Raima Sen revels in ‘arty’ company

Raima Sen represents the new creed of heroines in Bollywood – girls, who are not after substantial roles but roles of substance. “I could have easily burnt out in one and a half years, like many others, had I opted for lead roles in B-grade films but I decided to do meaningful cinema and the patience has paid off. I was also lucky that the first film I was offered was Godmother, where I was noticed by directors like Kalpana Lajmi and Rituparno Ghosh. Now I am being offered solo-heroine roles,” says Raima, in Delhi to promote one such venture, C Kkompany. “It is an attempt to break my ‘arty’ image. I was noticed in Honeymoon Travels..., and wanted to be part of a typical Bollywood comedy.”

With director Sachin Yardi, sitting next to her, she has an interesting anecdote to share. “He offered me the role because when he narrated the role I was not interested in listening to him.”

Sachin joins in, “During the narration, every time I became excited about a scene, she would also pretend to be thrilled. I knew she was not listening. But at the same time I was convinced she fit the role and won’t interfere as well,” he quips.

Is this unobtrusive approach also the reason mavericks like Aparna Sen and Rituparno want to work with her? “Not quite! What Sachin offered me is not something which requires a lot of preparation. When I work with Aparna and Ritu I listen to even the minute details. If my character plays an instrument, I prefer to learn it.”

Literary passions

From Chokher Bali and Parineeta to My Japanese Wife, most of the films which Raima has been part of are based on some literary work. “The advantage is in such films the characters are well-etched out, as the author must have taken years to research the surroundings and the behaviour of the character before penning it down. Script writers generally don’t go for details. At the same time I must admit I don’t read the novels before playing the characters. I rely on the directors and the workshops. Also at times, like in My Japanese Wife, the character I play is not as layered in the novel, but Aparna has given it a whole new dimension.”

Raima says the film deals with an improbable love story between a village nerd (Rahul Bose) and a Japanese girl. “It is improbable because they communicate through letters. I play a widow, who enters this boy’s life and how his relationship gets affected.” Novels may not be her priority, but Raima calls herself an avid reader. “I prefer biographies, autobiographies and non fiction. I have recently finished ‘Maharani’. My father suggested it, as he feels I have little sense of history.” The media always concentrates on her maternal side but few know that his father is the scion of the erstwhile Tripura State. “My grandmother and Maharani Gayatri Devi are sisters. But since my father was in an office job, royalty never touched us.”

Raima is now looking forward to her next solo Mere Khwabon Main Jo Aye, for which the Bengali beauty has to shoot in Delhi.

“It is about a girl lost in a claustrophobic marriage, who dreams of her ideal man played by Randeep Hooda.” She calls herself a day dreamer, but clarifies, “I don’t believe in the concept of the dream man. I am beyond that age. No one man could have all the traits that you desire. However, sense of humour is on the top of my list.”