your heart,” he smiles and after a pause adds, “If there's a role that I would like to play it would be that of Richard III.”

Listening to Rajit talk is like watching a theatre performance. There is the appropriate pause between sentences, measured intake of breath...and therefore it's not surprising that inspite of a good track record in films, his first preference seems to be theatre. “Theatre is much bigger. It's a greater challenge and therefore far more satisfying,” he signs off.