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The food connection…

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Goodies Raima Sen loves to eat.The proof is on the table.
Goodies Raima Sen loves to eat.The proof is on the table.

A great foodie, Raima Sen can be trusted at the table, not at the stove!

Looking at Raima Sen’s hourglass figure, one cannot help thinking she must be on a strict diet. But her glowing face, baby-pink complexion and lustrous black hair raise doubts. “I eat everything. I am never on a diet. I do some exercise to keep off the extra flesh,” she says..

At Oh! Calcutta in Nehru Place she gives ample proof of being a great foodie. The dimly-lit eatery with understated brown-beige furniture, huge sketches of Bengal of yore, black and white photographs of Bengal’s veteran directors and actors on the walls, almirah displaying works of Tagore and other writerskept between native utensils and decorative items and its Bengali-speaking staff is a nostalgic venue for informal dining. It’s an eatery Sen swears by. “I don’t miss Kolkata when I come here,” says the actor, trying a morsel of fried fish.

Sen wouldn’t swear by her cooking though. “Honestly, I can’t cook. Ria (her actor sister) does. She cooks what I demand, and I eat,” Sen gives a mischievous smile, switching over to chicken kabab. “But I can make tea best. And all kinds of egg varieties, Maggie too…My father loves my tea. He has declared that I am the best tea maker he has ever come across.”

She even proved to be a “kitchen spoiler” while shooting for her forthcoming film Manorama Six Feet Under. “In a scene I was supposed to light the gas and put a utensil on the burner. Since I have never done it, I thought to do ‘an intelligent thing’. I turned the knob of the gas burner just before the director said ‘action’. I thought that way the burner wouldn’t take time in flaming up. No one on the sets knew my ‘trick’. But during the scene, as I turned on the lighter, the flames went ‘boom’. I was caught,” she laughs recalling.

Raima Sen gives the impression of being very naïve and vulnerable.

But the impression is belied by her choice of current films. She was critically acclaimed in Choker Bali. Parineeta and Honeymoon Travels Private Limited won her the audiences’ applause. And the choice of roles in her forthcoming films further proves that she is on the right track. Sen admits it gracefully.

Dipping into her favourite fish curry and naan, she remarks, “Before Choker Bali, I did many films that I shouldn’t have done. I don’t regret it, as they made me wiser for the choice. I don’t see only the banner now. I see my role first. Choker Bali, Honeymoon, Parineeta and The Bong Connection were all my choice.

All of these have done well. Now even my parents trust me with my choice,” she says with a tinge of pride.

Tasting the restaurant special ‘Railway mutton’, Sen proudly mentions her forthcoming films – Aparna Sen’s Japanese Wife, Rituparno Ghosh’s Khaila, Laga Chunari Mein Daagh anda thriller Manorama Six Feet Under.

“During the making of Japanese Wife, Aparna di made me learn household chores so that it doesn’t look unnatural. For 15 days I went to Konkana Sen’s home to learn how to cut fish in a ‘boti’ (an open cutter), mopping and sweeping the floor, lighting the lamp and washing clothes. I really enjoyed it.” She also enjoys the daab chingri (prawn cooked with coconut cream inside a green coconut shell). “What a yummy meal,” she concludes.

RANA SIDDIQUI

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